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I Feel Sorry for Kids In School. Every. Single. One.

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I Feel Sorry for Kids In School. Every. Single. One.

By Linda Dobson

kids in schoolI check education news every morning. I know good news is rare. I know some days are worse than others. And there are some days when the news breaks my heart. Today was one of those days.

I feel sorry for kids in school. Every. Single. One. For so many reasons I’ve lost count, so the following isn’t an all-inclusive list. Rather, it’s a list about the crux of the problem. I hope parents will use the list to check and see what may be/is going on in their children’s lives, as the children may be so numb as to not recognize what’s happening and therefore not share with parents the detrimental practices and attitudes that permeate their lives.

Why I Feel Sorry for Kids In School (Today: The List Is Always Subject to Change)

  • A Pervasive Lack of Respect for Children: Kids in school walk through metal detectors on the way in, know there is a police force presence on campus, and get arrested for violations – real or imagined – of school rules. A school “outlaws” footballs, soccer balls, tennis balls, every kind except Nerf during recess because a parent got hit in the head with one. At least those kids still have recess; does yours? Can your child go to the bathroom when necessary? Kids in one school are only supposed to go three times a week in a “No Pissing Contest” for sticker and pencil prizes. What about a school that makes students create a blog (even if writing, spelling and grammar are not student’s strong points), then uses said blog to publicly humiliate the student?
  • Bullying: Please, don’t make me look up all of the stories I’ve read of heartache – and suicide – of children for whom daily school attendance is sheer psychological and mental torture.
  • Poor health: We know children suffer a plethora of health ills, from shared lice and flu bugs to environmental allergies to poor nutrition (unless you really do count pizza and ketchup as vegetables). Please read 12 Health Benefits of Homeschooling for a comparison. And, oh, how my heart goes out to the twelve teenage girls in upstate New York suffering a mystery illness no one seems able to stop. Besides Tourette’s Syndrome-like tics, “Her mother, Melisa Philips added, ‘She also now has daily blackouts and seizures … not like epilepsy seizures, but where she’s somewhat lucid and can feel her body being rigid and it’s almost like she’s a stone statue. And she can’t move and she’s very weak and tired, and so, it just continually seems to get new symptoms.’” How long will this remain “a mystery” for these kids in school?
  • Not receiving a real education: Why do we want kids in school? Theoretically, it’s so they can receive an education. There are just too many locations where that isn’t happening, parents. You need to find out if your child can read, write, and think. (See “Bringing Home the Child Who Doesn’t Know As Much As You Thought She Knew.” In an article called “Where the Rubber Meets the Road,” Richard Steinberg writes about his year in a “typical urban” public high school: 

A High School Teacher’s Take on Kids In School

It was a great struggle getting my students to think, problem solve, or even turn in homework. I gave everyone more and more time, more and more chances, and more and more help. I made the homework easier and easier, more like the “fill in the blank” type that they were used to. In other words I pandered. I lowered academic standards. Eventually, partly in frustration and partly to make a point, I decided to include the following question (verbatim) as one of the problems: A car moves with a constant velocity of 9.5 m/s. What is the velocity of the car? To Lakeeta, school meant being told what she had to know. It meant being given the explicit terminology and procedures needed to answer questions, regardless of understanding. Lakeeta was able to do much of her homework this way, but she sought me out for this problem about the car. “I could not do this one because I do not know which formula to use.” Lakeeta solved her homework problems with strategies that I saw my college physics students use. Which formula had matching symbols? Which of the problems in the book had comparable surface features? Lakeeta’s struggle with the car question was not a quirk or an exception. It was a representative outcome of the way students approached school. Lakeeta was not alone. Tommy was asked how far a car with initial speed of 16m/s goes in 4 seconds. After some ill-advised calculations he answered “24 seconds.” George demanded that I show him how to convert 35 grams to kilograms because the examples that I showed with 45g and 173g were different. Working together, Lisaura and Lisa averaged 36 and 38 and got 57. They wrote this in their lab book and moved on without the slightest concern. Students used their calculators to multiply a number by one. They were unfazed when a calculation of the temperature of water yielded a value bigger than that of the sun.

Will lengthening compulsory attendance, keeping these kids in school for a little longer, fix these problems? No. Such an act merely keeps them away from true learning in the real world even longer.

Finally, an over-arching effect on kids in school occurs on top of one or all of the outlined problems. It was well articulated by John Taylor Gatto, New York State  Teacher of the Year and author of The Underground History of American Education. (Free online.) “Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents…”

I feel sorry for kids in school. Every. Single. One. And their parents, too.

Thanks for reading my vent. Anybody have a tissue?




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3 Responses to “I Feel Sorry for Kids In School. Every. Single. One.”

  1. Cristina says:

    I can’t tell you how panicked I felt about the thought of changing the compulsory age to 18. I thought of the consequences of such a decision in my highly regulated state. Would I have to report my children until they were eighteen or until I could prove I had them in a GED program? Would they change the age that you would be allowed to obtain the GED?

    Perhaps we shouldn’t even stop there. Since we have been told that you need at least a college degree to do anything now, perhaps we should make a bachelor’s degree compulsory as well. Obviously the assumption is that anyone who drops out of school is a screw-up ne’er-do-well.

    What purpose would this age extension serve except to create more paperwork for an already overburdened system that is so buried in bureaucracy it can’t even afford itself anymore?

    End of rant.
    Peace and Laughter!

  2. I feel the same way. Every single day, too. And so, so blessed that my kids do not have to go through that. I used to be a public school teachers. I can’t count the times when kids would say,” Just give me the right answer.” It was never about figuring things out on their own.

  3. […] Dobson presents I Feel Sorry for Kids In School. Every. Single. One. posted at PARENT AT THE HELM. Some sobering facts about the public schools and […]

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