Saturday, February 18, 2006

Public schools as a socializing institution

I often hear parents say that home schooling deprives children of the "socializing" that is necessary to fit into the wider society at large. When I ask what in specific they think is the most important "socializing" lesson taught by attendance at government schools they will often say learning to get along with kids of different social classes and ethnic backgrounds. I find this argument empty of meaning and a silly piece of popular middle-class folklore.

The obvious truth is that a firmer bond between parents and their young has always been the best lesson in social functionality. To surrender your child to a huge and impersonal government bureaucracy for the sake of social assimilation is a really ridiculous position to take. Most wish to ignore the obvious dangers inherent in transporting young children twice daily (several kids have been killed in Utah, in the past few weeks alone, just going to and from school) and then leaving your child essentially alone in what are often dangerous and un-protected circumstances. There is also no real need for me to hammer home another obvious truth, yet again, but I will, that the very people certified to teach and supervise these students occupy some of the very lowest rungs on the intellectual ladder. In short it is dangerous, expensive and it sucks at educating free minds to boot.

Anyway I'm here to tell you that public school was one big nightmare for me. I was picked on from the beginning. I got no support from the school system over this, ever, because, just like in a prison, bullies serve a useful purpose in captive populations. They help the overall system keep order by breaking the will of those wishing to retain their unique individuality. Many of my life heroes endured this same torment, most especially Frank Zappa; whose biography reveals that public school was a real living hell for him. I was beat-up, extorted, spit on, stolen from, named called and generally shunned by the reigning cliques of jocks, rah-rahs and other ordained "winners" of the public education system I was forced to attend from 1966-78.

A funny thing happened once I graduated from high school, you’ll never believe it, but I found out that the world was not at all like public school. You see, I was never spit upon at Santa Monica College, nor was I ever beaten up at the University of Georgia. At one point I lived in an extremely dangerous section of Venice, CA in my early 20’s and never once did anything happen to me, personally, that could compare with the abuse I encountered as a school kid. In fact, I have never again experienced any of the heinous acts perpetrated upon me during my mandatory sentence of 12 years in the schoolyard brig.

No one has cursed me (except for an occasional girlfriend), extorted my money, called me a faggot, kicked me or hocked a lugie in my face. In fact my life has seen a considerable and steady improvement in social standards since I left the public schools for good some 28 years ago.

So in short, don't you believe it for a minute. This is NOT a good way to socialize kids. For a prison camp maybe, but as preparation for the free life of the individual----never! Besides, what other animal turns over the training of its young to total strangers? Think about it.

Let's hear it for the home schoolers! GOD BLESS 'EM ALL!


Devastatin' Dave said...

"Don't let schooling get in way of your education."

- Mark Twain

Anonymous said...

David, I could not agree with you more. You expressed this with passion and power. The average public school survivor, whose experience was, probably, more or less tolerable, may not share your passion, but those of us who knew hell in k-12 thank you for a piece well spoken. Steve D.