The Horrors of Public Education
Many students agree that school is awful; they frequently voice their disgust concerning this abomination we call public education. They spite the good students who obey like little sheep, frown at imposed conformity, and laugh at the hypocritical nature of the system.The same will be done here, but there is a big difference between these defiant students and me, the author. I was one of those good little sheep. I graduated high school with a 4.0, perfect attendance record, two years of student council under my belt, and a host of top scholarships to get me through college. Teachers loved me, students both feared and respected me, and the principal knew me better than I knew him.
It’s enough to make you sick. I know it made me sick. So here I am, biting the hand that feeds because it’s been feeding nothing but propaganda and sour grapes.
I’m not writing this article because of envy or spite against system-indoctrinated valedictorians, nor am I trying to put blame on my school for all my academic failures. In fact, I cannot because I was that valedictorian and had few if any academic failures.
I’m writing this article because the system itself is messed up. Having been to many different public school systems over the past 15 years, I have more than adequate credibility to make this claim.
What is taught is random, useless, and meaningless
In class, too much time is wasted on useless topics. The quality of education has been sacrificed for quantity, and as a result, academic inflation and the devaluation of information has turned intellectual ambition into apathy and bright minds into gray mush.
In an effort to be multicultural and eclectic, class curricula have become shallow and disorganized in their effort to teach students a global viewpoint. Topics are taught piecemeal, and never do teachers spend time to help students integrate the pieces into a coherent picture that can be used or built upon. And even if within a class the ideas are put together, between classes the grand education still remains compartmentalized.
For example, both geometry and physics can be mastered by the average student, but the connection and communication between the two often are not. When physics is taught in a junior high or high school physics class, it involves only the most elementary of geometry concepts, and vice versa. Without synthesis of the two, each remains without purpose or effectiveness.
Such synthesis between topics is neglected in the school curriculum, and consequently one’s experience in the public education system becomes a vague memory of random, meaningless, and useless facts, just as a disassembled engine is just a junk heap of random metal parts. Most school subjects themselves aren’t even real knowledge. History books are full of purposely engineered inaccuracies and distortions for the sake of corporate gain and political correctness.
It amazes me how the general public functions at a sixth grade level when we all supposedly graduated high school. Much of history, algebra, geometry, biology, physics, etc. are forgotten. If teachers spoke into empty classrooms all those years it would make the same difference.
Much of school is wasted time
The purpose of education should be to make one an independent, competent thinker, one who can make a difference in the world for the better, and one who has the best chance for survival and success in the world.
So what the hell are we doing with such profundity of pep rallies, football and basketball games, proms, crazy hair days, sex education, death education, quiz bowls, and student council meetings?
Sure, without them, school would be dull. But, school is supposed to be an incubator of young humans to prepare them for excitement in the real world. School is doing more than it’s supposed to and has instead become a surrogate provider of such excitement, turning it artificial and socially harmful. Is your vacuum cleaner also supposed to do the dishes, trim your hair, balance your checkbook, and be your Friday night date? If we stripped out the extraneous, school would only be 4 hours a day and maybe 120 days a year. Kids would get more sleep, have more free time to think and live and grow. Ah, but that would be a terrible inconvenience to parents stuck in the 8 hour work day, and the education industry getting paid by the hour and day wouldn’t make as much.
So much in school concerns extracurricular activities that time which could be spent on real world activities is instead being wasted in these trivialities. The effect is an amassing of students dependent upon the system and isolated from the real world. Social, financial, and academic dysfunction result. Once again, quantity over quality has prevailed, because there is no profit for the supplier in quality. Quality only helps those in the demand, but when consumers of education have themselves been dumbed down to primal levels, discernment and appreciation of quality disappear.
Despite these problems, almost everyone is happy.
