A recent reader comment provided an opportunity to share a few thoughts that have been bouncing around my head:
If you hate America and everything it stands for, shown by half your blogs, why don’t you just move to another country? It’s that freaking simple. I despise nothing more than people who complain about everything in America, yet refuse to do anything about it but complain on a blog. – Alex
Alex, I love America and that is why I question our leaders, institutions, and policies, because I believe in constant and never-ending improvement. America is far from perfect.
In regards to doing something… blogging, writing, questioning, and provoking thought is doing something. Change happens one person at a time. If you have an unpopular opinion, it is a good sign you are thinking for yourself and expressing that opinion is the epitome of what America stands for (well… should stand for).
I am assuming you will delete this comment as soon as you find it, but that’s fine with me. I just want to get my message across to you: If you don’t like America, that’s fine. But how about instead of bitching about it, just leave. That’s easy enough, isn’t it? Just leave. – Alex
I never delete comments because a commenter disagrees. Check out the atheists blasting me for this post. I only delete comments that are offensive or threatening.
Do I point out flaws? Sure, that’s how you improve something, be it a product, service, a system, or ourselves. For example, I am grateful to work for the company I work for, but I constantly look for opportunities to improve the company. In order to improve we must identify opportunities for improvement, which manifest themselves as problems. Free and open criticism is critical to healthy growth. In America, most of our problems are not due to hyper-criticism but due to myopia. If we stop questioning authority, we stop improving. America’s founders created this country by questioning and rebelling against authority.
Can you please explain to me how schools teach us to think destructive thoughts? I’m currently in school, and that is most definitely not the case. – Alex
Schools teach us to fear authority, which leads to authoritarian mindsets, loss of personal resposibility, and loss of self-control.
Mass compulsory schooling instills group think, cliquing, blind obedience, racism, and the emotional destruction of those that don’t or won’t fit in. If you want to understand what our school system teaches, read the Seven Lesson School Teacher and if that piques your interest read the Underground History of American Education.
Billionaires like Bill Gates are trying reform education by calling for stricter standardized curriculum, longer schooldays, longer school years, and merit pay for teachers. But this is just more “one-size-fits-all” thinking. Instead, we need the freedom to choose our own curriculum, the length of our school day, the length of our school year, and the teachers we want teaching our children. We don’t need dictates from Bill Gates or anyone else via government proxy.
In regards to Mr. Gates’ ideas…Why did we decide to emulate the Japanese model of education instead of the Swedish model? Why can’t we be free to choose? Why all or nothing?
So basically, because you were a failure in school as a teenager your (sic) blaming the whole public school system? You blame the public school system because you were a burned-out druggie and your wife had no friends? It’s not the schools responsibility to get you friends, I’m sorry. – Alex
Alex, I’m sorry to tell you that our stories are mild. For some students the results are far worse. And yes, I do think the institution is to blame. These problems are non-existent in homeschooled teenagers.
The problem with mass compulsory schooling is not the students, parents, administration, or teachers. The problem is the institution itself – it drives people crazy. Mass government mandated institutionalization always leads to abuse. Some people believe that we can just tweak a rule, increase funding, or change the standards and make the existing system work. I used to be one of those people, but today I don’t believe we can reform it. We must revolutionize it. And the best way to revolutionize education is to drop out of the existing system and create a new one. That’s what I have chosen to do. (I want to be very clear here… I am not advocating that kids drop out of school. I am advocating that their parents pull them out of government schools and in the process revolutionize education.)
I know dozens of people that were bright, happy, inquisitive children full of potential and were emotionally, physically, and mentally destroyed by mass schooling and they’ve spent decades rebuilding themselves. I’m one of them.
There are powerful people, who believe that success in school should be required for success in life, so they deny poor students opportunities. This exclusion is simple prejudice and like all prejudice, it damages everyone. But what is even more destructive is the millions of young people that believe (the lie) that they are doomed to “shit jobs” because school wasn’t a good fit for them.
Alex, it saddens me to see such a young man adopt the “love it or leave it” mind set that was so prominent in older authoritarians during the 1960s. But, regardless, I wish you the best in all that you do and I hope you realize your dreams.
On a positive note… many young people visit this site and are doing well in government school, but they see how the institution damages many of their fellow students. This comment from Kristin reminded me why I need to keep blogging.
I want to say thank you.
As a public high school student (soon to be a public high school graduate), I was first drawn to your post on America’s school system. Even though I am (apparently) one of those who excel in such a setting, everything you said is so true that I have passed many of your posts on my friends who have been encouraged by your words.
I am a regular reader even though this is the first time I have commented. You blog about both the way I live my life and the way I wish to live my life. I am strengthened and inspired by your knowledge and insight.
I know that my peers and I are disillusioned about the state of our country and hope that we can be the generation that changes things. We are sick of hearing from our parents and “authority figures” that we are being too idealistic when we express a desire for change and fuller lives. And we are tired of being told that we are “the most depraved generation to date” while nobody mentions our potential to be the most expressive generation or the most influential.
I know some very talented and motivated people with the ability and drive to change this country and this world. And my peers and I as a whole are disgusted with this country and lack the blind patriotism that has been the downfall of so many empires throughout history.
Thank you for being someone who is willing to write about the things nobody else will admit. And thank you for having more faith in my generation than the entire sum of our parents and teachers.
Thank you for the comment. I can’t express in words how good your comment made me feel. To have faith in young people is to have faith in our future, so I believe it would be foolish to have anything but faith in you. You will create the future no matter what you believe, so why not believe you can create the greatest future possible.