There has been another school shooting and the left, as usual, is screaming for more gun control.
Despite the fact that no “scary” weapons were involved, and despite the fact that the student was, in fact, carrying explosives, explosives that pretty much every kid who can read or even listen can figure out how to make online.
Banning guns and disarming the peasants, that very ancient dream of the left (and all statists) will in fact not prevent school massacres. It will just change the way they’re carried out to explosives, or perhaps knives.
Yes, there is validity and a lot of merit in saying that one way to prevent school massacres is to arm teachers and teach the children techniques of self-defense. When my own kids were in urban schools, middle through high school, the school policy was to lock the kids in the classroom if there was a gunman in the building. Or, as I called it, “making the kids sitting ducks to anyone who can shoot out the lock.” My instructions to the kids, if they were in a place they could go out the window and the alarm sounded? They were to break the window and run out. If it were a false alarm, we’d deal with the school.
But those are also half measures. Many teachers, inexplicably, prefer not to be armed, apparently – if I understand their social-media emoting – under the impression that if they don’t fight back they won’t be hurt. And the method of “throw everything you have at the shooter, including your desk” might give someone the chance to disarm a shooter, but again, if the attackers switch to bombs or, who knows, other methods (I can think of three. No, I’m not going to write them down) all of that is useless.
Then there is the fact that the endless talk about Parkland might have, if not given the idea to, at least kept the idea in the Santa Fe attacker’s mind. Teenagers are emotional and unstable by nature, and this constant harping on how common school shootings are by the media and the progressives (BIRM) will only make them more so.
However, teenagers being emotional and unstable and a school an unhealthy institutional environment, many young people will get the idea on their own, even without the ghouls of the media wishcasting for their own ends.
Which bring us to my proposal.
I propose we abolish public schools.
See that thing above, where the schools are an unhealthy institutional environment? Well, they are.
We grab kids between the ages of 6 and 18 and stuff them into buildings with a bunch of strangers with whom the only commonality is that they live in the same general area and are about the same age. We give authority over them to deranged administrators, crazed security officers, and ideologically corrupt teachers. We make them live by rules that give all the power to the psychopaths among them. And then we’re surprised when a few of them – a very small percentage — become murderers.
Wait a minute, you’ll say. Not all teachers are bad, not all administrators are corrupt, not all security officers are crazy, and not all classmates are psychopaths.
Of course not. In fact, as we found when our younger son changed schools in tenth grade, there are still some pretty good schools.
However, the way the system is designed, between unions, bureaucracy and the fact that even good teachers have a sense of self-preservation, the bad elements tend to have more sway than the good ones. Which is another way in which schools resemble prisons.
Look at this idiot, and his “kids who become school shooters.”
I fit almost every one of those characteristics. So did both my sons. So did my husband. (Older son fit all of them. He’s still very fond of trench coats. So was I. Why this is supposed to be a risk factor, I don’t know. Does idiot suggest we have trench coat control? And for violent games, the best husband and I could do, having been born in technologically backward times, was shoot space invaders at the arcade.) The reason was that we were all fast and enthusiastic learners, and there is nothing that makes you more unpopular at public school.
Not that it’s much better to be a slow learner. When older son was in elementary and diagnosed (note the word. It’s not an easy thing) as profoundly gifted, my best friend was the custodial grandmother of a kid who was profoundly mentally retarded. We had almost the exact same problems with a system designed for the mythical “average” child.
Public schools create bullied loners. Frankly, given the rate at which the school produces maladaptations I’m surprised we don’t have more school massacres.
“But, Sarah,” you’re going to say, “I can’t afford to homeschool my kids. It’s just the two of us and both of us need to work outside the house.”
And even if one of you were to work at home – I did – chances are you couldn’t homeschool. I know. I never meant to put my kids in public school, but I ended up doing it because we had no family nearby and no relief from 24×7 child rearing. This while my husband worked the hours common to beginning programmers. I couldn’t do it. Not if I wanted to remain sane or keep a moderately sanitary house.
So, you say, what are you to do?
Note I did not say “abolish schools” but “abolish public schools.”
