The lessons kids learn in school that aren’t part of the official curriculum are the most powerful lessons taught in these institutions. John Taylor Gatto wrote about the unofficial lessons he taught in school.
Today I have one to add to his list.
Respect can be achieved through the purchase and acquisition of status symbols.
Let me explain.
I work with a guy who has two teenage boys in a large suburban public high school. Parking in the school lot is by permit only and costs $180.00 per year.
However, students can park in the lot across street for free but few do.
Student culture has labeled the free lot the “loser” lot.
I would think that the intelligent kids, the entrepreneurial kids, and the healthy kids, would park in the free lot. It’s good exercise to walk a hundred yards more to school and you’ll save almost $200 a year. Why would you throw your money away?
Simple, kids believe having a parking permit makes them a ‘winner.’ Why? They, or more importantly, their parents, can afford to throw money away on a piece of paper. Only ‘losers’ can’t or won’t spend money on a piece of paper that gives them membership in a herd. The parking permit isn’t a parking permit at all, it is a social status symbol and a subtle symbol of conformity.