Parents are happy. Moms get to watch their soap operas and dads get to work while their kids are being babysat. They don’t have to worry about teaching morality or ethics to their children because it’s being done for them in school. They don’t have to entertain them or spend genuine time with them because these children are too busy being entertained in school functions. Moms just have to drive their girls to soccer practice, and dads toss the football a few times. Perfectionist parents keep their child competitive not by guiding them and helping them on a daily basis, but by yelling them once a school quarter when report cards come out. Because the public resides at a sixth grade skill level, parents typically can only help their children with homework up to sixth grade, and beyond that they are at a loss. There are exceptions, such as parents who are academics or teachers, but they are too small a minority.
Teachers are happy, as they have a secure job from 8 to 5, and the more they work, the more they get paid. The more school programs there are with federal or state funding, the more money they get. The more schools have the programs, the more funding and perks they receive from federal benefactors.
Everyone is happy, that is, except for the students. But who cares? Who are they to complain? What do they know? Those with the gold make the rules, and all students have is some pocket change for cookies and milk.
As is well known, in school, you spend more time learning how to obey and what to think, instead of and how to think and think for yourself. The fact of the matter is that at least 3/4 of the time spent in school is a waste. Remember back to elementary school and how much time was spent on behavioral conditioning. You will then realize that so much of what looks like learning is actually programming. Remember all the time and energy spent learning cursive. Yet by the time students enter high school, they rarely write in proper cursive anymore, let alone good handwriting, and even less so in college. Teachers don’t care unless it’s totally illegible. What then, was the point of all those years of reward and punishment learning how to make the “t bar” just the right size, how to write the cursive “G”, to keep the upper, middle, and lower zones in the right proportions? The only thing it consistently produces is a conditioned fear of punishment or disapproval and conformity to the wishes of authority.
Students are not at fault
But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that public schools not only have a crappy curriculum, they actually oppress their students by forcing them to participate in it. It is one thing to offer a profundity of shallow assignments, and quite another to make students do them.
Simply put, students are forcefully occupied with junk to prevent them from learning something useful.
Almost everything important I have learned, I learned on my own time outside school. During junior high, the assignments given to me were few, and I often completed them in class. This left me with enough time to go to the library to begin my study of metaphysics and the paranormal, to learn truth on my own and experiment with what I had learned to confirm the nature of absolute truth. I may be an exception, but if they had doubled my workload with fluff then I would have been forced away from learning on my own. Well, that’s precisely what has happened with newer generation of children entering the school system. With every year, quantity of homework increases and quality of the material goes down.
As I progressed through high school, increasingly useless assignments were given to me which taught me nothing (and believe me, I searched for something useful in them) but occupied my time nonetheless. What was being taught to me was compartmentalized, full of holes and errors, shallow, and politically correct to the point of nonsense. Was it my duty to integrate the parts and learn the material well enough to be applied? Sure, but the sheer quantity of homework prevented me from finding time to do just that. Quantity over quality once again.
At the time of writing, I am in a state college, and it’s no different. The oppression continues, except now I’m getting wiser and have caught onto their tricky scheme to graduate robots instead of humans.
I wish I had more time to do research related to this site, to learn true physics and history, to continue writing music, and make a difference. But this time is eroded by the wasteful components of the school curriculum.
Students, except for a few genuine slackers, are not at fault when lagging in critical thinking skills. They are not being held back by their own laziness, but by direct oppression from a system with the power to punish them or put a bad mark on their transcripts if they don’t give up their individual pursuits of knowledge in favor of hollow schoolwork.
Overloading creates dysfunction
There are multiple consequences to this program of quantity over quality. Children are under a lot of stress nowadays in schools due to this, and as a consequence they shift into a survival mode.
This survival mode consists of taking shortcuts and getting by with the least amount of effort possible, but even this small amount of effort is too much and applied toward futile ends. Grades become an ends to a means, and the true goal of education is detached from daily work. Studying is only applied toward taking the test, but not for retention thereafter. Escapism takes hold and watching television, taking drugs, engaging in delinquent behavior, and over-socialization result. This further detracts a student from learning what’s truly needed.
Under such stress, the student body splits into two groups: those who conform and those who fail.
