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View Diary: Unschooling in the Art of Life (7 comments)

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    I believe that our public education system, with all its standardization, regimentation, and mandated participation, has crossed the line from facilitating to directing the development of young human beings.  It is attempting to apply the expert derived best practices of social science and industrial practice to directing the unfolding of millions of unique human souls during thirteen young critical years of their development.  

    It’s all about an increasingly regimented view of formal education, K-12 and college, now pushing back into the preschool years.

    I have been pondering for the last few years the extent to which our public education system has progressed from offering a service, to basically imprisoning children.   And, the graduation standards are being made increasingly more rigorous.   I have viewed the eighth grade curriculum, and portions were mind-numbingly boring.   WHO decided that an eighth grader must spend hours of their lives on this type of material?    It's enough to turn a child and parent completely off education.

    Our public education does not reward progress, but rather simply counts the hours of time that butts remain in seats.   There is trend toward longer school days, and shorter periods of unstructured time (formerly called "recess).     There is an obsession with "attendance".   And, there is an active resistance to providing a process by which a motivated child can escape from the school/prison early.  

    My dream, is a curriculum where a child can work when and where she wants to, and when she has demonstrated a grasp of the material, she is done, without regard for how many hours she spent doing it.

    I have come to realize that "accomodations" aka "individualized learning plans" are far less necessary, if a family is offered options on how to meet the goals of a child's education.  There will be no choice in the future, but to provide families with educational options that allow more flexibility of the schedule, and for some families, more freedom from the regimented 8 hour school day.   A step in the right direction would be to allow for a mix of on-site and virtual courses, and to start structuring some high school courses the way that junior colleges are structured, with less hours of classroom instruction, and more at-home study.   And, we need to end the tyranny of the school counselor.    Let kids and their families decide when to take a course, require only demonstration of completion of pre-requisites.  It is nobody's business "why" a family decides to take a course, and yet counselors say they are required to document this.

    If schools refuse to reform in this fashion, more and more families will turn to home-schooling.      I have been on the verge of it for a couple years now.

    There are part-time daycare options, and part-time employment options, but no part-time education options.  Who decided kids MUST work full-time, and what about kids who are physically unable?   Why must it take an act of Congress to find a solution that works?  

    I don't believe we would be able to do something like this to people who could vote.   We can take advantage of children because they can't vote.    We need to stand up for children and families, and start pushing back.  The authoritarian response to Snowden and the authoritarian attitudes towards public schools are part of the same package, and it's not a pretty picture.  It's time to turn public education back into a service.  

    Public school is not the military.   Or, at least, it should not be.

    •  I'm totally there with you on this... (2+ / 0-)
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      FloridaSNMOM, radical simplicity

      and I hope you will use your comment as the basis for your own diary that gets more visibility than just a comment on mine!

      Some thoughts on what you wrote...

      I have been pondering for the last few years the extent to which our public education system has progressed from offering a service, to basically imprisoning children...  WHO decided that an eighth grader must spend hours of their lives on this type of material?
      My reading of history is that Horace Mann's conception of a state-run U.S. public education system was always something way beyond offering a service to providing not a prison, but a "melting pot" to try to give immigrant children the same values championed by the Protestant progressive elite that he was a part of.  And even today it is the the state and all the educational consultants and foundations that are part of the education-industrial complex that make those decisions.
      Our public education does not reward progress, but rather simply counts the hours of time that butts remain in seats.
      I think it does reward progress but it does so thru the increasingly high-stakes testing which is making schools a much more stressful and less fun for students and teachers to be.  But you are right that "seat time" is a bureaucratic mechanism to try to improve the learning experience.
      A step in the right direction would be to allow for a mix of on-site and virtual courses, and to start structuring some high school courses the way that junior colleges are structured, with less hours of classroom instruction, and more at-home study.   And, we need to end the tyranny of the school counselor.
      I agree totally... make school a resource more like a library, YMCA or community college.
      If schools refuse to reform in this fashion, more and more families will turn to home-schooling.  I have been on the verge of it for a couple years now.
      Their mom and I ended up unschooling our kids during their teen years.  It is a an approach that worked well for them and helped them become more successful adults.  I've written about it a lot on here and on my own blog... http://www.leftyparent.com/....

      The one argument for mandatory full-time school that I think does carry weight, is a concern that our society would not extend equal educational opportunities to immigrant and at-risk communities (people outside the circle of middle-class or above economic status) unless we bureaucratically mandate that all our kids must go to school and all be taught the same things in the same way.  That at least in theory, gives at-risk kids a programmed path to conventional "success" including college attendance and the credentials to get (possibly) a better than minimum wage job.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

      by leftyparent on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 08:48:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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