The Case Against Public School
"The children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone would be interdependent." -John Dewey, American educator, philosopher (1859-1952)
Public school is arguably the most dangerous and intellectually stifling institution in the nation.
By their nature- as entities funded by the forcible taxation of citizens- public schools are failures, and their structure is inherently designed to marginalize the best and promote the worst among them. This doesn't only apply to the phenomenon of horrible or uneducated teachers; intelligent students are also routinely belittled and punished by these teachers and by the school system itself. Not surprisingly, it is in public school that most "Asperger's" children receive their first "diagnosis."
Since public schools get money no matter what, there is no incentive to hire the best teachers, and there is no mechanism for ousting them when they disappoint (like the school losing money and having to fire such a teacher). Such teachers make life miserable for thinking children, many of whom are erroneously labeled "Asperger's".
Naturally, many public school teachers are of good character. Unfortunately, they are slowly weeded out by the system, and are not able to teach the children what they need to be taught even while they are teaching.
When a child goes to school, she expects to learn. Instead, she is made to sit down on the floor in a circle with the other children, and sing Kumbaya. She gets an F for the class because the group she studied in did poorly, even though she didn't. When the child is bullied, she expects to be defended, not examined by a pathologist for her "inability to fit in with the pack". When she asks about a rule or custom which doesn't make sense, she expects to be enlightened, and for the teacher to be proud of her for noticing a problem. She gets a trip to the principal's office.
One of the common traits of "Asperger's Syndrome" is a tendency to "question" rules, or to demand an explanation for everything.
Children who are intelligent and inquisitive are punished by teachers who do not understand their innocent questions, and take them- mistakenly- as challenges or "threats". These children grow up with immense guilt complexes, and feel pangs of embarrassment or guilt every time they stop to ask a question. They are often diagnosed with syndromes, including the one named after Hans Asperger.
Kids who do consciously question or disobey rules, because they find them unfair or irrational, are also punished. Fortunately, they walk away with less confusion and guilt, since they were intending to oppose the authorities, even though the opposition was for a meaningful reason, not simply to make trouble.
Students who have regular and common morals (don't insult, don't bully, use thought), feel bad when unfair things happen, and are considered by school authorities to be "oversensitive" (on whose scale?) and in need of street skills. If they defend their morals too loudly, their parents are investigated for being rednecks or cult Christians. The child is diagnosed with a "syndrome". One trait of "Asperger's Syndrome" is having "strong" morals.
(Of course, most kids who are labeled "strong moralled" have the same moral strength most people have. Were the bullying to happen to another child, that child would have reacted the same. Whoever labels these children "very moral" just wants to shut them up when they complain, and give them a backhanded compliment.)
Most people are required by law to pay taxes. The tax money is given, partly, to the public schools. The average citizen (even one who has no children) has no way of changing the way the schools are run if he thinks there is something wrong with them. Therefore, he is made to fund these schools whether they are good or bad.
This is why public schools are of bad quality. Private schools, which no one has to pay if he doesn't want to, will go out of business if they are of bad quality. Public schools get money- your money, forcibly taken- no matter what. Don't ask why there is no incentive for them to do better.
Since force (government) is the final authority over public schools, if the government decides to implement a bad policy, or teach a wrong piece of information, or encourage a bad moral, there is no way to fix this. If no force were involved, schools could quickly go over and polish their mistakes. Also, since there is only one government, and therefore only one way of doing things, there is no variety of strategies and no choice between them.
Because of increased taxes in general, it is extremely hard for some families to save up money for their kids to go to private schools. Many poor parents, including blacks and Hispanics, are forced to send their kids to "free" (for whom?) public schools, often no better than dumps. This can cause racism and give minority children bad feelings about their abilities and their intelligence.
If you are a parent, you owe it to your children to send them to a school where they won't be "diagnosed" with a syndrome for being intelligent and having commonsense everyday ethics. It is also important that they are able to use their intelligence to learn challenging material, which they certainly won't find in most public schools.
Don't try to "change things from inside" or wait for "the right moment" to take your child out of school, especially if he or she is in danger of being "diagnosed" with "Asperger's Syndrome"- i.e., if he or she is too intelligent or awake. Homeschooling is easy and can be done by anyone. The skills a child has to learn are skills that most adults already have. If you use Google or Yahoo, you can find many inexpensive private Internet schools, which are acclaimed and of good quality.
If you don't want to use an Internet school, are not in position to homeschool, and see no cheap schools around, you can save up money for more costly private schools instead of buying that big screen TV or that gym membership. What is really important here? Your child's education and mental health......right?
The most important social thing we can do for kids is to stop labeling them for being moral, and for behaving the way any child would in the same situation. The most important political thing we can do for all children- but especially intelligent children- is take them out of public schools and make sure our country's schools are privately run, now and forever.
Please visit our EDUCATE! page and our QUOTES page to get more info about public schools.