11 December 2006

Escaping the Labyrinth

Prior to the middle of the 19th century, contemporaries associated puberty with rising power and energy rather than with the onset of an awkward and vulnerable stage of life which would later become known as adolescence. Census classifications also underscored the importance attached to the age of 15 or 16, for after 1740 censuses generally distinguished those under 16, the "dependent" ages, from those between 16 and 60, the "productive" ages (p 17).
Joseph F Kett, Rites of Passage, Adolescence in America 1790 to the Present (1977 Basic Books)

Kett's important but neglected book lays out other systems of child-raising that did not produce the neotenous incompetencies for which our modern school systems are famous. I strongly recommend reading the book for its historical insights into alternatives to the present-day educational and child-raising disasters.

As you can see from John Gatto's Online Underground History of American Education, a prolonged confinement inside age-segregated classrooms is not particularly important in the cultivation of character, refinement, or achievement.
You had to do it yourself through courage, determination, honesty, and hard work. Don’t discount this as hot air; it marks a critical difference between Americans and everyone else. Teachers had a place in this process of self-creation, but it was an ambiguous one: anyone could teach, it was thought, just as anyone could self-teach. Secular schools, always a peripheral institution, were viewed with ambivalence, although teachers were granted some value—if only gratitude for giving mother a break.
JTGatto

In addition you can see from looking at the opinions of several Nobel Prize winners, forced confinement in classrooms can detract from accomplishment more than it contributes.

It took a large number of educated idiots to contrive our modern labyrinthine monstrosity of government forced "education." What the government has destroyed, no government will restore to effectiveness--notwithstanding "No Child Left Behind". The special vested interests that come together to form the educational establishment in North America are as ruthless as any mafia and as self-interested. Your children are a means to an end for these corrupted organisations, not an end in themselves.

Individual parents, enlightened educators, and the children themselves will have to take the lead in plotting an escape course from the downward path of modern mis-education into neotenous incompetence.

The effects of the system on minority children are particularly horrendous, resulting in mounting numbers of incarcerated and otherwise state-dependent minorities. More on that later.

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