Training The Slaves

It was the same thing day in and day out. Go to school and follow the material that had boredom written all over it. I wanted something more; something with substance.

Years later, I was in a program in prison and had to see a counselor. This counselor felt a desire to explain to me why I quit school in 9th grade and why I had the boredom and turned to drugs. We went through my test scores and at this point I had gone and took the tests and passed my high school diploma with outstanding scores. Remember, I only went to school until 9th grade. The rest of my education was on the streets of Denver, Colorado. I did work at a hotel, The Cherry Creek Inn as a banquet person and later moved to hotel maintenance. This whole time I was also doing crime too.

The counselor explained that I was just way above 9th grade; I was too smart for it. It happens to many kids she said and that is why the prisons are full.

I ended up taking college courses in prison and in the long run, I became a worthwhile citizen.

The reason I am writing this hub and the meaning of the title will become clearer soon. I was never totally clear in what that counselor had said, but it is clearing up now; the reason is I am reading a book. It is called Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. This book makes so much sense that I will probably read it more than once.

The book explains education in the United States and why it isn't so much education, but just a prison for kids. It is a slave training program. I won't explain the whole book. Get your own copy and read it for yourself; there are links below. What I am going to do is explain how I feel we could do it better.

The Problem with Today's Education System

In the early day's school came second to home; not anymore. I remember during harvest, my uncles would be to school late or not at all. It was always more important to have the corn and soybeans in the silos. My uncles always did fine with their grades even when they missed for harvest. The television didn't take a big part of their day and work was a part of life. They learned math, reading and science at school and they learned life at home.

It seems these days children don't learn life at home and they don't want to learn many of the other things in school.

In my school days a student would be in trouble if you brought a calculator to school; now students get in trouble if they don't bring a calculator. We wonder why the kid working the register at the store can't count change back to us; they don't have their calculator.

As said in the book, and this has been happening for years, a child just starts to "get it" in math class and the bell rings. Off to science; just forget about that math thing until tomorrow. Confusion; mass confusion.

I don't know if it's planned, but it seems so. By keeping the majority of students confused, you create many blue collar workers because they have no self-esteem to go higher. They have no dreams or ambitions. Just work the factory job or a cashier at Walmart the rest of their lives.

The book goes into deep details on this and reinforces home-schooling. The problem in the home-schooling jungle is you have parents both working and/or they don't have a clue how to force their child to learn either.

I have my ideas about the public school problem. Scroll down and see if you agree.

Greg's Ideas on Solving the Education Issues

Many in politics seem to think privatizing schools is the answer. I see that as a new set of problems.

I have my ideas and they consist of first taking changes slowly. Make sure you have the proper teachers in the proper places.

You need to give more time to each subject and have the children put their learning into action:

  1. 1 week on each subject, not 1 hour. 1 day spent either in a community service or working at a place that uses what they are learning. An example would be science: a laboratory; math: an accounting place; so on and so forth.
  2. Listen to the kids: more student input.
  3. More one on one. Every student is different and not of the same mold.
  4. Grades are baloney--pass or fail. No ifs, and's, or buts. Either you make it or not.
  5. More family less school. Whatever it takes, make it happen.

I don't have all the answers, but instead of using the bureaucratic approach, maybe we should look at how the communists did it. Some children are great at some things. Help them to master what they are good at; don't take it away from them.

The system seems to think they need to control the masses and what they are going to cause in the long run is mass hysteria.

We need to step back. We need to look back on what worked and start doing that again.

Children have a desire to learn. We don't need more burger flippers, we need Doctors and Scientists and other professionals that really do care and want to change the world. We need more Ben Franklins, Thomas Edisons, and Edgar Allen Poes. Instead, we are creating more Charlie Mansons and Son of Sams.

Conclusion

I hope this hub will get somewhere. Gatto's book has been out for some years and has it really changed anything?

I was told a little earlier today that we need to just keep throwing seeds out and some will grow. That is what this hub is: a seed.

The education system is in a messed up state of affairs. It seems to be many people in it just for the money instead of in it for the children.

Let's get involved in the school systems. Let's hold them accountable and we must hold the students accountable too! Remember when you are old and senile, these are the ones who will feed, bathe and change your Depends. Will they be smart enough to do those things?