The ones who conform learn the rules of the game, no matter how illogical they are and play the game to the satisfaction of the faculty. They become detached from reality, from what truly matters, and are stifled in their potential as they are stripped of their inspiration, creativity, and originality. Quantity over quality matters as part of the survival mode, and there is no profit in overdoing quality when the profits of doing so are decades away in the reaping. Due to this survival mentality, thinking that far into the future is neglected. The ones who conform become robotized and are respected for how well they fit the mold. What was once innate curiosity to discover the world is turned into neurotic attempts to escape failure.
The ones who do not conform fall behind unless they are clever enough to find another source of education that befits them. Their grades are mediocre as they are disillusioned with the system and no longer care about pleasing it. Chances of graduation and pursuing higher education is slim, and most of these either drop out or graduate and immediately acquire low paying jobs. The price of refusal to conform is rejection into substandard wage earning.
Either way, those entering public education leave either as robots or peasants, hyperbolically speaking.
The system itself
Teachers are not to blame either. They are like soldiers in the trenches fighting a war to educate the public, taking orders from their superiors who have no idea what the current conditions are on the front lines. Or maybe some do and have ulterior motives.
Teachers are overstressed, underpaid, and restricted in their ability to respond to what they perceive in the classroom. Due to political correctness, threat of legal action by parents, and contrite school boards scared of disapproval by a vocal minority with big political clout, teachers are confined to a tight curriculum they are forced to follow.
They are forced to teach some things and not allowed to teach others, such guidelines being set by a panel of nodding puppets with no clue as to what the truth is, let alone initiative to spread it should they know the truth. These puppets are those who design the school curriculum, who despite once being teachers themselves, are for the majority removed from the classroom feedback mechanism.
It’s the little things that contribute to an oppressive atmosphere in schools. Notwithstanding the social atmosphere, teachers on a strained school budget worry about saving paper, staples, or tape. When my high school received thousands of dollars of funding from the community, it used that money to expand its inventory of computers that weren’t even needed just to keep up with the politically correct trend for schools to be technologically current. That money should have been used for the little things, such as office supplies. Wasted extravagance in one place, poverty in another, a microcosm of our world.
Disruptive students are put in the same class with well-behaving ones, creating academic socialism whereby equality is maintained by dragging up the idiots at the expense of the smart ones. Separating students on the wrong criteria leads to incongruities and a breakdown of the system and its components. Putting them into grades by age, when they should be instead separated by level of knowledge and skill, results in academic entropy whereby the smart become dumb and the dumb learn how to waste other’s time.
Teachers spend more of this time teaching children how to shut up and sit still than to pay attention and think. Because they are very limited in their methods of discipline, teachers and students suffer as the idiotic and delinquent minority ruins it all for the rest.
Friction within the system from misplacement of resources induces hatred among its components, as each is suffering and blaming one another instead of blaming the system itself. In fact, the system is set up such that the components feed off one another in a long-term downward spiral.
Teachers have contempt for the students and often make an effort to take out aggression upon them, seeing them as the enemy and cause of their own stress. Students see authority as something to be defied unless they are already broken by it. Teachers make up illogical rules to test how well students obey, such as making them walk a certain way through the library, or not enter or leave certain exits at certain times, and other minor things which irritate students and allow faculty to feel good when they exert their powers. This tension between student and teacher shatters trust between them, and any teaching and learning between them enters the domain of negative reinforcement. Instead of them loving and respecting one another, they hate each other but do what they are supposed to, to avoid consequences if they do otherwise.
When you see a student, what you’re really seeing is someone low on ambition and initiative, but starving for recognition and self-esteem. This is a symptom of a system that is anti-life, anti-individualism, and anti-spirit. Compressing a wonderful human into a precise block to fit perfectly into cubicle induces the survival mode of life. Knowledge, having been made into the source of his distress, is put at the bottom of his list of priorities, as he has to do whatever is possible to regain his self-esteem, recognition, and peace of mind. However, he must do so within the confines of the system.
