Saturday, January 28, 2012

Film on Schooling in America in the Twenty-first Century - RaceToNowhere

Whatever anyone thinks about my ideas for changing (and perhaps improving) our school system, the fact is that what we have is not only not working (especially financially), but there seems to be a very large body of evidence that it's hurting our children.

And it's not my research, and it's not my interpretation of things I've read, and it's not John Taylor Gatto's website, which has an excellent pictoral essay on the real power players behind the forming of our modern school system (hint: according to his essay, it's not Horace Mann or John Dewey, who did work to promote free education for all, but rather Andrew Carnegie, Rockefeller and Ford, who wished to start early with cultivating a consumerist mindset in the American people - knowing what we know about our education system and our modern culture, who do you think prevailed?). It's not something I conjured and decided to share.

What it is, is a stark and terrifying film about the real consequences of the kind of "education" and lifestyle choices we are forcing on our children.

But, please, don't take my word for it. See for yourself:


  1. And yet I remember the German and Japanese school kids as having so much more pressure and intensity in school. Much more work.

    So where is the pressure really coming from? The schools? Or the parents? I don't see the schools here pressure my kids. But they do offer study tables after school every day for those that need extra help. I see all the pressure from the parents. So if it is mostly the parents, how will that change when we are forced to change the schools? And when the economy implodes and there are even less jobs....will the competition just get worse regardless of how we educate? Interesting clip - thanks for sharing.

  2. From what I understand of German schools, there are two paths - academic and vocational. Only those students who prove an aptitude are permitted to continue with their education beyond a certain level. In France, from what I understand, it's similar, and the academic track takes children, at around the age of fifteen, to the Lycee.

    I have never been a full-time student in a German schools (although I did spend one day in a classroom when I was, like, five ;), but I have lived in Germany, and their lifestyle is much more austere than ours. Perhaps they are pressured to perform, but not with the goal of "making money", but rather for the goal of "cultivating knowledge." Again, I don't know, because I've not attended German schools, and I can only speak to what American schools are like.

    The real pressure, in American schools, is coming from our society's standards for "success." Our culture defines success by how much money we're able to make, and without a college degree and a good job, there is little chance of earning a lot of money.

  3. Makes sense. And you are right, in Germany they end up more in a trade school situation in the upper grades unless they have good enough grades to get into college. And IF they want to go. So the pressure is more at a younger age IF they want college. The exception, not the rule.

    Would really love to see apprenticeships come back. The last couple of years I've thought about trying to apprentice myself out to a sewing machine repair place. Learn a skill I can do from home should I need to. I'm thinking more people will pull out the old workhorse machines when things get bad.