© 2011 Greg Boudonck

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Comments 8 comments

justateacher profile image

justateacher 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

When my grandmother graduated eighth grade she took a test to become a teacher. I saw it once and it was fairly simple. Basically, if you knew reading, math, geography and history, you could pass it. Of course, she passed and until she met and married her husband, she taught in a one room school in the boonies of Arkansas. She taught children aged 5 through 15 or 16. Some were a little older. She didn't teach kindergarten, first, second and so on grades. She taught children by ability. If there was a ten year old and a five year old at the same ability level they were taught the same. She was also allowed to teach the children in the ways she thought were best - she didn't have to follow a specified curriculum and didn't have to teach a subject for ninety minutes and follow what someone told her to. She taught as long as the subject needed to be taught. And she taught the way that best fit each child. She was also allowed to let the older students help the younger ones, and was able to create a family style classroom. The students she taught all passed their courses because they knew the subject, not because they were given an easy grade because a parent threatened the teacher. Sports and music and art were all a part of the school year, but it was made plain that academics came first and were most important. In the years she taught, only two students quit school. Both were young men who had to help take care of the family farms. They didn't give up because things got too tough at school - they quit because they were needed more at home.

My dream as a teacher is to one day have a school of my own just like the one my grandmother taught in. I am not sure that it would go over very well, because parents nowadays don't want their children to have to think or work hard for themselves...but maybe there would be enough parents who truly want their children to become working members of society and be willing to give the school a chance.

Sorry for ranting! You just have many ideas that I share and I loved reading this hub!


Da Filkman profile image

Da Filkman 5 years ago

As a former WalMart and factory worker, I beg to differ with your seeming critique of these positions. Matter of fact, it's where I met my ex-wife.

Okay, I see your point NOW...

Seriously, I've often assessed the school system in a similar fashion: as a means to baby-sit the kids and keep them off the streets. Problem is, by the time they 'hit the streets' AGAIN (often times well in advance of graduation) they are so effed up by the confusing conditioning that they figure "school's for fools, money rules, and everybody steals it." Besides, dad went to freaking COLLEGE and is in a bathrobe watching The Price Is Right because he can't find a job in today's economic workforce...

I believe that teaching is key here. Duh...but, it's true! They must CARE about the awesome task assigned to them (your wife comes to mind here) and make school a thoughtful, challenging and, yes...FUN place to expand one's mind and horizons. And not just a big parking lot for the little ones. Yes, evaluate the individual schools and investigate a bit: rote, career, cookie-cutter status quo Stepford Wives have to GO. Gauge the results each is getting from their students in the long term. Guaranteed, some teachers would fail their own tests in that regard.

Money must also be earmarked responsibly, cutting the pork-barrelers out. And have a rewards system for those students that choose to apply themselves, in the short term AND long (help with college expenses later, more scholarships etc) and VOTE the bad educators OUT.

Nice work as always :)


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Teaching is a very difficult and complex job. I taught for many years in a variety of settings. Thanks for "throwing that seed." Your opinions are interesting and insightful.


eye say profile image

eye say 5 years ago from Canada

watch the documentary "looking for Superman" about the US school system - it's on netflix...

good hub


lovdotsprite profile image

lovdotsprite 4 years ago from Kansas

There is this show called Touch that uses numbers and patterns to show how everyone is connected. I do not mean any offense, but today I never thought I would be reading your article. Never be afraid to listen to a view you dislike or try to learn from someone you disagree with completely. Also, never be afraid to share your own views and help others understand. Your article meant a lot to me, and I hope others may be as lucky to read as well.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I really appreciate You talking about education. I honestly think that a serious look needs to be taken at the system of education and how it can be improved. I am quite sure, it is obvious that things are not working as they are now.

"Listen to the kids: more student input.

More one on one. Every student is different and not of the same mold." - I think these two ideas are very important. I cannot stress this enough ... classes are simply too big nowadays and teachers cannot have much of an influence to so many people in such a short period of time (a class time).

Here is a a link to a short clip from a documentary on education done by a guy who works for CNN: I saw the whole documentary, I thought it had offered some good insights and ideas - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXR-7YawCbE

Thank You for putting this piece of writing together. I certainly think we should all be taking a closer look at the system of education and I also think it is important that we all get involved a little more, if possible.

All the best!

Sharing this! : )


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

This is a really interesting hub. I have been saying this for years. I honestly don't think our society wants to teach people to think for themselves. They would cause too many problems. Schools teach kids to just do whatever they are told and push buttons. That is what companies need to make them run. God forbid you have your own ideas and try to suggest something new to an employer. No one wants society to get too smart... we'd just look around and start rioting over how unfair we are all treated as workers if that were to happen. Great hub and voted up!


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 4 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico Author

Thanks Mr Happy and Jeannie. Hopefully it will revert back to the way it should be. That is where we all come in. Awareness is the first key to solving issues such as this.

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