In a recent conversation with someone I stated some interesting things about the school system. It basically amounted to this:
I feel that the modern school system is not good for many kids. In fact, I feel it is often unhealthy and that it can cause many ‘mental problems’ in some kids nowadays. Because this problem originates with the schooling system, and education, I sometimes speak of this as the ‘education sickness’. What it more or less says is that education and schooling is causing a ‘sickness’ all its own. I, personally, think it is a ‘hidden crisis’ in society. It seems, to me, that kids are becoming downtrodden by this, as if they are being squashed by the education system.
There’s a number of reasons why I think this:
- They spend too much time in school.
- They put too much emphasis on schooling, as if it is the answer to everything.
- They think it will teach culture, morality, belief, or a way of life, which it does not do.
- There’s too much unneeded information that kids need to learn.
- With all the schooling, kids can’t be kids.
- A lot of schooling is actually based on the ideals of the adults. Often, these ideals are based when the adults were young. As a result, they are teaching ideals and values that are often 20 or so years behind.
- It places schooling as if that is all there is in life and everything is judged from that.
- It puts kids in a situation of ‘one social reality’, of which they must all fit. This often creates absurd social relations and conditions.
- The kids that are not academic-minded or good at school become ‘outcasts’ or lost.
- Schooling does not create better people.
- In a way, schooling creates a bunch of robots, programmed to fit into society.
- It forces kids to have to fit a ‘mould’ more than anything else.
All these create a condition that actually works against the kids than helps them.
In actuality, there are a number of myths that have developed over the past one or two centuries that have helped contributed to this situation. These include:
- Schooling as a form of “moral training”. This seems a remnant of the Victorian era.
- Schooling as a way to teach people to do what society requires them to do. This became prevalent in the Victorian era.
- The emphasis on success and accomplishment. This became prevalent after WWII.
- Education for employment or specific job. This became particularly prevalent during and after WWII.
- The influence of national pride, as a symbol of progress, for example. This was seen a lot during the cold war where education was seen as the great ‘symbol’ of America’s greatness.
What we see, then, is that much of the ideas of schooling are based in historic circumstance and the ideals of each historic era. In other words, it’s not based in what the kids REALLY NEED. In fact, it seems to me that the kids are really the ‘toys’ of the adults ideals: the way in which children are schooled is meant to represent the ideals of the adults. Schooling is how the adults ‘mould’ the youth to their ideals. How well they do this is a measure of the “success” of their ideals and the adults. Under these conditions, is it any wonder that this ‘modern schooling’ is adversely affecting the kids? In actuality, modern schooling is not about the kids at all but the ideals of the adults.
But we must remember that the original purpose of schooling the children of the general population is that it gives a place to put the kids because we don’t know what to do with them. This fact is largely hidden and unspoken. When public schooling was created in England, in the 1800’s, it was primarily done to give the kids a place so they won’t create problems. This is because the new child labor laws no longer allowed children under a certain age to work. This left many kids with nothing to do, and tending to get into trouble. This was further accentuated by the fact that both parents often had to work during the Industrial Revolution. Because of this, there was no one to watch over them. In that sense, public schooling was intended, in actuality, to be a ‘babysitter’. It gives them something to do, keeps them out of trouble, and helps them to some extent. It was not meant to ‘improve their minds’ initially. This idea came later, when the parents began to turn schooling into a way to ‘mould’ the children to their ideals, which was often done for “nationalistic” reasons, often to show the “greatness” of ones country, particularly in the U.S. This idea seems to become particularly prevalent during and after WWII. Since then, every kid and their dog has to become “Mr. Educated” in order to fit the ideal.
The problem is that many kids do not fit this mould. Forcing someone to be a scholar is one of the failures of modern schooling in my opinion. Much of modern schooling is nothing but forcing kids to be something that they are not or trying to force them to be a certain way. In doing this, we do not help them but, rather, hinder their growth and development as human beings. The reality is that many kids are not “suited” for the intense schooling of today. The more intense modern schooling causes many problems for many kids and in many different ways. I often feel that it tends to cause maladaption problems and hinders their growth and misleads and misdirects many people in their life. I tend to feel that this is a ‘hidden crisis’ in this society and that many problems that it creates are being blamed on other things. With the glorification of learning in this society no one, at least that I know, wants to admit that schooling is actually bad for the kids and doing harm.