#1: Public Schools Kill Creativity

Children are enormously creative. Whether in dance, music, art, science, or any other field, when a child’s individual creativity is fostered, the child flourishes.Public schools slowly drain away a child’s inborn creativity through mind-numbing routines and by forcing him or her to plod endlessly through 12 years of mostly irrelevant data. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch Sir Ken Robinson in the most viewed TED talk ever given entitled, Do Schools Kill Creativity? Serious parents pay attention.

#2: In Public School, Your Child Is Never Unique

Parents already know their child is not like any other individual on the planet. Every person is unique. However, the cost of educating a child (around $10,000 per student per year) forces public schools to operate efficiently. Efficiency requires standardization. Standardization requires rigid routines, a fixed curriculum for all children in the same age/grade, rigid rules of conduct, and an inflexible criterion for judging the placement of children in relation to their classmates (called testing). In other words, in public school, children are treated as “generic” human beings and ranked according to how they arrange themselves academically and behaviorally among their same-age mates. Of course, this denies the existence of individual uniqueness, but public schools simply cannot afford to foster individuality. In fact, because individuality often expresses itself in inappropriate ways (i.e. questioning authority), it is not unusual for the more creative child to be treated with contempt.

#3: In Public School, Peers Will Raise Your Children

An old saying goes, “Children become like the people with whom they spend most of their time.” Is it any wonder, then, that children are acculturated by their peers rather than by those who actually have life experiences (adults)? Many of the issues young people face today—from the most basic decisions of right and wrong to issues about sex—are answered for them by those who have the least amount of life experiences—their classmates.

#4: In Public School, the EOC Rules Supreme

In the next few weeks, millions of public schooled students will take their EOC’s (End of Course exams).

On the wall of most public school classrooms is a chart listing what your State’s School Board has decided students must be taught during the semester in order to be prepared to take their upcoming EOC’s. Even though your student’s teachers are supposed to be experts in the subjects they teach—and even though your student’s teachers have spent years learning how to teach their subjects—your student’s teachers have no choice but to work through The Chart in order for their students to be prepared to do well on the only truly important test they will take all year. Teachers are not told the kind of questions their students will face on the EOC even though the questions were written last year (before the school year began).

At the beginning of each school year, teachers are handed a Teacher’s Textbook which may or may not contain information adequate to prepare their students for the questions they will face on the EOC. In every class, some students will fall behind during the year due to vacations, illness, or simply because the student did not grasp one of the concepts on The Chart. When this happens, it is difficult for the student to catch up as The Chart must be worked through by the time of the EOC.

Most important to the teacher is their annual evaluation which is based mainly on how well, or how poorly, their students do on the EOC. Teacher evaluations are meant to weed out poorly performing teachers. What they also do is put the best teachers at risk of losing their jobs, or of being punished, should they believe they know better what students should learn than what The Chart tells them to teach.

#5: Public Schools Teach Students to Fear Failure

Today’s public schooled students will do almost anything to avoid failing and this includes copying homework and cheating on quizzes and tests. I have actually been told by public school’s “better” students that cheating is the necessary cost of keeping a high grade point average as they look toward future college entrance.

The main problem with public schools putting pressure on students to avoid failure is that children grow up believing that failure is something bad, something to be avoided at all cost. After 12 years of avoiding failure in school, young people enter adulthood making decisions based on whether or not that decision will put them into a “safe” place. Adults who only make “safe” decisions will look for employment that carries no risks.

Adults who see failure as something bad do not become entrepreneurs because it is possible to fail as an entrepreneur. However, in truth, most successful entrepreneurs readily admit they have already failed, perhaps several times, but that their failures ended up being their greatest teachers.

Homeschooled students never have to fail so they do not face the same kind of pressures they would face in public school. Once parents decide something is important enough for their child to learn, the child simply continues with that subject until mastery is achieved. No failure and no fear of failure. A lack of the fear of failure is one reason it is so easy for homeschooled children to grow up and become entrepreneurs.

#6: Public Schools Punish Collaboration

In all sorts of ways, public schooled students are taught that helping one another succeed is against the rules. They even give it a name: cheating. Students learn early on that their personal success or failure is strictly an individual effort. However, in real life, we do not succeed without having learned the value of—and the best ways to go about—collaborating with others. Today’s world has become so interconnected, learning the value of mutual give-and-take is a skill public schools actually punish rather than reward.

#7: Public School Wastes Too Much of Your Child’s Life

The most astute public schooled students intuitively understand that much of what they are required to learn is information they will forget after they take the test, information they will never use, and/or information they could easily learn if (and when) they will actually need to know it.

Students are not allowed to ask the all-important question, “Why do I have to learn this stuff?” because too many teachers know they are forcing their students to learn what the Teacher’s Syllabus dictates must be taught even though the teacher knows the majority of their students will grow up not needing what they are being required to learn.

