Monday, October 02, 2006

The public school nightmare

Here is an article by John Taylor Gatto titled, "The Public School Nightmare: Why fix a system designed to destroy individual thought?", and this article is trying to say the same thing as I. This article is distributed by Diablo Valley School (DVS). DVS is a private school located in Concord, CA, and it uses an interesting but different curriculum: real life. Students at DVS learn life's most valuable skills: self-confidence, concentration, problem-solving, decision-making, academics, personal responsibility, and respect for others. By making choices and learning to live with the consequences, students experience the challenges, responsibilities, and freedoms of real life while in a caring and supportive environment. DVS is a school where play is serious work and serious projects are fun. It sure beats the same-old, boring, public school mantra.

The exact same truth when you compare public v. private education (or home schooling) is found in Separating School & State: How to Liberate America's Families by Sheldon Richman. Both teach that private schools use the free market and competition, while public schools use socialism and communism. So private schools raises children to be creative and independent thinkers, while public schools raises children to suppress thought and be a "good little citizens", obedient to the state.

Back in the early half of the 19th century, American education was the product of the free market. In fact, although America public schooling originated in Massachusetts in the 1850s, it did not become firmly entrenched as a system in the U.S. until the early 1900s. The structure of American education began in 1806 in Germany, when Napoleon's soldiers beat the Prussian's soldiers at the battle of Jena. Because of that, in 1819, modern forced schooling began in Prussia, with the purpose of producing obedient soldiers. Prussian schools had the ability to remove the mind to think for itself.

During the latter half of the 19th century, many young American men came to Prussia and brought home the degrees to the USA. First, the public education was started in Massachusetts. Over the next 50 years, school after school dropped the free market to a socialist monopoly, led by Horace Mann.

It is important to understand that the underlying principle of the Prussian public schools is that the government is the true parent of the children--the government is their daddy. The state is sovereign over the family.

100 years later, the government is still the protector, and the people are still sheep. It is this ardent devotion to "order", to the preservation of the status quo, to the love of control under the name of freedom, to the life of the lie--has its core in public education. But this can change. We need a new paradigm of education. As Gatto says, "Trust the people [and be responsible for their actions], give them choices, and the school nightmare will vanish in a generation."

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