Not Too Adept at the Monkey Bars

We want our egg-laying hens to range free, we want our flowers to hear nice music, and we speak harshly of people who keep cattle penned in closely, with little room to roam.

Yet we have created a structure wherein we take young children, remove them from their homes day after day, seat them rigidly with fixed posture, and force them to listen for hours on end to an adult—one who may, or may not, be understanding of their torment.

Some children do well in such an environment. But many do not. School, to them, is little short of prison, with the days’ boredom interrupted periodically by criticism, disapproval, and reinforcement of failure. Three or four times a year, their inadequacy is recorded and released to parents and guardians, who then use those report cards to further demean them. Is it a wonder that so many young people dread school?

Read the rest of the  article from Education Week
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/09/16/03fryshman.h29.html?tkn=TTQF9vgD1egyRhVYQl2i91CGgh8Otalh6FSU

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3 Comments on “Not Too Adept at the Monkey Bars”

  1. bzeines says:

    This was my comment posted in response to some of the other commenters:

    I am a parent and founder at the Brooklyn Free School where children participate in a democratic and unstructured learning environment. I have seen children who could no longer function in a public school environment, let alone, be willing to even get out of bed to go to one, flourish in the free school environment.

    Anyone who preaches that public school is good for children is naive and possibly has a short memory as to how it was for them. I can honestly say that I learned nothing in public school, but learned an enormous amount through my own curiosity, perseverance, and a great deal from other kids, both older and younger.

    Public school was nothing short of demoralizing, and was a key distraction from me pursuing my own creative goals.

    Public school is designed for obedience and conformity whereas an unstructured environment gives a child a chance to grow into a healthy, free thinking, creative and humane individual. Which one does our current society, need more of?

  2. Diane Zeines says:

    While reading that article, I felt a real sadness come over me. I started to realize that public education was a set up for how we ended up viewing our entire life. It became our collective belief system: you hated going to school and then you hated going to work. You’re not supposed to be happy. Wow, now I get it. That was it all along! lol. What we were taught in our public schools is that this is a shitty experience, get used to it because that’s what your whole life is going to be.

    • bzeines says:

      So this is something you are aware of. And if you become aware of something, by the nature of your observation it can be altered. The situation is not hopeless. The institution of schooling was set up to create obedience because that is what industry needed. Now that the whole approach has devolved, we need to open to another approach. We as a nation are in desperate need of creative thinking. The potential is there, but things need to get way crappier for many companies before they will entertain another way of looking at the problem. Same for the country.


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