Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Evolving into Chaos

Just under a year ago, I wrote a post titled "F--- School." While reading Dennis Fermoyle's recent post, I bounced over to an article that one of the commentors mentions titled, "Legalized Child Abuse," which likens "government schools" to prison cells.
Because I am struggling to convince my poor performing Seniors that skills like writing and reading are important, the question I raised my post a year ago, "what exactly does meet their needs?" must be raised again.
Though my reaction to "Legalized Child Abuse" falls into the category of general indifference, I do wonder about what exactly we need to do for these children we teach. But that is a different post. Today, I want to focus on a few points raised by the author, Butler Shaffer.

"Students come to accept that others will select what is of interest to learn, when and how they will learn, and will judge the value of what they learn. "

Discussion Question: If students are put into privately run schools, as Mr. Shaffer seems to encourage throughout the article, are these students then left to determine their own interests in learning? If so, does society allow students to focus their interests on nose-picking well into their teens in the hope that they find interest in writing to communicate?

"I then noticed that they had been unable to retrieve the ball themselves because the gate on this fence had been padlocked. These boys didn’t appear to be criminal types at all, and yet the school was treating them as such, locking them up in what is little more than a state penitentiary for children."

Discussion Question: Should elementary aged students be allowed to run freely on a playground that is encircled by a road? Do you believe that giving students the freedom to wander into a road, which may be one of their interests, is an effective method of teaching our students the basic American belief of "the pursuit of happiness?"

"Do you see the vicious nature of the game being played, by the state, against those least able to resist, i.e., small children? Is it any wonder that children who were bullied into subservience by a system premised upon one rule – obedience to state authority – might years later find it justifiable to join the Army in order to bully the residents of another nation into submission to the authority of their state?"

Discussion Question: Because our "government" run schools are clearly indoctrinating young minds to join the military, as is evidenced by the enormous percentage of students joining the military these days, what should privately run schools be indoctrinating their students with? A few points to ponder: socialism, terrorism, anarchy, institutional greed, religious intolerance.

"The mother wore a T-shirt upon which were emblazoned, in about six inch high letters, the words "Up Yours!" I have no way of knowing, with certainty, where she or her children had been educated, but if I had to bet my life on it, I would venture that they were all products of the government school system!"

Discussion Question: Which of the logical fallacies does this statement best exemplify?

My final thoughts:

At the time of this article, Mr. Shaffer taught law at Southwestern University School of Law. I wonder if he views his students, many who surely are products of "government" indoctrination, with the same disdain he presents here.

But mostly, I wonder if Mr. Shaffer views himself as one who indoctrinates. It is one thing to think critically about an issue; his final statement, presented above, does nothing of the sort. Therefore, because he doesn't demonstrate any real critical thinking at the end, something he would have learned had he taken my English class, I find it hard to give him much credibility.

And that folks is why so many public teachers are defensive. So many ill-informed individuals have much to say about what we do. If you want to write about education, do some real research.


At 2:39 AM , Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Great post, Mr. McNamar, and thank you. Instead of having to write my own response to this article, I can just direct people to you!

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