the problem with schooling

one of the most destructive ideas in the world today is the idea that traditional schooling (i'll define that later) is good. i don't mean just public schooling, but traditional schooling in general, be it public or private. 

of course, public schooling is wrong on plenty of levels before you get to the main problem of schooling in general, namely the calculation problem constantly requiring that, no matter what, the system needs more funding despite continually declining results, but also it clearly violates the non-aggression principle both by forcing students to attend against their will and by forcing others to fund it.

even after you get past that, traditional schooling doesn't make sense.

when i say "traditional schooling", i mean putting a bunch of children together of the same age group and having a teacher teach them lessons about various subjects. it's what virtually everyone thinks of when the word "school" is uttered.

there are a lot of problems with it, most of them stemming from the false idea that people are all the same. they aren't. some are smart, some are not, some are athletic, some are artistic. some learn with their hands, some with their eyes or ears, some develop early, some develop late. considering the undeniable truth of that, it should seem absurd to pack a bunch of kids in a room together and attempt to teach them all the same things at the same level.

kids forced into classes together by the arbitrary category of "age" hurts those who develop early and those who develop late. all children are, more or less, in one of those two categories.those who develop early will held back by the lack of higher competition from other age groups and by the fact that they have to remain on a somewhat similar academic trajectory as the rest of their cohort. those who develop late will be hurt by being forced into an unnaturally competitive environment dominated by early developers. they will be constantly beaten by their peers, subjecting them to a confidence-crushing environment during a crucial part of their lives. even though they may have great potential, they may be hindered from fulfilling it because of depression or a general lack of confidence developed in an artificially competitive social environment.

learning is hard-wired into human beings through millenia of evolution. we are all the result of the fittest genes surviving and reproducing for millions of years. without being wired to learn, we wouldn't have come as far as we have as a species. for the vast majority of human evolution, there were no such things as classrooms and recess. humans are equipped to learn as individuals. we are designed to associate freely, where children will interact with others of their developmental peer group naturally, rather than by the arbitrary regimentation of age. early-developing 4-year-olds may associate naturally with late developing 6-year-olds and vice versa. placing children together with those outside of their developmental group hurts the progress of early-developers and demoralizes late-developers.

children develop not only at different rates, but also in different areas. children don't have to be forced to learn the things they are naturally attracted to, and in fact, forcing them to learn things they have no interest in may damage their appetite for learning as a whole. children are naturally insatiable when it comes to learning. they will naturally seek knowledge on virtually any subject, but, left to direct their own learning, they will develop most in the areas in which they have natural proclivities. these will vary for each child. it's counter-productive to attempt to change this natural direction.

most of the behavioral problems seen in children may be attributed to the institution of traditional schooling; depression and lack of confidence in late-developers and trouble-making by bored and unchallenged early-developers. bullying may have, at its core, the unnatural, forced association of traditional schooling to blame, where the weak are forced together with the strong with early-developing bullies growing to see late-developing victims as inferior, thus creating an incentive to attack and dehumanize them. the social delinquencies developed by both early and late-developers can have adverse effects on their lives throughout adulthood.

often, schooling is considered vital for socialization when, in fact, it is destructive to that end. schooling, as mentioned previously, creates an unnatural social environment not encountered anywhere else in human society. some may argue that they want their children to be able to relate to others of their age group on a social level, anecdotally citing home schooled children's seemingly awkward social behaviors. those people have the problem backwards. why is it important for children to be able to relate to others of such an arbitrary category as age-group? it's much more important for them the associate with those of their developmental level instead. the only reason that it might be important to get on well with those of one's own age group is because of schooling itself! it's circular reasoning that children should need to relate to others of their age-group because they're going to be forced together in school and that schooling is necessary to make that happen.

schooling is much more likely to inhibit social development for the reasons stated above. a reason home schooled children may relate better to adults (as is often cited) than to their cohort is because they are more correctly socialized and developed. it should be seen as a positive that children are able to relate to highly developed persons (adults) more readily than to lesser-developed persons. there's no logical reason that they should ever need to associate otherwise. once children exit the schooling age, they will mix socially with others of various age-groups that more closely resemble themselves in interest and development anyway, which is what human beings are supposed to do, naturally.

eliminating the poor model of traditional schooling and replacing it with supportive parenting of self-directed learning and free social interaction can be a great step towards unlocking the potential of all children. age should not be seen as relevant to development or socialization of children at all, rather developmental level and common interest should be the social focus, as it will inevitably be the case throughout their adult lives.


