A 21st Century Approach to Public Education Part 1

J A Ridley By J A Ridley, 8th May 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Education

Why is our current public education system producing factory workers with limited cognitive abilities? Here is a plan to balance our budget and fix the education system in the western world.

A quick summary of some problems with the old system.

I am not going to waste a lot of your time discussing the problems. Most are obvious but here is quick list. Age segregation, surveillance, no privacy, bell curve thinking, judging (grades). Better yet, here: John Taylor Gatto a NY city school teacher had this epiphany, in his own words:
The trouble was that the unlikeliest kids kept demonstrating to me at random moments so many of the hallmarks of human excellence—insight, wisdom, justice, resourcefulness, courage, originality—that I became confused. They didn’t do this often enough to make my teaching easy, but they did it often enough that I began to wonder, reluctantly, whether it was possible that being in school itself, was what was dumbing them down. Was it possible I had been hired not to enlarge children’s power, but to diminish it? That seemed crazy on the face of it, but slowly I began to realize that the bells and confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of the national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to prevent children from learning how to think, and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior.

and:

Bit by bit I began to devise guerilla exercises to allow the kids I taught—as many as I was able—the raw material people have always used to educate themselves: privacy, choice, freedom from surveillance, and as broad a range of situations and human associations as my limited power and resources could manage….I dropped the idea that I was an expert, whose job it was to fill the little heads with my expertise, and began to explore how I could remove those obstacles that prevented the inherent genius of children from gathering itself.

He won School teacher of the year and gave this acceptance speech:

The first lesson I teach is confusion. Everything I teach is out of context. I teach the un-relating of everything. I teach dis-connections….Even in the best of schools a close examination of curriculum and its sequences turns up a lack of coherence, full of internal contradictions….Confusion is thrust upon kids by too many strange adults, each working along with only the thinnest relationship with each other, pretending, for the most part, to an expertise they do not possess….In a world where home is only a ghost, because both parents work…or because something else has left everybody too confused to maintain a family relation, I teach you how to accept confusion as your destiny.

The second lesson I teach is class position….The children are numbered so that if any get away they can be returned to the right class….My job is to make them like being locked together with children who bear numbers like their own.…If I do my job well, the kids can’t even imagine themselves somewhere else, because I’ve shown them how to envy and fear the better classes and how to have contempt for the dumb classes….That’s the real lesson of any rigged competition like school. You come to know your place.

The third lesson I teach is indifference….When the bell rings I insist they drop whatever it is we have been doing and proceed quickly to the next work station. They must turn on and off like a light switch….Bells inoculate each undertaking with indifference.

The fourth lesson I teach is emotional dependency. By stars and red checks, smiles and frowns, prizes, honors, and disgraces, I teach kids to surrender their will to the predestinated chain of command.

The fifth lesson I teach is intellectual dependency….It is the most important lesson, that we must wait for other people better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives…., the teacher can determine what my kids must study, or rather, only the people who pay me can make those decisions, which I then enforce. If I’m told that evolution is a fact instead of a theory, I transmit that as ordered, punishing deviants who resist what I have been told to tell them to think….Successful children do the thinking I assign them with a minimum of resistance and a decent show of enthusiasm….Bad kids fight this, of course, even though they lack the concepts to know what they are fighting, struggling to make decisions for themselves about what they will learn and when they will learn it…Fortunately there are tested procedures to break the will of those who resist; it is more difficult, naturally, if the kids have respectable parents who come to their aid, but that happens less and less in spite of the bad reputation of schools. No middle-class parents I have ever met actually believe that their kid’s school is one of the bad ones. No one single parent in twenty-six years of teaching.

The sixth lesson I teach is provisional self-esteem….The lesson of report cards, and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents but should instead rely on the evaluation of certified officials. People need to be told what they are worth.

The seventh lesson I teach is that one can’t hide. I teach students they are always watched, that each is under constant surveillance by myself and my colleagues….The meaning of constant surveillance and denial of privacy is that no one can be trusted, that privacy is not legitimate.



Needless to say he was immediately fired!

I highly recommend his book Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Agenda of Compulsory Schooling and his website for more detail on the problem.

Also give this a quick watch:

How it came to be

My research indicates that mandatory public school was instituted for all kids in America soon after the civil war. The first class was marched to school at gunpoint, the Americans of the time realized this wasn't good and resisted. The powers that held sway had told the people that it was necessary to control the education of the people to avoid another civil war. However, I often wonder if it had more to do with a move from a slave based economy to the current one. We simply had to replace the slave labor we had used to build the country. So now we have spent 150 years turning the children that couldn't afford private schools into slaves. Now that we have built the technology up the need for slaves has diminished. We have 42% of the country unemployed because most slave jobs have been outsourced or a machine/computer has taken over. This is the point in history we have all looked forward to, now we can now have a 20 hour work week. If everyone worked 20 hours a week there would be plenty of jobs, instead some work two jobs and one of them for 60 hours a week because that is what is takes to pay the bills. Perhaps everyone should have 1 job before someone gets to have 2. Maybe a company should hire a new employee rather than allow an employee to work 60 hours in a week. Time to reset the playing field. This paper calls for a whole new look at the way we do things in Part II I will present some ideas on how to fix this problem.

