Repeating History in Education

I wonder if this book, written in 1967, is on the list of required reading at any of our public schools.

We have this skewed idea that schools are changing. That all our efforts to increase accountability, to make sure that kids “don’t fall through the cracks” and to “bridge the achievement gap” are actually doing something.

But the truth is, things haven’t changed at all. All these measures are ways to keep the schools exactly the same way as they have been for a long, long time. It’s like saying an elephant has changed by putting a bow on his head.
For true educational changes, kids need to read texts like the linked above. Good American reading about education would be books by John Holt and John Taylor Gatto – teachers who tried to change things, and were completely ignored by the public schools. No, they weren’t ignored, they were granted lip service, then brushed off. How many public school teachers have read either of these books in their teacher training? I would bet most have read some (although I’m sure only “safe” snippets). But does that change anything? How many teachers can even begin to use these progressive ideas to make real change? Teachers being trained to work in the public school system are the wrong people to be reading Holt. Cuz teachers are just as trapped as the school children. It’s the parents and school children who should be reading these authors. They are the ones who are free to make a choice and make change by doing something *other* than coming back to public schools to be teachers.

If there’s one good reason to homeschool, is to make books available that discuss the meaning of education. When my kids are teens, I have a bookshelf full of information about what it means to be educated and ready to be a “functioning member of society”. Many sides of the issue.

Being that my children will be coming from a life of having been free to learn in their own way, I’m really curious – will they have a similar interpretation as I do about our current state of education? Or will they see the various sides of the argument of the role and responsibilities of public school in a different way?

In any case, I think history is important, because if we truly study history, we see that there’s not just one side of the story. The winners are the ones who make history. It’s important to read history from the side of the losers too. In education, public schools and the kids who are able to bend themselves enough to fit into the “school kid” mode are the winners. The poor and the kids who are individuals are the losers.

And guess what – the more we push for testing and make that school box more and more precise and measured, the more we’ll start seeing “individuals” being unable to bend to the school’s demands. The process of assessment is so in your face today, that maybe, just maybe, by the mere fact that mass communication over the internet is now available, people will start to see through the facade of cultural norms and not just question the validity of how our schools corral our children, but do something about it.

Well, if you read that above article, and it made you think, that’s a step in the right idreciton. Thank you for being part of the change, whatever that change may be. By being someone who thinks about things. Thank you.


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