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There may be a reasons your child hates public school

Updated on October 19, 2012
In previous generations, school playgrounds were designed for being fun. Modern school playgrounds are designed to be safe.
In previous generations, school playgrounds were designed for being fun. Modern school playgrounds are designed to be safe.

There may be reasons your child hates public school

The public education system in the United States is designed more for socialization and crowd control than for education. The structure is set up for more group activity than for instruction. With the system of bells and mass movement of children, the public school system is designed to have more in common with the training of animals to perform tasks than they do with children learning how to solve problems independently, think logically or learn how to assess and evaluate the world around them. The educational system which children are raised in within the United States is designed more for indoctrination than ‘education’ in any classical sense of the word.

You may want to start by seriously looking at your child’s school building. In their construction, with increasing frequency, they have more in common with prisons. The number of and amount of windows are often limited. Structures looking eerily like guard towers are often on the perimeter of the newer school buildings. There is a massive use of straight lines and hard edges used in the construction. The school buildings themselves are designed to send the message of control to those who are in the buildings. The structure is designed to allow the teachers and administrators to take charge rather than create an environment that fosters creativity or thinking.

You may also want to consider the routine, even for elementary aged children. Their day often starts early in the morning 7:30 or earlier and continues until 2:30 or 3:00 pm. It amounts to a full day that they experience at the school house. In some cases, the child may leave for school before the sun even rises. The whole routine trains them for the world of skilled labor. Throughout the day, the teachers decide when they eat, when they go to the bathroom and when they can talk. The child’s ability to have any say so about such activities is removed from them. Not only do teachers take control of their schedule, they are trained to do all their activities as a group. When a child is used to life at home with family members, it is quite a shock to enter a world where you eat, live next to and go to the bathroom with people that you do not know. In a short period of time, children learn to perform within the upper and lower limits of the ‘group’. They do not want to be the slowest in the class and are discouraged from out performing their peers at the head of their class, especially if they are quick learners. Quick learners are forced to wait until the slow members of the group catch up.

Not only are the routines strictly controlled, the classroom settings are controlled as well. The seating is often in straight rows. The inspiration for such seating arrangement is from Prussian education models. Such seating arrangements are designed for the teacher having control and sending a message to the students that they are pieces of a machine. They are to function as cogs in a machine that is operated by the teacher and the school. When your child resists the control by moving their chair out of line or leaning back, they are often disciplined. When the child wants to express their individuality by personalizing their desk and make it their own, they are charged with vandalism.

In previous generations, resistance to the control often resulted in a visit to the principal’s office or detention. In the modern government school, the child is at risk of having a criminal record started on them based on what they did at school. Resistance to the control is now met with police reports and criminal records. The school environment is now one filled with police, although they may refer to themselves as ‘school police’. The bottom line is that the child’s activity and misbehavior are now documented and follows them around for many years.

The controlled environment in many schools is only becoming more controlled with the use of cameras in the cafeteria, and spreading other areas including into the rest rooms. The spying is also not limited to the school building. Some government schools have been found to have spied on the children when they are at home. The invasiveness of control methods is increasing with requiring students to wear RFID chips or identification bracelets. When such methods are used on your children, it raises questions about what kind of world are they being trained for.

In the cafeteria, each child is given the same meals. Some schools have discouraged children bringing meals from home or food items from home. By not allowing children to bring in their own food, the school takes control of another area of your child's life in the area of diet. When they do eat, it is at prescribed times. The children are forced to eat as a group as well.

The controlled environment is also reflected in the attitude of many school districts. They know that 'structure is more important than content'. As long as the prescribed social control structures are in place, it does not matter so much about content. They want the little minds to depend on the authorities for answers, for direction and for approval. Some districts have the mindset that the child is their property. They believe that once the child leaves their home in the morning, they belong to the school district. If you think your child is your responsibility, try keeping them out of school for the day or withdraw them from the school. When you attempt pulling them out of the public school system, you find out quickly how much control you actually have. When the attitude of the school and those running it is that they ‘own’ your child, is it any wonder that your child would not feel comfortable in that setting?

In previous generations, children were given recess, where they were allowed unstructured time to play outside. In today’s schools, their time is often structured and directed. The playground equipment was designed to have fun and increase strength. You found monkey bars, see saws, metal slides and merry go rounds. These days, there is an emphasis on ‘safe’ equipment and the metal equipment has been removed, being replaced by colorful plastic and ‘safe’ eco-materials surrounding each item. Plastic is safe, although it adds an artificial quality to their surroundings. In previous generations, being called a ‘plastic’ person was an insult, these days, the children are surrounded by plastic equipment. In the classrooms, they have plastic chairs and often eat on plastic tables. Imagine life surrounded by plastic, windowless hallways, and massive amounts of straight lines. What kind of child will enjoy and want to spend all their day in such a setting?