Dysfunction results. Instead of individualism meaning thinking for oneself and seeking one’s own truth and sense of morality, individualism becomes wearing freaky clothing, having funny hair, and garnering attention via infantile vulgarity no matter if it is for fame or infamy. These superficial methods are all that are still legal within the system. The true human spirit, however, is suppressed.
Those who are broken follow the teacher’s illogical rules and learn to trust authority over their own potentials. In this, they become a cog in the wheel. Breaking orders is taboo to them, something they get very nervous about when it happens, and they certainly don’t do it willingly. They become neurotics and unstable perfectionists who stand high on shaky foundations.
Once their individuality is broken, they become robots very good at their tasks. Many go on to college, absorb what’s fed to them and become academicians with a groovy little niche and nice income in their fields of research or industry. But however wonderful that sounds, they are robots and nothing more. Or to make another analogy, they are cows. They don’t know that being the best cow still doesn’t make you a cowboy.
The straight track
We hear stories of entrepreneurs who strike it rich after dropping out of college and pursuing their dreams. We hear stories of those who go from rags to riches, of those who defied convention and revolutionized the world.
But what do we hear in school? We hear that these people are the exception, not the rule. That is certainly true statistically speaking, but what the system is implying is that you are the rule, not the exception, so don’t even try to deviate from the straight track.
The straight track is what students are being taught by the system, concerning the course of their lives. The straight track told to high school students goes as follows:
You need to do your assignment to get a good grade. When you get good grades, your transcript will be favored by employers and colleges. You might even get scholarships to go to a good college. If you’re good in college, you’ll get a degree and have good chances of getting a good job. And with a good job you’ll have a good wife, good kids, and a good life.
What they’re really saying is this:
Don’t worry about changing the world, just concentrate on getting good grades because that is the only measure of what you’re worth in the eyes of those you’ll serve. Go to college and find your quiet niche in the world, where you’ll be secure in your job because you’re so specialized, there’s no one else in the world who can take your place. You’ll be working to maintain the system as you’re seen fit. Focus all your energy into this specialized area and don’t worry about making an impact on the world because as long as you stay specialized and compartmentalized, we’ll clothe you, feed you, give you a good family, and bury you in a good plot of land.
Deviating from the track is abhorred by the system. If you show initiative and take risks, you become a statistical outlier, an anomaly in their statistical models, someone who poses a threat to the system because you are a seed with the potential to overturn the mirrors and reveal the truth behind this silent war.
In this lies the point of the article. You cannot be successful, recognized, or a true human being unless you defy the system in areas that deserve to be defied. If you only do what you’re told, you’ll be no better than average.
The system has been designed by the biggest corporation of all, the state. Public schools either turn out worker drones who serve the state and its partnering greedy corporations, or else they turn out welfare recipients who are an excuse for the state to maintain its colossal parasitic size and an idiotic consumer base to buy these corporations useless toys and poisons.
So many students are under this illusion, the illusion being that they either follow the straight track and try to be the best cow in the herd to maintain financial and social security, or else defy the system and fail miserably, ending up as a bum on the street.
You are seen as a social failure if you defy the system. If you measure your success by what the system deems is successful, then you will fear deviating from the straight track because that is a sign of failure.
However, you must therefore redesign your standards of success. Would dropping out of a state college make you a failure? In the eyes of other cows, maybe, but pursuing a better education elsewhere be it independently or real world experience would more than make up for it.
How many famous people do you know who did everything they were told and nothing more, who never took risks for fear of defying the status quo? Not very many.
The lesson is that not only must you take risks and utilize your innate initiative, you must also get over your fear of defying the system and do so to get ahead of the herd. You are the exception, not the rule, because you have the power to be.
Now, the robots in the system are definitely needed. We still need employees, soldiers, and scientists who are specialized in what they do, but presently there is an overabundance among these. Therefore, the emergence of individualists, generalists, and entrepreneurs is encouraged.
And the only way for them to increase in numbers is for people like you to break out of the mold and fulfill your destiny as a human, not a machine.