I heard a report on the radio today about teens in Cape Breton skipping school. The focus of the story, and this article on the same subject, seems to be finding ways to force kids back into their seats.
Articles like this truly leave me stunned at how brainwashed our society is when it comes to schooling. First of all, not a single person has suggested that the reason kids don’t want to go to school is because they hate it. Survey any class of grade-schoolers and ask them if they had a choice would they go to school and you’ll find most say “no”. Ever notice the collective joy on 1) the last day of school, 2) a snow day, and 3) a teachers’ strike?
But no, instead of trying to fix our education system so that all kids can feel challenged, stimulated, included, and in some control over their own learning we’d rather come up with punishments and consequences. Have these people never heard the expression “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.”? Apparently forcing somebody’s ass into a desk chair = educating them. Are they actually learning if they don’t want to be there but are being forced to? I think not.
But nobody asks that. Nobody asks whether counting the number of bums in seats is an accurate indicator of how many are being “educated”. The principle of one Cape Breton school calls this “the biggest thorn in his side”. Huh, I don’t suppose that has to do with the fact that your Ministry of Education funds students (i.e. gives money to the school) based on attendance…?
I feel truly sorry for these teens. They are in the prime of their lives and they are forced to live the sort of 9-5 hell that many working adults get stuck in without realizing it until it’s too late. Life is too short to be doing that from cradle to grave.
The rhetoric coming out in this story is just tragic. It’s all “this is for your own good, like it or not” and “life is hard and you can’t just not show up for work” etc. Nobody cares that the kids hate school. What are we doing to our youth? How many of us, in our middle years, look back on wasted time and regrets. These poor kids are pissing half their lives away in a classroom that provides nothing for them. And our society is forcing them back in there rather than listening to anything they might have to say about why they don’t want to go. We don’t care. We’ve already decided it’s for their own good and we assume they are too immature and unmotivated to have an opinion.
Thank God my teens will not have to deal with that.