Are you a slave? Take the test here


Tags

Civil War, Educated Population, Education, Education System, Educational, Educational Ideas, Educational Institutes, Educational Technology, Homeschool, Homeschooling, Outsourcing, Slavery, Slavery In America, Unemployment

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author avatar J A Ridley
kin 257: Red Planetary Earth
I Perfect in order to Evolve
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Comments

author avatar Carol Kinsman
10th May 2011 (#)

Great post! When my own kids were small and approaching school age, I spent many sleepless nights pondering how disfunctional our school system is. I had never even heard of home schooling, but I knew that I didn't want to put them in a system that rarely allows original thought. Well, just before my oldest son would be entering kindergarten, I had an angel walk into my life who happened to home school her own children. She gave me 2 books by John Holt (the father of the home school movement) and that was all she wrote. My son never did make it to school that day and neither did his brother. It propelled us into a life of adventure and growth that I had never imagined possible. Now in their twenties they show a maturity beyond their age, they are more able to think outside the box and they've retained more of what they learned as children, because none of it was forced on them. I'm very happy to have chosen this path. Thank you for writing this very important article!

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author avatar J A Ridley
10th May 2011 (#)

Kinsman57, I am so glad you posted your information as one that bucked the system with great results. I know, I have met your kids they are awesome and huge part of some of the decisions we have made for our kids. The more folks that hear your story the better. In fact you should write it up add some photos so everyone can read it:)

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author avatar Carol Kinsman
10th May 2011 (#)

Hey JAridley, I know that I should write an article, especially about home schooling and someday I'll get brave enough to do it. :)

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
10th May 2011 (#)

Excelllent article. I couldn't agree with you more.

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author avatar J A Ridley
10th May 2011 (#)

Thanks Steve:)

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author avatar Jonathan
10th May 2011 (#)

Nice and important article. I agree with you. We have outdoor preschools in my country (youtube: "Outdoor preschool Norway"). Its great for the kids, and hopefully the concept can be applied in some way in the rest of the school system in the future. We dont need more robots, we need more thinkers and individuals. Thanks for sharing!

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author avatar J A Ridley
10th May 2011 (#)

Thanks Jonathan, outdoor preschool sounds nice but I have to wonder why are our kids going to preschool at all. 3 and 4 year old given over to state care for 8 hours a day sounds like a bad scifi from the 50's or something by Orwell:)

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author avatar Gary Pearce
10th May 2011 (#)

Buzz off with this spam crap.

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author avatar Gary Pearce
10th May 2011 (#)

Very well thought out.
You have a good mind.

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author avatar J A Ridley
10th May 2011 (#)

Thanks for compliment, Gary

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author avatar MAnature
10th May 2011 (#)

hip hip hooray! For getting the word out thanks

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author avatar Songbird B
10th May 2011 (#)

What a great article, and please Carol, I would love to read your story! Thoroughly enjoyed this, and made so much sense... Great share, John..

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author avatar Retired
23rd May 2011 (#)

There are a lot of efforts to create new education processes. i am not sure if "reforming" the public education system is the way or not. no matter what happens there is going to be a uniformity in a way. but there is a universal reality.

the argument against homeschooling that the state uses is that you have to teach kids science, but when the system tries to teach science, they religious people come to the schools and protest, and they want religion taught as well. as though these two are not compatible. the irrational nature of a mystical argument should be allowed to be dismissed out of hand.

if i am hiring someone, or going into business with someone, i want to know that they are aware of the functions of the universe. i want to know that regardless of their personal beliefs that they are aware of the fact that there -is- an objective reality and that it -can- be known.

the pillars of education have to reflect the nature of man and built on science, business and art. these three reflect our nature and our matriculation through this dimension. everything in life is built on these three fundamentals. everything else are just personal experiments that should not be foisted on the public.

if there is some kind of reform, one thing that needs to happen is a screening process to weed out sadistic, lazy, sociopath personalities.. i can remember teachers that really had no business being around children at all let alone being teachers. and that also really just bolsters your points above.

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author avatar J A Ridley
28th May 2011 (#)

Look for part 2, I have some ideas:) The age of the age segregated classroom with a single teacher are nearing an end. We have the technology to roll out something amazing now!

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author avatar Hugo La Rosa
28th May 2011 (#)

JAridley: You're right, when it comes to national curriculum, there is little "usable" material, and on the other hand too many filler courses. Excellent article!

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author avatar J A Ridley
28th May 2011 (#)

Thanks for the comment Esteban

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author avatar Retired
28th May 2011 (#)

have you seen the video by the national inflation association about college education? it follows with all of this. it talks about costs, and suggests elective online alternatives as the obvious, far less expensive solution.

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author avatar J A Ridley
28th May 2011 (#)

I haven't seen it yet but that is where I am going with this:)

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author avatar Retired
28th May 2011 (#)

http://inflation.us/videos.html

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author avatar Retired
28th May 2011 (#)

*** this is not a commercial for every single thing in that video, it is merely a source of some facts and opinions about "higher" education ***

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author avatar J A Ridley
29th May 2011 (#)

Dually noted, is that the saying or is it Duel-ly noted. That doesn't look right. Must be dually since there isn't a squigly line under it like there is under squigly :)

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author avatar Retired
29th May 2011 (#)

duly

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author avatar B Awesome
30th May 2011 (#)

This was an insightful read, the article itself and all of the comments. I just submitted a 2-part article entitled America's Failing Public Education System, the first part deals with problems, the second deals with solutions. It is a pretty lengthy read, but I think worth it. It isn't up yet, but should be soon.

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author avatar J A Ridley
30th May 2011 (#)

Look forward to it b awesome. Should be interesting to see where we resonate:)

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author avatar R Deckard
6th Jun 2011 (#)

Yes, pubic education has failed, this country has failed, the leaders have failed. so, what are going to do, revolution is the only answer!

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author avatar R Deckard
6th Jun 2011 (#)

Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston, is a must read for all your answers.

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author avatar R Deckard
6th Jun 2011 (#)

P.S. Life is but a Dream, sha boom, Jai Guru Dev

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