I am sure that while you were growing up you heard that phrase at least once from your parents or grandparents, maybe an aunt or uncle or neighbor even. I always thought my dad was being a bit dramatic when he said it, as though I spent all day in school for nothing!
But now I am a parent myself, one who homeschools, and I can tell you that that phrase is not a sarcastic way of complaining about public schools. The problem is all too real. Conventional public and private schools are not teaching useful information that will translate into essential knowledge needed to be self reliant as an adult in this country.
How many times in your life have you needed to refer to the periodic table? How many times have to needed to create an algebraic equation to solve a problem in your real adult life? The answers to both of those questions for me and many others is…NEVER. I have never once had a need to look up an element on the periodic table, and I have never once needed to find out the trajectory of a projectile going a certain speed over a certain distance. Perhaps if I had become an engineer or a physicist or a chemist I would need to know those things, but of course is that not what college is for?
So I ask you, why are they teaching these topics to children in grade school? Yes, grade school. My oldest son is a fifth grader this year and he is learning advanced science that I did not even hear about until high school. He just started doing Algebra in his math course and I am just sitting here like “Wow, a bit early for that isn’t it?”.
Why don’t schools teach useful information such as how to read a map? How to raise crops? How to build with raw materials? But wait, Raven you maniac, schools DO teach kids how to build things! No, I am not talking about building a damn birdhouse or a spice rack in wood shop class. I am talking about using raw materials such as logs or trees, to create a shelter or a means of conveying goods from point A to point B.
Sure, some public schools have a communal garden on campus for students to work in, but some is not all. That should be a requisite course throughout your school career, as should anything that promotes self-reliance and the ability to sustain yourself under any circumstances.
Why don’t they teach this kind of vital knowledge in school? The answer to that is actually very simple and very upsetting. The school’s job is to churn out perfect little workers to enter the economy, and the workforce, as a perfectly shaped round peg to fit in the establishments perfectly shaped round holes. They don’t want individuals making their way out of the public school system with there individualism and personal creativity intact.
They are pumping out kids who can recite math facts or pass a test instead of inventors or thinkers. Stifling a child’s creativity should be considered a crime, but here in the U.S. a child’s creativity is seen as a mental disorder and heavily medicated until it dies a slow death. They remove Art and Music programs from schools, they cut down recess time and lengthen the amount of time students are expected to sit and listen.
It seems like a crime to rob a child of their childhood. Think about it for a moment, a child is only a child for so many years and starting at age five we rob them of their time as children. For six hours a day for a duration of 12 years of their lives many children are forced to go to school and sit, and listen, and take tests. If they get bored or distracted? They get labelled ADD or ADHD or maybe autistic and they get medicated.
Children have become nothing more than a number to most educators in this country and it is going to be devastating when the newest generation grows up with literally no real life skills. If creativity is crushed during childhood, innovation is nonexistent in adulthood.
Let’s face it, children are no longer in school to learn. They are in school to take tests and get their school more federal funding and that is really all they are there for. It was true when I was a kid and it is even more true now. Some people say the problem is Obama’s Common Core Cookie Cutter education system and while that system is definitely a problem, it is really only a symptom of an issue that has existed pretty much since public schools have.
Let’s face the facts here, not every child is going to grow up and be a doctor or lawyer or a politician or a computer programmer. Some of them are going to grow up and be landscapers, mechanics, janitors or carpenters. Is there anything wrong with that? Hell no! We need those people just as much as we need the others. Not every career choice requires a college education, yet we push our kids to continue their education while they rack up a debt they will likely never be able to repay.
Why? Because the damn system has told us to! We wonder why there are so many people these days who have mentally broken down and committed atrocities? Perhaps the answer is not that they are “mentally ill” but that they have gone mentally suppressed for too long and finally snapped. I will leave this post now with a quote from my favorite author.
“This inhuman place creates human monsters.” – Stephen King