If you read Thomas Moore’s UTOPIA you might be surprised to learn that his conception of the ideal world, when it comes to child-rearing, was to have the state remove children from their parents at a very young age so that the state could turn them into what was needed. That is, educate them according to the needs of the “master plan”. This would likely strike most parents as odd and certainly unsavory- peculiar for a “perfect world” .
Moore got his ideas from Plato, who argued for just the same sort of setup: the state knows best and parental bonds should be broken- best if you don’t even know which child was yours. You just produce them so that society ash the raw material to do what needs to be done. Very much a factory model when you think of it: churning out “goods”.
While no culture ever explicitly adopted this approach overly, one has to wonder how much we’ve adopted it indirectly. Where did the idea that the state should control your child’s education come from? Central control and planning? There is plenty of research today to suggest that with greater local control (at the school level) comes greater educational outcomes.
Take this the next step and you get the “school choice” movement. We’re slowly making our way down this road with home schooling, more private/independent schools, magnet schools, charter schools, etc. As one commenter (Czako) to this blog said recently, “I strongly believe that it is ultimately the parent who has responsibility for their child’s education and growth…not the school system….It is parents that need to encourage determination, self discipline, self awareness, etc. It is only if the parent does this can the child be successful. This is done by being involved with your kids, leading by example, and encouraging these behaviors.”
We need the legions of parents out there to step up more and more and demand that schools adapt to what science knows to be best. We need parents to demand from their schools and school districts that the disconnect between what takes place in traditional schools be broken, so that the evidence in the research can reach the children.
Encourage all you know to use their voices. Too many days have gone by, wasted, as the education conversation remains the same. The system needs to serve the users, not the state – speak up to change that, to change the conversation.