As a society, how can we justify using our kids as educational guinea pigs for the next generation when there is no evidence that this experiment is even worthwhile? We just forced a whole generation of kids to squander their schools days to No Child Left Behind requirements. The experiment has been derided as largely a failure, yet we are still game to put another generation of kids through another educational experiment.. When will the cult of educational experimentation end, when will parents take their kids back home to learn on their own?

This seems like a good time to tell you that my friend worked in a top lab at Columbia University. It was found that the experiments the lab was performing on rats was a doomed-t0-fail experiment that would not yeild useful results. So the experiment was deemed inhumane and it was shut down. For rats. Yet we do this with the lives of children and we think it’s fine.

If we want an experiment that might work better for some, then we have to make the basic requirements (the Common Core) reflect the needs of employers instead of the needs of higher eduction. Because certainly parents want their kids to have good jobs more than they want their kids to go to college. Parents are just thinking  – mistakenly – that one leads to the other.

You know what the problem is with aligning the Common Core with employer needs? It wouldn’t look anything like what we’re used to. We’d have to teach kids to deal with questions that don’t have black and white answers. Becuase that’s what employers want. We’d have to stop force feeding kids information because employers want people who can learn in a self-directed way. Which means, of course, that the Common Core would have to be delivered in a way that is not school. Because employers are coming right out and saying that the school environment is too artificial to be useful to employers.

School should prepare kids for adult life. We don’t need to teach kids to learn. It’s so insulting to them. What would they do if they were not learning? Stare at the wall? Have you ever seen a little kid with the option to do anything and he chooses to stare at a wall? And, if you did, wouldn’t you take him to a doctor?

Yet we have buildings full of kids staring at walls for hours at a time, and we call that school.

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18 replies
  1. Carmen
    Carmen says:

    I clicked on the post about “Three possible goals for education” which sparked a question. I’m just thinking out loud here, but if anybody has an answer, I’d love to hear it.

    Is it possible to think you’re an ENFJ, but in a different role or job or setting you behave like an ENFP simply because you’re no longer interested? You function as a J with stuff you’re interested in, but you become a P with stuff you’re not.

    For example, can a kid be a J, but in school act like a P?

    • Joyce
      Joyce says:

      Hi! Yes, it’s possible. I’m INFP ever since college but could also work well in a structured environment (constant feedback, daily output, etc.). I just need a boss or a mentor to hold me accountable and give structure. I’m pretty sure the reverse is true because I see J personalities in law school put off things when there’s no outside pressure (voluntary recitation, relaxed professors, etc.). But it’s usually us P personalities that are forced to become more like J in school. So your example sounds unusual but it’s still possible.

      • Daniel Baskin
        Daniel Baskin says:

        The letter codes for Myers-Briggs are cognitive preferences, not abilities or adaptations to certain situations. So, to all the “I am an X, but I often behave more like a Y. Am I still an X?” questions: Yes.

  2. Christopher Chantrill
    Christopher Chantrill says:

    I’m reading Kevin Williamson’s The End is Near and he argues that people and businesses are always trying to fix their mistakes, getting “less wrong.” Nothing’s perfect, but you can always get things “less wrong.”

    “The problem of politics is that it does not know how to get less wrong.” So government will never fix education. Like I say, a government school is really a government child custodial facility.

  3. Louise Taylor
    Louise Taylor says:

    Absolutely Common Core will lead to a big increase in homeschooling – especially homeschooling of boys age 5-10, because Common Core is so developmentally inappropriate for them. God help any family who has a right brained or active boy in a Common Core school!

    My son’s private “independent” school implemented Common Core (without informing parents) and I pulled him out at age 8. We are loving homeschooling and see no need to go back!! Common Core was exactly the kick in the butt we needed to get out!!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Louise – you bring up a great point that schools frequently change teaching strategies without even alerting the parents. As if the parents are too stupid about their own kids to understand such topics of education.


      • Julie
        Julie says:

        From what I’ve read of Common Core so far, it could have far-reaching affects on homeschoolers as well, because we COULD be required to show how what we are doing “matches” the common core.(Depending on your own state’s laws.) Even now, some of the more traditional homeschool curriculum programs are advertising how they meet common core standards. I could see it being even more “difficult” to unschool if this becomes the standard.

        • Tina Hollenbeck
          Tina Hollenbeck says:

          I’ve been researching – doing all the legwork myself – what homeschool resources are doing with common core. I have over 1,400 things listed on my database so far. It’s very possible to avoid common core when homeschooling.

