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comment by jleopold
jleopold  ·  1803 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us

    It doesn't have to be, does it?

Actually, with anything close to the current set-up, I would say yes. Or, maybe I'd have to flip that around a bit to say that the current set-up works best for indoctrination. Which makes sense. The bare basics of how public (and most private schools) work goes back over 100 years, which is a huge problem in and of itself. One of the earliest countries to institute public education was Bismarck's newly formed Germany in the 1860s and 1870s. The express purpose was indoctrination, to help create a single national German identity out of the myriad of small countries absorbed by Prussia in the unification. Other countries, including the US, followed. The system started for indoctrination, and has a very nice by product of creating a more productive nation as well.

We can also look at some specific policies that would need to be completely reversed.

Truancy makes no sense if public education were really for education. Being in a classroom doesn't make you learn. In fact, having kids who don't want to be there in a classroom often ends up hindering the learning of those who do want to be there. What making kids show up does work for is indoctrination, as they then must interact with others and are exposed to the ideas, even if they don't learn it.

Other parts of the system, like required classes, grades, and standardized testing plays into it too. By requiring certain classes, especially in the humanities, schools help to expose students to ways of thought and ideas that are in line with society, and creates a common language for citizens to work with. By tying in grades to future success, the education system makes working within the system absolutely essential. Standardized testing works the same, but at much higher stakes.

For all of that, I don't think the indoctrination is all that bad. It isn't necessarily indoctrination into a specific way of thinking (or at least, in many schools, and ideally, it isn't). The indoctrination is in how to function in society. I have some cousins who are homeschooled, and interacting with them can be frustrating and tiring because they just miss things like social cues, or manners, or standard forms of interaction because they don't interact with a large number of people daily. Seeing kids transition from being homeschooled to attending public school can be interesting as well, because they just don't really get how wider society works. They also tend to be less independent from their parents, which creates other problems in interactions. kleinbl00, I gotta warn you too, private school kids can be almost as bad. Private schools can be very homogenous, and so I've seen a lot of kids struggle with having to interact with people who they don't have as many shared experiences with—kids from different social classes, or races, or even just different parts of the city. So, since you're set on private school for your daughter, make sure she has some other social outlets, like a sports team or church group or Girl Scouts or summer camp or debate team or something. The kids I know who have transitioned best from homeschool or private school to public school, or even just to society at large, have been those who gained part of the social indoctrination they missed out on from other activities.





kleinbl00  ·  1803 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    kleinbl00, I gotta warn you too, private school kids can be almost as bad. Private schools can be very homogenous, and so I've seen a lot of kids struggle with having to interact with people who they don't have as many shared experiences with—kids from different social classes, or races, or even just different parts of the city.

Of this I have no doubt. My interests are purely machiavellian - having observed the social curve that the private school kids are on vs. the social curve the public school kids are on, even the trailer-trash scholarship kids from Lakeside are kickin' ass over the Valedictorians.

'cuz here's the thing: we make much of all this multicultural, get-along-with-everybody bullshit and having grown up on the wrong side of the tracks, and having been friends with all those kids, I can say with no quaver in my voice that the culturally insensitive Buffy and Chip WASP twins with their tennis lessons and French tutors?

Yeah, they rule the world. And those of us who knew how to get into the hispanic parties? We get to watch.

I'ma let that kid do whatever she wants socialization-wise. But academia? Eyes on the prize.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  1803 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Your usage of indoctrination in a neutral context bothered me, so I checked Wikipedia. It turned out that socialization is the positive term referring exactly to what you note important in the modern schools, while indoctrination is seen as a negative activity. This is not to attack your point in any way - only to clear the air about the terminology.

    By requiring certain classes, especially in the humanities, schools help to expose students to ways of thought and ideas that are in line with society

This is, sadly, what it may come down to in hands of a less than benevolent government. One might argue that exposition to, say, philosophy classes might broaden a student's perspective and perception of the world, which might lead to a more thoughtful living, and the more people life thoughtfully - regarding their impact on Earth, the society, the culture, the people around them etc. - the better society is, overall. Philosophy is, very basically, a set of ideas about the world, and finding one's best set is an important goal, if only because it allows one to understand their way of living better, which leads to more informed - which often means "better" - choices.

I agree with you on that socialization is very important for a child, and it would take extra effort to find a source of it while being homeschooled, while attending a school gives you that for free. I also agree on that schools - public schools, at least - often provide a heterogenous environment in which a child will learn a lot more about how the world works than if they attended a homogenous, thinly-representing environment.

However, speaking from experience, I'll say that schools don't always provide the socialization one needs or could use most, if at all. I had practically zero social skills before I was... what, 20? Helicopter parenting didn't help, nor did the low culture that so often comes with low income (many kids, including those in my class, were from the poorer neighbourhood across the road from my house). I had barely any socialization with my classmates due to various factors (including the sheer vast divide in interests, level of curiosity and intelligence between most of us), and because I was very socially anxious, I wouldn't attend any extra groups or events.

My point being - different people require different attitudes. I didn't need encouragement to learn all the stuff they've been giving me - I were already soaking it in like a sponge and doing most well on the tests - what I needed was encouragement and information on how to deal with people, and there was no one to give me that. It only started to pile up - discombobulatingly quickly and stressfully - after the first uni try, after a few failed relationships and dealing with people in a different, non-forced way. I'm still nowhere near the level that seems to be expected of me, socially, and I'm not sure I'll ever be because of the vicious circle of social interactions: me being anxious leads to less interactions leads to more anxiety and no gain in skills leads to... Perhaps, then, school is not the only way to socialize, no matter the scale.

kleinbl00  ·  1803 days ago  ·  link  ·  

1) Indoctrination is the correct term. Socialization is incorrect.

2) There is no such thing as a benevolent government.

3) There is no one here who has not had at least some experience with "school." Whatever you may think of the socialization you experienced, you would have experienced less as a homeschooler. Even the homeschooled among us know what they are and are not getting.

4) What people do and do not require is important to you, and not at all important to that non-benevolent government that is indoctrinating, not socializing.

This is not a system designed to pamper the disadvantaged. It is designed to reward those who adapt to its structures most easily. That it does not work for you indicates that you need to work harder, not that the system must change.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  1803 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm going to need you to elaborate on all five points.