The people who are most unhappy with public schools in the US are people without children. Parents, it turns out, report that their schools are great. Translation: school is such a sacred form of free childcare that parents systematically mix up causation and correlation in order to keep believing that school is okay.

Sleep deprivation
A major study showed that lack of sleep among our children has become a public health concern: 75% of teens do not get the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep.

Most people will go straight from sleep problems to banning electronics. I can understand not having electronics in bed. Fine. But the real culprit is school, because it starts too early in the morning. And homework keeps kids up too late at night. What’s the solution? You could start school later and get rid of homework because homework has been shown to be largely useless. But you’d still have the problem of kids staying up late doing the stuff they really love doing because school takes up all their time.

Would you like to solve sleep problems by telling kids to not do what they love? Certainly not. You should solve sleep problems by cutting out school.

Preschool
Research shows that kids who go to Head Start programs are better off than similar children who did not attend Head Start. This does not mean that preschool is important for children.

Preschool is unnecessary unless kids are poor. Only poor kids go to Head Start. It’s no surprise that poor families need support to take care of young children. Head Start provides that support. This research supports the idea that social services make a huge difference, but not for everyone; universal preschool is a terrible idea because kids who are not poor are better off with their parents.

Reading out loud
The American Academy of Pediatrics said that when doctors advocate reading with kids, the point is actually that parents need to spend time with their kids. It’s just that reading together is a concrete way to do that.

Instead of elevating reading to the high status, everyone would benefit from saying the most important thing is for parents to spend time with their kids. Then people might question why parents work all day and leave their kids at school so they can learn to read.

In fact, maybe we should just forget reading to babies all together because how parents gesture to babies makes a bigger difference in kids pre-reading skills. I can’t imagine changing our early education focus to be on conversation instead of reading. But it’s fitting that I’m the one reporting on this because I don’t have any babies — like the non-parents who so easily recognize public school is terrible because they won’t end up home with their kids.

1 reply
  1. Erin
    Erin says:

    Thanks. Ive been feeling guilty about unschooling, as one does. We spend so much time together. They like me, and I like them, but I wonder all the time if that’s enough.

    Reply

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