Choose an issue of importance to you. The issue could be personal, school related, local, political, or international in scope and write an essay in which you explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your family, your community, or your generation. key points: Talk of “education reform” is viral all over the internet. Despite multiple failed attempts at “reform” over the past decades, society refuses to think outside the “box” of schooling and consider a radical return to how children learned for millennia- By playing, living and doing! Teachers and others in the field of education continue to propose that the oppressive, prisonlike institution where children are forced to stay seated in a building all day pumping out paperwork can and should be reformed! When democratic schooling, homeschooling and unschooling advocates attempt to join the conversation and offer models that are successful and truly radical, they are often met by educators and their supporters who dismiss these models as idealistic and not “realistic” for “everyone”. Additionally, people seem not to be aware of the fact that despite talks of reform, the needs, voices and leadership of the people who are the most adversely affected by public schoolingyouth- are left out of the conversation. Sadly, when the voices of public school youth do reach the movement, they often represent the most compliant and academically engaged students. Their requests tend to be benign, suggesting that minds and bodies trained by the system for so long are unable to fathom what they have lost of their childhoods and what they truly need in order to thrive. The cries of “end school!” from the voices of the artists, rebels, misfits and other children failed most severely by schooling rarely make it to the table. In this post I answer questions about how “education reform” can be truly child-centered, radical and real. How can we save our public schools and reform them? How can we reform a system that was historically founded (in 1852) for the purpose of oppressing children, preventing critical thinking and engineering a more obedient citizenry? How can we reform a system where, in 2011, children need a doctor’s note to go to the bathroom when needed, a federal “504 Plan” to eat when hungry, a diagnosis of being brain disordered with a subsequent federally mandated special education “IEP” in order to be taught in a handson manner and where a teenager has to be diagnosed as “severely disabled” or unteachable and sent to a “therapeutic school” in order to have physical activity between classes? Do we truly believe that a place that runs this contrary to the needs and humanity in children can be “reformed”? “Adults would not get the severity of the human rights violations in the public school system even if they were put back in it (this is not referring to all you epic radicals out there- you know who you are). The reason? The boiling frog syndrome. The adults who don’t get it are already broken and they would be mentally blind to all of the wrongs that go on, including to themselves.” -My son, Brycen R. R. Couture How can we teach so that children care about their education? The belief that children need to be “taught” is based on the arrogant, adult-centered belief that children are unmotivated, blank slates who will not learn unless adults force it upon them,
usually in unpleasant ways. Nature endows ALL children with the passion and ability to learn what they need and want to learn on their own. Adults should not “teach” anything unless it is requested by the child- Teaching interferes with the child’s natural process of learning, inventing and creating. Unsolicited teaching interferes with children following their own innate ideas, hunches, interests and modes of expressing their conclusions, brilliance and creativity. Youth care about learning when they are the driving force behind their learning process and when they are doing what they love. Adults can be the...
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