This raises questions as to what constitutes a ‘good’ public school. Are they good based on standardized test scores? Is it based on the teachers being friendly? Is it based on the amount of control that the school has over your child? People can be trained to do many things, including learning how to take standardized test. Completing a test does not mean that your child has mastered the material, that they can solve problems independently or that they have developed creativity. Standardized tests do not measure such things.

Given the world which students are thrown into, it could be that the resistance your child is having to school may be the best solution to what they have been thrown into. They may be resisting having others take control of their world, their schedule, and even their ability to speak out and communicate. They may be resisting the attitude, the control and the whole rigid environment of the school.You will want to talk to your child about what it is that they do not like at school. It may surprise you to learn that they do have good reasons to dislike the unnatural environment of public schools.

Quotes on Public School and Public Education

"Public schools have become a criminal enterprise."-Samuel Blumenfield

"Anyone who has been to an English public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison. It is the people brought up in the gay intimacy of the slums who find prison so soul-destroying"-Evelyn Waugh

"It is not a pleasant epoch in one's life-the first forty eight hours at a large public school"-
D. H. Lawrence

"In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards."-Mark Twain

Tell Me What You Think

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  • Admiral Murrah profile imageAUTHOR

    Admiral Murrah 

    6 years ago from Texas


    Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot coming from someone new to hubpages. There are so many to read. Thank you for stopping by.

  • By Lori profile image

    By Lori 

    6 years ago from USA

    Totally excellent article -

  • Admiral Murrah profile imageAUTHOR

    Admiral Murrah 

    6 years ago from Texas


    Thank you for your sharing your comment. You asked an excellent question that needed some good answers. As a father of three sons, I have learned that when they dislike something, there is usually a reason. They many not be clear on what their reason is, which often means that I have to talk with them and work at uncovering what is behind their dislike. I have also learned that each son has his own learning style which means that a one size fits all approach does not work, especially when it comes to learning. Each one had their own strengths and weaknesses which had to be taken into consideration in teaching them. I often had to do things like have my sons run around buildings before they were ready to sit down and tolerate passive instruction.

    It is encouraging that you have a supportive group of teachers. Hopefully they will work with you in finding the best approach to your son whether it is running around the school or something else.

    Doing your best is often more important than being perfect. Doing your best allows who you are to come through. In my mind, God chooses who becomes parents. He chooses people based on their hearts rather than their perfections. He chooses the right parent for what the child needs. In choosing who is to be the parent, He did not appoint the teacher, the counselor or the expert, (who often have knowledge but little heart) instead he chose the imperfect person with the right heart to be the parent. We often learn through the imperfections. Some of the biggest lessons in my life came from imperfections. Being creative often means that others may react. Others may say your choices are "stupid and irresponsible", but they do not see the beauty in the fact that you made a choice, rather than let others make choices for you. I have learned that the 'establishment' or system is often intimidated by creative free thinkers. Society often attacks free thinkers until they are gone and it is at that point that they extol the virtues of their creativity.

    The control systems used by schools are powerful. They often remain with us long after you are no longer in school. One of my mentors, who was a free thinker, used to say that it took him "20 years to get 'educated' and 20 more years to unlearn what the schools did to him".

  • kallini2010 profile image


    6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Thank you for your answer to my question. It seems more like taking a deep breath of fresh air compared to some other answers where the tone of respondents seems all too familiar and patronizing.

    I do agree that schools are far from being perfect and children do have good reasons for disliking schools.

    The building is less than inspiring and I could never understand why it had so few windows - who and why decided that little ones had to spend the majority of their day/s in the artificially lit environment.

    As I said we are lucky enough to have good team of teachers because I cannot imagine how much harder it would have been for my son if teachers were unreasonable and too strict.

    Our school has recess, but as you said - we don't even have PLASTIC equipment - everything is stripped down to nothing. Nothing is the idea of safety.

    Yes, there are plenty of reasons for my son to dislike things and I am trying my best (my best does not translate into me being perfect, I don't know where that idea comes from), but I know the price I paid for my creativity.

    I never thought I was good enough (let alone creative) because the time and the place I grew up in was exactly about CONTROL. And being such a "yes-person", cooperative by nature, I never even suspected that I do have a potential.

    My courage now often is met with statements "you make stupid choices and you are irresponsible", however, my aim is to teach my son to learn how to learn, to be able his own decisions, to stop being afraid of failure and stop defining the world in the terms of "winning and losing". And the fact that he has to adjust to what is and what should be is might be the best life school for him. His learning is going take as long as he needs.

    I am surprised that your article has no comments. I just see it as a proof that people are trained to follow the party line. Obedience training proves to be quite effective.

    Thank you again!


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