The Kids Are Alright, It’s The School ‘Reformers’ Who Are Actively Hostile to Children

PIC: Russavia (CC)

PIC: Russavia (CC)

Peter Greene writes:

I was in a CCSS training, and the trainer stopped to make an observation about how Kids These Days lack discipline and order. She even illustrated it with a story about her own child. And  light bulb went on for me.

I have long considered that the Masters of Reforming Our Nation’s Schools view children as widgets, as little programmable devices, as interchangeable gears, as nothing more than Data Generation Units. I had considered that these MoRONS were indifferent to children. What I had not considered was that reformers are actively hostile to children.

I have certainly heard people in the ed world complain about Those Darn Kids, and I have taught in the building with more than one person who blames all their classroom woes on terrible awful no good pretty bad students. I try to be understanding. If I hear it once or twice, I assume somebody is having a bad day. If I hear it many times, I assume somebody is a bad teacher.

But a hostile teacher is one thing. A movement that institutionalizes that hostility is a whole other level of awful.

After I wrote about my experience, other teachers shared more of the same. Tales of trainers talking about how Kids These Days need to be rigorously rigored into a state of rigor. And as I reread old materials, I could see the hostility bubbling beneath the surface.

Sometimes it is misplaced and out of date. There are still education commentators railing against the self esteem movement, and while I don’t disagree with some of the criticism, it’s like complaining that too many Kids These Days are spending too much time on their new computers and listening to the rap music. That ship has sailed, Grampa.

Sometimes it is not even beneath the surface. What is a “no excuse” school, except a school founded on the premise that Kids These Days are all hooligans that will take a mile if you give them an inch. Or even one of those new-fangled millimeters. And when Arne Duncan suggests that those suburban white moms have over-inflated images of the abilities of their coddled children, isn’t he already suggesting that those over-protective parents need to step aside so their kids can be whipped into shape.

Or Frank Bruni’s op-ed that unambiguously declared Duncan correct and opponents of CCSS a raft of child-coddlers:

Aren’t aspects of school supposed to be relatively mirthless? Isn’t stress an acceptable byproduct of reaching higher and digging deeper? Aren’t certain fixed judgments inevitable? And isn’t mettle established through hard work? 

The narrative here is not a new one. See if you can recognize some of the key points. We live in a meritocracy that rewards hard work and grit. Therefor, anyone who is poor and unsuccessful must have failed to show merit, hard work, and grit. If we have a lot of poor people, it’s because they are all slackers– and it starts when they’re kids. If we could get to them when they were little and whip them into shape, then poverty would be gone. Fixing education would cure poverty.

So to fix poverty, we have to toughen these little slackers up. They need to be toughly uncoddled with rigorous excuse-free punches to their tiny brains. These children are one of the big obstacles to fixing our society (along with the teachers who won’t properly kick their little asses). And just look at how dumb and lazy they are! Look at all the factoids about the things they don’t know, and the low test scores they get! Back in my day, students got such much better scores and, buddy, we knew stuff. These kids have to be brought up to snuff.

Is your kid wasting time playing? Stop coddling. Did a lesson make him so frustrated he burst into tears? Good– maybe he’ll start taking school seriously now. Did he fail his big test? Let that be a wake-up call for you. Is his spirit being crushed? Then his spirit is too weak and whiny, and his spirit needs to get its act together.

That this sort of program should originate in the halls of power and privilege is unsurprising. These are men who must believe that their own vast success is the result of their own merit and awesomeness, not luck, timing, underhanded gamesmanship or simply the result of a privileged background. Nor is it surprising that they don’t subject their own children to Reformed School, because they know that their own children already possess the qualities of virtue that they are so ardently trying to beat into Other People’s Children.

Read more here.

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  • _Orwell

    Pretty much what every older generation has said about the younger generation. Comes down to the “Damn, kids! Get off my lawn!” philosophy.

    • Craig Bickford

      Except now we have had over a hundred years of shit Prussian education, so the populace is thoroughly stunted, to the point where much of the explicit critical thinking has been ‘schooled’ out of us. Sure there is a generational issue, but there is also a philosophical corruption of the sciences and rationality to deal with, and a society that has been poisoned and drugged to pieces (and lets not forget the Tell-Lie-Vision box that has been programming us for the better part of a century).

