The Most Important of the School’s “Rs”: Regimentation

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A newspaper headline reads: “Parent-teacher collaboration key to improving student behavior.”  Behavior, not learning, is the stated objective, and now such ends are openly admitted.  I can just imagine government-school administrators and teachers pondering the question: “how are we gonna’ make the little bastards obey us?” Traditional threats of “failure” don’t seem to work as well any more. Nor do police officers stationed at schools; barbed-wire fences; or “zero tolerance” for any activity that interferes with the schools’ agendas for channeling the energies of children into conduct that serves the institutional order. “We’ve even tried behavior modification drugs to control these kids,” the SS (School Superintendents) plead, “but this only causes a few of the unstable little monsters to want to shoot up the place. Oh, oh, oh, what can we do to ‘improve student behavior?'”

What about changing the paradigm of what schools should be doing: helping students learn how to think, rather than indoctrinating them in what to think? What about creating student-centered classrooms, in which teachers have to learn how to work with individual students to help them learn what is of relevance to them?  Perhaps the state-serving classroom duces will discover what any observant parent knows: learning is natural for children – even adults – but indoctrination in obedience is, by definition, contrary to their self-directed interests.  When asked which of the governmental functions I would most like to see disappear, I answer “the government-school system.” Wars, police-states, torture, economic dislocations, etc., are the more dramatic examples of our social conflicts. But it is the purpose of the government schools to create the mindset that allows such destructive practices to dominate humanity.

 

10:15 am on May 3, 2014