The public school is an idea from the 19th century when the state had a vested interest in factory workers who were literate enough to follow orders and read instructions. They are not the only or even the best way to learn. My husband’s family with seven other families founded Norwalk Connecticut in the 17th century, and a bare ten or twenty years after founding it, they set off a search and a collection to hire a schoolmaster. The children of a town of probably under 200 people, who were farmers and oyster fishermen, did not become illiterate.
“But, Sarah,” you say. “we don’t have the money to send the child to private school!”
Of course you don’t. You’re paying taxes to support “public education.” Also, it wouldn’t do much good, since most private schools follow the same curriculum and the same crazy ideas as public school.
What I’m suggesting is that public school be abolished and that, for a transitional period, parents be given vouchers to set up education for their children. This could be co-ops or hiring tutors. It could be public schools, or it could be one-room schools where the kids make use of available internet learning opportunities with a dozen kids and a supervising teacher hired by you and a few a few friends.
Am I crazy? Most of those kids will emerge illiterate.
Which, of course, makes it different from how they emerge from K-12 today, right? Oh, this fact is masked by statistical nonsense and such a lowering of standards that my pets could get a high school diploma. Any of us who have had contact with college freshmen (and some seniors) know better, though. We know that most of them are unable to interpret a simple text or produce a readable sentence. And no, it’s not the kids’ fault. I sent my sons to school reading and writing and had to fight over the next twelve years for them to remain so. From “guessing at words” to “there is no wrong grammar,” sometimes I felt I was fighting the school tooth and nail so the boys would remain literate.
“But, Sarah, even so, if we abolish public school, what about all the kids whose parents simply don’t care enough to arrange education for them?”
You know, there are instruments for assuring kids are taught that are easier than our absolutely ridiculous 12-year prison sentence passed on slow learners, fast learners, uninterested and interested students alike.
We could, for instance, have yearly exams that kids 6 through 18 have to pass, and if the kids don’t show up or don’t pass, the parents are as liable as they are for truancy today. (Which means nominally at least.)
We could even set it up so the kids can pick the level of exam they want to take, and that if they pass the 12th-grade exam at a functional level, they are exempt from more schooling.
Yes, I know, if you had to find a school to teach your kids right now, you’d be completely stumped. But convenient isn’t the same as adequate, and just dropping them off at the local illiterate-factory isn’t the same as giving them an education or caring for them.
If public schools vanished tomorrow, alternatives would proliferate, particularly if there were a transitional voucher program and the parents had money to burn.
Want your kids to go to ye little red schoolhouse? Fine. Just remember the national exam might not accept “Putin” as the answer to the 2016 elections. Want your kids to learn pipe fitting, along with Wreathing Writhing and Rythmateec? I’m sure some half-time apprenticeship will pop up. Are you, like me, a fossil, and would you like your kids to leave elementary with a working knowledge of Greek, Latin, and geometry? There will be a schoolhouse around the corner that offers that, either in person or via computer programs.
We live in an age where, thanks to computers, anyone can learn anything anywhere, and most schoolhouses, in fact, would only need someone to watch and keep discipline.
We live in an age where we have less and less need of a “mass produced” populace that knows how to read enough for instructions, and how to write enough to fill a form.
We have need of highly educated people, yes, but most of all we have need of highly specialized people. No, I don’t believe that in the future there will be a need ONLY for technical experts, and people who can program the robots.
As long as humans are human we’ll need people who, along with basic competence in communication and cyphering, can do everything, from equestrian care to specialized embroidery, to pipe fitting, to carpentry, to surgery.
Yes, those quaint crafts have been sort of superseded by technology. Sort of. If they were fully superseded there would be no demand for artisanal, handmade, individual goods. Also, I could get plumbers and electricians without waiting for weeks and without paying a small fortune per service call.
Our best call for educating our kids is to teach them as much as they will learn and equip them with every possible skill that might be needed.
Public schools are huge, slow, expensive, and inefficient at everything except indoctrination. (Not really efficient at that too, since they’ve been at it for forty years, and we still have conservatives and libertarians. But the indoctrination sticks for a few years.) They’re failing at the most basic of tasks. And they’re such hell on Earth for everyone who deviates from the median, that we have more massacres in schools than anyone else.
Also, regardless of what you’ve been told, the Constitution doesn’t guarantee, ensure, or in fact say anything about public schooling. The founding fathers treated it as a private matter.
And so should we all.
Let’s stop school massacres. Abolish public schools.