There are only so many hours in a day and young people are being required to spend those hours on subjects and projects that are less important than what interests the student and which do not actually prepare the student to take the specific path he will ultimately take as an adult.

Homeschooling parents could help their students dramatically if they only gave consideration to the subjects they, themselves, were forced to learn but which they knew then—and know now—were a waste of their time and refuse to require their own students to take those subjects. Homeschooling parents ask the questions, “Is this curriculum a good one for me to use with my children?” or, “Will my child actually like using this curriculum?”

What homeschooling parents need to ask is, “Is this subject important enough that my students needs to master it?” If it is not important enough to master, have your students learn subjects that are and stop wasting their time!

#8: Public Schools Foster Early Sexuality

As a current substitute teacher in high school, I am amazed at how much sexual interaction occurs among students in public schools.

Today, virtually all humor among students is sexual humor. Girls speak openly of their sexuality, speak openly about their bodies and bodily functions, and openly poke fun at boys who don’t understand their sexual innuendos.

Boys talk about things once heard only in locker rooms while girls listen and laugh at the boys’ raunchiness. Everyone knows the vocabulary; everyone knows the gestures; many use both. It would be fair to say that public schooled students expect one another to be sexually aware if not sexually experienced.

Because parents grew up in a different time, they don’t realize how much pressure their children face to be part of the sexual culture that is today’s public schools.

#9: Public Schools Prioritize Testing Over Learning

Students are not the only ones being graded in public school. Today’s teachers may be given bonuses or they may be terminated depending upon how their students score on year-end standardized tests. Because of the pressure to maintain job security, teachers cannot afford for their students to do poorly on tests and, therefore, teachers must faithfully follow the state approved Teacher’s Text (from which the test questions are derived) even if the teacher believes he or she has a better idea of what students really need to know than does the Teacher’s Text. Priorities have changed from students learning what a teacher deems important to teachers trying their best to prepare students for tests and, thereby, remain employed.

#10: Public Schools Are Factories

In the mid-1800’s, a massive change began sweeping North America and Europe, one in which industry began replacing farming as the main source of work for countries capable of building factories to satisfy the growing demand for cheap, mass-produced goods.

Demand for more and more cheap goods led to the demand for more and more workers to produce those goods. The reality that a factory worker was a different kind of worker than the kind of worker our nation had always raised—one who lived by what his land produced or by his craft—was a concept not lost on those who viewed the future through a lens of education, of how the nation’s future workers should be prepared to fit into this New World.

America had already been rising in prominence among the world’s nations and, in order to maintain her ascendancy in this fast-approaching Industrial Age, America’s educational Prophets determined that a new kind of educational system must be created to prepare a new generation of employable young people. They looked for a model that would produce this new kind of worker. They found it in, of all places, Prussia.

Historians call it the Prussian Experiment (Google this, if interested). The Prussian goal was to create an educational system that would wean its youth from the influences of home and church which had, for generations, fostered a spirit of independent thinking. American educators saw that the Prussians, through their system of requiring children to leave home and attend “gymnasia” (government run schools) for 12 years, by grouping children in rooms by age, by using rote methods to learn only the government’s “common” curricula, succeeded in creating, in only one generation, a populace capable of following whatever directions their superiors required. America’s educators flocked to Prussia to learn this system.

Back in America, it was not easy to get laws passed requiring everyone’s children to leave their homes to attend government schools. America was already the most literate nation in the world because Americans prized education and, having just gone through a war of independence, parents raised their children on the belief that family, church, and independence were an individual’s highest values. But, it was these very values which forward-thinking educators saw as hindrances to the future of the nation’s ongoing industrial development and they relentlessly evangelized their state legislators until, one by one, these legislators “saw the light” and passed their state’s Compulsory Attendance Laws. Children were now required, by law, to spend most of their days somewhere other than at home. At that moment, America’s education began a steady decline. [Note: These Compulsory Attendance Laws caused homeschooling, in its inception, to be regarded as illegal because it was illegal to not send one’s children to a government-approved school. This is still the case as most states have tucked homeschooling under its umbrella along with private school, Christian school, and certain religious schools, which still must, in various ways, be approved by the State, a State which will never relinquish its oversight of the education of children].

America’s public schools are the great-great grandchildren of the Prussian Experiment. In contemporary America, schools turn out Employees and the only independence allowed a student is to decide which factory (occupation) he or she wants to be prepared to work for.

Why is it that wealthy families and many politicians do not send their children to public school? It is because thinking adults understand what public schools, with their rote instruction of common curricula, do not educate students into being capable of independent or entrepreneurial thinking. These parents turn their backs on “common schools” because they want their children to at least have the opportunity to become something other than factory workers.

Family Christian Academy has permission to use this article By Chris Davis (Founder of www.homeschoolingwisdom.com)