Americans have been undergoing a systematic process of educational brainwashing. We have all been led to believe that we must give up our intellectual life to assembly line education. Formal education has become an industry that supports textbook companies, test writers, psychiatrists, nutritionists, other aspects of the food industry, the legal profession, the police, the courts, all employees of the courts, municipalities through the fines collected by the courts, the training professions and many other things.
I am reminded of the military industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us about so many years ago. I now say to you beware of the education industrial complex that impacts every aspect of our children’s existence. Schools now outsource what used to be counseling, teaching and discipline to the police and the courts. Whole industries, bodies of law and regulations are being built on the backs of our children. Americans, indeed, have been convinced that on the education industrial complex can educate their children.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The time has come to take back control of your own or your child’s educational development. Americans have bought into the propaganda that would have us all believe that learning is hard. And, Americans have been trained to believe that the only people who can teach kids are certified teachers; members of the education industrial complex. On the contrary, learning is natural, easy, and cannot be avoided.
We are well and truly brainwashed. Eric Weiner tells a story in his brilliant book “The Geography of Bliss”. The story concerns and experiment in which a dog was placed in a cage. First, One side of the cage was set up to deliver an electric shock. The dog would then go to the other side of the cage where it found safety. Then the dog was put in a cage where he would be shocked by both ends of the cage. Weiner tells us that the dog was returned to the cage where he could not escape the shock but there was a low fence which provided escape to a completely safe cage. The poor dog did nothing. While there was safety on the other side of the cage the dog could not comprehend it. Americans, the most independent creative people on the planet, have accepted their educational fate and that of their children.
The safe ground of independent learning is over that low fence. But we have been so brainwashed that Americans have come to think that there is no hope so they stay in losing situtations and appallingly bad schools.
The time has come for a new “manifesto of education against the education industrial complex.” And so we begin stating the Manifesto.
Formal instruction is not the best way to learn. Children in school are held to the pace mandated by the school district whether they are ahead, behind, or right on track. The fact is that we learn best when we are developmentally ready to learn. The child who learns to do long division at eight and the the child who learns long division at twelve are equally skilled at the age of fifteen. But the one who learns at twelve is often labeled learning disabled or slow. That label sticks with the kid. The kid even believes it. The label then defines the child instead of the actions of the child providing the defining characteristics of the child.
Age means nothing when it comes to learning. Never believe that there is a single right age to begin learning any particular subject or skill. Nothing matters less than if a skill is learned at ten or fifteen. The end result is the same. But there are children who need to start later at something than they could if they were in school. Nothing is wrong with them. But, the education industrial complex will tell them something is wrong with them. They will receive the latest label so the school can get a bit more money for that category.