It seems that the high costs of higher education and the societal costs of socialized lower education are really taking America down, right along with the disasters that central planning in security, money and retirement have wrought. One problem is the authoritarian, top-down approach to education that has pervaded our society and culture, and the suppression of expressions, interests, and the will of society’s youths that goes with it.
This article by Stephan Kinsella, Montessori, Peace, and Libertarianism, today on LewRockwell.com, is very informative on the approach in education of Maria Montessori, an approach based on the child’s individuality, and being a rejection of top-down, authority-driven educational ideologies.
Although this quote by Montessori is referring to the discouragement of placing a child in a crib, I like the quote, addressing the encouragement of independence:
When the child is given freedom to move about in a world of objects, he is naturally inclined to perform the task necessary for his development entirely on his own. Let us say it straight out – the child wants to do everything all by himself. But the adult does not understand this, and a blind struggle begins. The child likes neither to play idly, nor to waste time doing useless things, nor to flit about aimlessly, as most people believe. He seeks some very precise goal, and he seeks it with an instinctive directness of purpose. This instinct that impels him to do things by himself makes it incumbent upon us to prepare an environment that truly allows him to develop. When he has freed himself of the oppressive adults who act for him, the child also achieves his second goal, working positively toward his own independence. [Education and Peace, 55]
If one takes an honest look at the government schools, one will see how they have dumbed down generations of people, especially in the U.S., and how the government curriculum of authoritarian pedagogical instructions has caused mostly not just an unquestioning obedience to the State, but an intolerance of diversity, such as in the name of political correctness. Diverse ideas are not discussed, and in fact are not tolerated. This is not just a government-school phenomenon in America, but a cultural phenomenon whose effects have pervaded in the private schools as well.
Some of the problem in our culture is to do with the increasing influence of the television. When generations of Americans sit in front of that thing and passively and vegetatively stare at it for hours every day, then you should expect Americans’ average intelligence, as well as their motivation and creativity, to decline.
In the schools, instead of learning history, math and English, the kids are learning about “man-made global warming,” and how to put a condom on a cucumber. Of course, the kids are also learning how to text. All they want to do now is text their friends, and play with their Facebook page. This is what the centralization and bureaucratization of everything in society has caused, intellectual laziness and a destroyed motivation in many people, now.
But regarding the pedagogical authoritarianism and discouragement of alternative ideas in the classroom, Gary North writes online (Garynorth.com, Feb. 10, 2010) on “How a College Student Can Safely Create Pain for a Professor Who Is Misusing His Bully Pulpit,” for college students, but perhaps it can apply to high school students as well.
College now is a total fraud and a sham. While government (and private) schools are an indoctrination center for State-worship authoritarianism, so are colleges. However, college is worse, because of the institutionalized fraud of promising a post-high school “education” to be used as the path toward a “career.”
College is no longer a worthy investment for parents to make for their kids. It is a place for extended adolescence that discourages personal responsibility and independence, and it wastes parents money and puts students into long-term debt.
Unless your child has a desire to enter an extremely concentrated specialty such as medicine, I would advise that the high school graduate work full time, and take college courses perhaps toward a BA on a part-time basis, such as with an online university. Also, it is important that teenagers have part-time jobs during high school. They need to learn the “work ethic.” Teens also need to get experience seeing how businesses are run. Learning through observation is very important. I think that people get better educated through actual experience than through formal classroom teachings.
Another thing for parents to consider is encouraging and promoting the child’s natural interests, that the child or teenager expresses, as noted in the aforementioned Kinsella article. For example, if a high school student is fascinated with jewelry and other similar expressions of artwork, he or she can get a part-time job with a jeweler, and study techniques in jewelry crafts, and so on, and then such a part-time job can perhaps eventually turn into full time. Or, if the kid loves gardening and plants, he or she can get a part-time job with a florist or landscaping business, which can eventually turn into full time. That could then include the young adult’s taking courses in botany and getting a degree in Botany, perhaps in an online university.
There are also high school AP courses online.
I believe in maintaining traditions generally, but not when such traditions become self-destructive and wasteful of time and money. Americans need to reconsider traditional education methods, and Americans need to reconsider this tradition of sending kids off to college for four years. These ways of life are not helping people in the long run, and not helping the country.