  4. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I believe what you’re essentially saying here is the needs of the employer and the free market (and subsequently the participating individuals) are being trumped by an education system (including specifically Common Core) endorsed and promoted by our federal government. Our government and its’ elected representatives financed by its’ constituents and the marketplace.
    There’s two things going on here and they both involve control – control of the individual and control of the free market. The control of the individual was already covered in a previous post here on this blog – the school to prison pipeline. I read a recent article with over a dozen referenced links to recent examples. I didn’t have to even go to those links because I already read those stories. The control of our marketplace by our government is beyond the pale from burdensome regulations to crony capitalism. The school model may not be the best vehicle to prepare someone for life afterwards but the trend in the last few decades is definitely the wrong one. The rules and policies of school when I went there were formulated on a local and State level. Parents, teachers, and the rest of society were better able to respond to the needs of the student. At least that’s how I remembered it. However, now I predict as you do, the education of children in this country will fundamentally change due to push back from parents and homeschooling will play a large part in that change.

  5. mh
    mh says:

    Again and again, I wonder why the children of college educated parents are in compuslory school.

    • mh
      mh says:

      I come up with various answers:

      1) parents have a school habit
      2) free babysitting so both parents can work
      3) following the culture: high consumption lifestyle and social disapproval of homeschool
      4) high taxes and a bad economy
      5) mistaken belief that education is something children get at school
      6) widespread masochism


      It’s a mystery to me.

      • Maranda
        Maranda says:

        I have a toddler, and have been strongly considering homeschool. I can tell you two of my big reasons for hesitating. The first is that I am afraid he won’t learn what he needs to, so he will never get a good job, and he will blame me for his life going awry. Obviously, that is just fear, and there is a lot of research to combat that fear. The second is that it takes a lot of courage to go against social customs. I have never known anyone that was homeschooled, I have never known anyone who was even considering homeschooling their own children, and the reactions I get from my family and friends are almost comical in their disbelief and horror. “How could I possibly do that to him?” is the most common reaction. As if it is a punishment. My friends think he will arrive at adulthood stupid and unable to communicate with human beings, and my family just thinks I am being silly and I will “get over this phase.” If nothing else, the discussions have been a very interesting study regarding how people react when someone they know questions the social norm.

        • Carlos S
          Carlos S says:

          I am starting to follow the discussions and coversations about home schooling and am very interested in the experiences of parents that are homeschooling their boys and girls. I have a three year old daughter attending a pre k class at a private college in Germantown Md, but since she was born I have ben thinking in home schooling based on my bad experiences during my years at public shool. My wife wants to send her to public school for kinder through elementary and we have had discussions, but she does not like homeschooling. So I will need to do a lot of research into the matter to make my case., I am not sure if this site allows to post your email, but certainly any tip to resources or how to contact groups of parents wil e apreciated.

          • Chris
            Chris says:

            It is obvious that your wife does not know anyone who homeschools :) We just started homeschooling our 3rd grader this year after a horrible kindergarten and 2nd grade experience. We were getting the “leftovers” of our child in the after school hours and he was not being academically challenged. I could go on and on. Homeschooling has healed our family, helped us to enjoy each other, and our son is being academically challenged because we can tailor his schoolwork to his level. If the issue of “socialization” is a concern, I recommend “The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling” by Rachel Gathercole. Also google an article titled “18 Reasons Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Children”. Do a search for local homeschool co-ops or groups, and I’m sure you can find an experienced homeschool parent who would be happy to talk to you. Most homeschool families I have met love their lifestyle.
            Good luck!

            P.S. I just found this website and I love it! Thanks!

        • Christa
          Christa says:

          You can do it! You’ve been your child’s teacher from Day 1. Homeschooling is just continuing the process, living life day by day. It’s awesome! If it makes you feel any better (re not knowing anyone that was homeschooled & if they went anywhere) – I was homeschooled for grades 6-12. I went on to go to law school & then work for a governor of a midwest state. I’m now homeschooling my own young children. I also currently have a friend who was also homeschooled who is serving as a senator & running for governor in his state this next year. Homeschoolers have the advantage of living real life and developing an independent learning style that fits them – it sets them up for great success!

  6. Kat
    Kat says:

    “As if the parents are too stupid about their own kids to understand such topics of education.”

    This is so true as I live in a state with curriculum adoptions for the next three years. Most parents would not even be aware that C Scope is out for example, except for the fact that it has been making the news in Texas lately. Parents will most likely be unaware of the pending changes in secondary math and science curriculum that is being decided this year. These changes last for 10 years.

    As for the parent of the toddler… I have twins that are four and they have not been in a school setting. I do not have a “curriculum” rather they learn from what we do as a family like gardening, games, sports, and music. Just this week they both wrote names of their grandparents on an envelope to mail. They learn in a very natural progression. It was not perfect, but they understand the concept.

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