      Common Core is end game schooling for the population that needs to be completely reduced to the level of the citizens in Idiocracy. I mean look around people, we put no one in jail for the wall street housing bubble frauds, and no one said boo about it. We’re fucking done as a culture, as a nation and as a society. All that’s left now is to get smart, hope we can reteach the last of us and learn how to grow our own food. It’s possible we could come out of it, but these psychopaths are building camps and arming DoHS, so I’m not hopeful they are even going to let us get through it alive.

      I’m not sniping you here, just riffing off of your comment.

  • mannyfurious

    Schools suck. You either come out of the first 12 years with your soul vaporized by a dozen years of tedious, meaningless, authoritarian bullshit, or you rebel and never learn how to be a sociable human being because you’re always in trouble.

    Even the first couple of years of college are terrible. When I first attended college I was all relieved, like, “All right, now I can actually just learn about stuff I want to learn about.” Then I met with my adviser and I realized I still had so two years of “gen eds” I needed to complete. If you wanted a “well-rounded” citizen, I don’t know what to tell you. I still don’t remember anything from Finite Mathematics. It was a waste of time for everyone involved.

  • BuzzCoastin

    since the State took charge of edumacation
    school has been an indoctonation system
    & since ww2, a babysitting service too

    funny
    there never seems to be a study or rant about the harms of edumacation
    just dipshit psychopathic psychologist psychobabble

    • terrasodium

      hmm, BERTRAND RUSSELL: “The social psychologist of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for more than one generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.” (Impact of Science on Society, 1953)

      • Craig Bickford

        Nice quote, and very true.

      • misinformation

        I’m not sure that the author of that blog has studied the history of compulsory government schooling. John Taylor Gatto and Richard Grove offer an interesting study on the subject for anyone with an extra five hours to kill: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL463AA90FD04EC7A2

        I believe Russel, that sweetheart, was actually quoting one of the intellectual architects of the Prussian and therefor U.S. government school system – Johann Gottlieb Fichte who seems like he was a true sociopath and most likely, one large piece of shit. The entirety of the quote brings it ever more into context:

        “Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are
        thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives
        of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would
        have wished …”Bertrand Russell quoting Johann Gottlieb
        Fichte, the head of philosophy & psychology who influenced Hegel
        and others – Prussian University in Berlin, 1810

        Not that quote bombs really prove anything, as they can and are often offered out of context. That said, here’s another doozy from Russel:

        Education in a scientific society may, I think, be best conceived after the analogy of the education provided by the Jesuits.
        The Jesuits provided one sort of education for the boys who were to
        become ordinary men of the world, and another for those who were to
        become members of the Society of Jesus. In like manner, the scientific
        rulers will provide one kind of education for ordinary men and women,
        and another for those who are to become holders of scientific power.
        Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile, industrious,
        punctual, thoughtless, and contented. Of these qualities probably
        contentment will be considered the most important. In order to produce
        it, all the researches of psycho-analysis, behaviourism, and
        biochemistry will be brought into play.” [part 3, XIV, Education in a
        Scientific Society p.251]

    • Craig Bickford

      Agreed except for the no one paying attention part. School Sucks podcast, TragedyandHope.com, Charlotte Izerbit, John Taylor Gatto, Clint Richardson, James Corbett etc…lots of people are bitching about it, but not many have decided to wake up out of their school induced Dunning-Kruger complex and their cognitive dissonance to recognize it yet. Also, no one will be studying this issue, at least with any government or foundation grant money, because that would be like the sheep getting wolf spotting instructions from the wolves.

  • Craig Bickford

    Oh they are hostile alright. They need to break the spirit and will of their charges (children), now even more than ever. We have no more factories to work in, now it’s just autism induced programming and tech service jobs for us (and dolts who will go fight wars for oil of course).

  • erte4wt4etrg

    School is obsolete, raise your own damn kids- or better yet don’t have any

    • Andrew

      > damn kids- or better yet don’t have any

      I sense active hostility towards children!

      • erte4wt4etrg

        Nah, just to the lobotomized adults that turn them over to the meat grinder without blinking

  • Apathesis

    I will always regard modern public schools as nothing more than glorified prisons.

  • Adam’s Shadow

    “Fixing education would cure poverty.”

    I try to stay out of the ed. discussions on here because they depress me for a variety of reasons, but this statement should be reversed:

    “Fixing poverty would cure education.”

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