Steve LaBianca said…
Many good points made here,from a logical perspective. Some of this however (IMHO), will not convince "the unwashed masses".

Let me take somewhat of a historical perspective on schooling. In an agrarian dominated human condition, there was only a limited need (and opportunity) for the young to be "warehoused" into a school building to learn with other same aged people. Only with the urbanization of communities, with the father going to a workplace a few miles (or so) away and no farm chores to be done all day long (and the mother left to do the chores in keeping a home), did the distinct opportunity arise to warehouse young people into a "near enough" building, with other "near enough" age people. Of course, much of this worked to the satisfaction of the people (OK - the kids usually HATE school!)involved. But changes to the school day length, the curriculum, options to put together young people of varying ages to learn the same things all went away with the takeover of "public education" by the states, Massachusetts being the first. Now, the calculation problem, as well as the innovation to provide the best, most efficient, and most advantageous arrangements were snubbed because the state took over. Add in, the compulsory nature of so many things the state operates with, and "schooling" became a top down, goals of the bureaucracy dominated system. Gone was the need for families who were no longer running a farm, or the different needs for developmentally different young people from the equation of a market phenomena (aren't they ALL market phenomena?)demand, i.e. education. Gone would be the flexibility for changing needs due to changing technology and societal inter-relationships, whether enterprising or personal tastes, to be satisfied. Only the top-down "engineers of society" demands be satisfied. This "new" system, accompanied by the "democracy" of local school boards, parent-teacher groups, local "voting" on school budgets and the like, is the typical ploy to pacify and make docile, the dissent amongst the "citizenry", to the top down system designed to satisfy the engineers of society.

Of course, this "schooling" problem exemplifies the "snowball" effect better than just about any other state run and coerced institution, as it could now be used to indoctrinate the young, impressionable "school age" people into supporting the system in place, virtually stifling any consistent or mass challenges to this now, nearly "bedrocked" into place "schooling system".

As I see it, the only answer, which can possibly satisfy the demands of those who care for young people (usually the parents or other relatives - sometimes close friends) is to completely free up education from the one model (which has a limited amount of variation options) "system" in place today, from state control.
Anonymous said…

As someone on the front lines of education, I get a little sick when I think of some parents as educators.

A 16 year old student reluctantly admits she would rather be at school than at home.

A group of high schoolers have no finals, but come to school anyway, to see friends and to eat.

A seven year old boy shows up at school wearing a button-up shirt with only one button intact.

Another boy wears the same clothes over and over everyday to school.

A seven year old figures out how to wake up in time to catch the bus every morning while his mama sleeps in.

A seven year old girl has recurring yeast infections from suspected sexual abuse.

An eight year old girl is living in a house full of farm animals inside running rampant around the house and feces everywhere.

A seven year old confesses to her teacher that her mama's live-in boyfriend used money to entice her and rape her and was moved to a foster home and cries to the teacher about how much she misses her mom, while the teacher reminds her that she is safe in her foster home and that her mama's boyfriend still lives with her mama.

Shall I go on?

Parents aren't really the answer.

zrated said…
So your point is that bad things happen, therefore kids should be imprisoned, indoctrinated and forced to endure unnatural social arrangements that will undoubtedly disturb their psyche.

as a former teacher myself, i'm aware of the small amount of kids that have really bad home lives, but just because some are disadvantaged doesn't mean all kids should be harmed by schooling.
Anonymous said…
No, I'm not disagreeing with you. Simply saying that parents shouldn't be the 'only answer'.
zrated said…
oh, yes. parents aren't the ONLY answer. yes, i agree. there are a lot of possibilities when it comes to education, i think.
Anonymous said…
The way i read it, and I read it in a hurry, was that parents were the cure. Quick read. Quick response. On my end.

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