Hard time

During my youth, I was sent to four grade schools and three high schools, public and parochial, where I spent most of my time feigning attention and wishing I could go off by myself and read and explore all day. I eventually realized that the purpose of these schools had nothing to do with learning. They existed to keep me under close supervision and out of my parents’ hair during the day; any real education that might happen was incidental. The American school systems, public and private, are the greatest achievements in day care in the history of civilization.

I’m not the first person to observe that. In 1972, John Holt wrote that

society demands of schools, among other things, that they be a place where, for many hours of the day, many days of the year, children or young people can be shut up and so got out of everyone else’s way. Mom doesn’t want them hanging around the house, the citizens do not want them out in the streets, and workers do not want them in the labor force. What then do we do with them? How do we get rid of them? We put them in schools. That is an important part of what schools are for. They are a kind of day jail for kids.

(Via Joe Carter.)

One thought on “Hard time”

  1. In the book “Computer Lib”, Ted Nelson tossed off this observation: “Schools are in the business of teaching children to hate various subjects. The one you learn to hate last becomes your career.”

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