Is the American School System Damaging Our Kids?
Parents send their children to school with the best of intentions, believing that formal education is what children need to become productive and happy adults. Many parents have problems with school performance, but the conventional wisdom is that these problems can be solved with more money, better teachers, more difficult and more rigorous testing programs. But what if the real problem is the school itself?
The regrettable fact is that one of our most beloved institutions is, by its very nature, the failure of our children and our society.
Children should be in school, where their freedom is very limited, much more than most adults tolerate their workplace. In the last decades, we have forced them to devote more time to this kind of context, and there is strong evidence that this causes psychological damage to many of them. And as scientists have studied how children learn naturally, they have realized that children are deeper and more fully, and with great enthusiasm, on terms almost opposite to those of school.
Compulsory education has been part of our culture for generations. Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are so enamored of what they want, even longer school days and years. Most people assume that the basic design of today’s schools comes from scientific evidence of how children learn. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Schools as we know them today are a product of history, not research. They developed the plan of action for them during the Protestant Reformation, when schools were created to teach children to read the Bible, to believe without questioning the Scriptures and to obey authority figures without questioning them.
When schools were taken by the State, compulsory and directed to secular purposes, the structure and methods of basic education remained unchanged. Subsequent attempts at reform have failed because they have not changed the basic plan. The method of teaching and top-down testing, in which learning is motivated by a system of rewards and punishments, more than any true curiosity or desire to know, is well-designed for indoctrination and obedience training, But not much else. It is not surprising that many of the largest and most innovative entrepreneurs in the world have dropped out of school (Thomas Edison) or said they hated school and learned that despite this, it was not because of this (like Albert Einstein).
Most students, whether students, students in C or failing that, lose the desire to learn by the time they reached college or high school. In a research study revealing, teachers Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeremy Hunter have installed more than 800 students from the sixth to the twelfth year, from 33 different schools across the country, with special clocks that have issued a signal to opportunity of the day . Each time a signal is received, students fill out a survey that indicates where they were, what they were doing and how they were happy or unhappy at the moment. The lowest levels of happiness, for the time being, have been reported when children were in school, where they are often bored, anxious or both. Other researchers have shown that each successive year, students develop more negative attitudes vis-à-vis the subjects taught, especially math and science.