Orson Scott Card, my current favorite Science Fiction author and all around Renaissance Man, has written one more excellent commentary on the state of our education system. His issue? Schools that want to shorten summer so they can control more of our kids more of the time.
Convenient? Yes. Good for our kids? Are they doing well now, and can that good be actually attributed to things the school system is responsible for? I believe that the vast majority of the good kids coming out of public education are examples of ‘in spite of’ and not ‘because of’.
There are people who have snookered us into paying them a lot of money because they claim to be experts on education, but it’s all a game. They collect degrees by taking classes from people who don’t know how to teach and don’t recognize good teaching when they see it. Then they come to the school districts and get ridiculously high salaries for thinking up ways to keep teachers from doing their jobs.
And Card continues:
We have layers of these “experts” in every school district in the state. They are the highest paid district employees, so I suppose it’s appropriate that they do the most harm.
Do you know what I find, as a college teacher? That the best writers, the best thinkers, the most broadly educated among my students are the ones who were home-schooled.
First time I’ve ever read Orson say that, and I agree wholeheartedly. Of course I’m biased, I was home schooled. But I turned out OK. I graduated High School at the age of 15, and it’s not just a case of my parents saying “you know everything we can teach you, go find someone else”. No I took and passed the California State High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE), effectively the state exit exam. My brothers and sisters are all intelligent, functional individuals with relatively few hangups. We’re normal, with friends both our ages and older and younger. We’re socialized (whatever made socialization the point of school?) and we don’t worry about threats from maladjusted peers who feel wronged or responsible for righting wrongs. We’re not fearful that our world will come crashing down the next time a frog belches. We’re not worried about our shape or weight or what others think about our shape or weight.
We’ve got our issues, just like anyone else, but we know we’re responsible for what we can change. We’re not necessarily self-starters, but we’re not co-dependent either. In short we’re normal people who didn’t have to put up with so much of the garbage thrown at us by experts who really know nothing at all, and get paid highly for it.