Monday, September 27, 2010

Obama Showed An Alarming Ignorance on Education Reform

I'm actually pretty freaked out by what Obama was saying on his interview regarding "Education Reform". Obama showed a striking ignorance to the needs of children, instead focusing on score and statistics. One third of kids do not graduate: one third of kids are not college ready by the end of the year: one third of kids actually drop out; 35% of 12th graders are not proficient in reading. Obama says that there is nothing more important than the issue of education, but his approach to how to make education effective is completely out dated.

Of course, child-centered learning, such as unschooling are the real answers. Not to mention, who gives a crap what our test scores are! Are our children happy? In regards to what Obama thinks the should do about "eduction", he said, "Your job right now, kid, is to learn; and I'm gonna to check with your teachers and I'm gonna make sure your doing your homework and you're not doing anything else until you've done your homework." Is that creepy, or what???! Notice that there is nothing in his sentence that actually shows any caring to the needs of children. Obama also said, "I think we should have longer school years" and "I think that would be money well spent." To the contrary, I believe that forced schooling needs to be abolished!

Obama repeatedly stated that we needed higher standards and kept saying things that implied that teachers were the main issue.

He said that when we put more money into schooling, performance went down- obviously, standardized tests are not the answer! Obama said radical change was needed- I agree... If he means making the system child-centered, or better yet, take the system out out and have parents be responsible for their own children's parenting and educating- like when the literacy rate was higher in Massachusetts in the 1700's, before compulsory schooling!

Obama puts inordinate amounts of focus on teachers, as if teachers are the main issue! Yes, I agree, the damage done to children by schools is a responsibility shared by those teachers who are punitive and rigid or even out rightly abusive.

Obama also focuses too strongly on math and science as the fundamental subjects that are the most important, when there are several other learning styles that need to be acknowledged. Howard Gardener's other learning styles need to be acknowledged.

My emotions concerning this topic are fear, indignation, frustration, rye amusement and sadness.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

True World Unity

I have this image in my mind of two people, a man and a woman, from opposite sides of the world, speaking to one another. They are both calm and I can't tell from sight where they are from, just that the man's skin is a rich sun-darkened tone, as if from a desert and the woman's skin appears bleached with the shade of a rain-forest. I see them sitting on a fallen tree trunk that makes a bridge over a gently running brook and the women is describing the brook to the man. Every detail is relayed with arm gestures, sounds, facial expressions, and the man understands every detail about the brook. Now the man can fully understand and appreciate every aspect of the brook.

In "the real world" we do not communicate anywhere near this degree. If we did, think of how much more understanding there would be! If we could- or rather, if we did- communicate with each other this well and we developed an understanding of the beauty all around us, then I don't think we would be so quick to take the world for granted. We would also develop a close kinship with all of the people in the world and we would not war with anyone. It's hard to kill someone who you just described why the sun is beautiful to you. I'm picturing that whenever you spoke to someone, it is a deeply intimate exchange, where you both speak from your innermost soul. You now know each other so deeply and affectionately, that you can wish nothing but peace for the other person. You love this person deeply and they return the same feelings- nothing else matters, except that you had this exchange. Please envision every encounter you have as being like this. How wonderful is the vision!

True world unity!

-Brycen R. R. Couture

Monday, September 13, 2010

World Peace by Ending School

Picture a village. Picture all of the people in the village as sick. To you it seems that they have been poisoned. One day you decide to go with them when they go out to get water. when you arrive, you see a sickly green slime coating the water. The people act as if the slime isn't there and they bend down to fill their jugs. You're astonished! "You aren't going to drink that, are you?!" you ask, shocked. "Drink what?" one of the people reply. They are looking at you with a confused expression that seems to accent their sickness. "That awful green slime!" you exclaim. The villager looks mystified and asks you, "What green slime?"

I compare this story with how our culture tries so very hard to keep us asleep and indifferent to what goes on around us. The stereo-typical day in the life for a child between the ages of 5 and 18 (roughly) consists of waking up very early and going to prison (school) for six hours. While you're there, you are expected to put your full attention on being indoctrinated on some uninteresting subject. (If it could be interesting, than it is made sure that it is not) Several times during the day, a loud, annoying bell rings, dictating that now you have to move to another holding cell (classroom) and focus on another subject. Finally the last bell rings and you are allowed to go home. Does it end there? No. Now it's time to review what the prison (school) indoctrinated you with that day. This could take a while. If you finish in time, then you get to enjoy having your face stuck to a screen, providing you with an escape from life. Maybe your screen connects to some of your friends screens and you can talk about things that don't make you use your head. Another type of screen depicts many series of rapidly changing images. This screen provides hours of mindlessness and lots of incentives to buy things that are said to make your life complete. After all of this wonderfully mindless "screen-time" -and it is wonderful, isn't it, to be allowed to escape life's meaninglessness?- you'll go to bed and fall asleep until tomorrow makes you wake up and repeat yesterday.

Now wouldn't it be interesting if all of the prisoners (students) decided to take control of their lives- for those who are too young, their parents would have to help them- and they all just went out into the community and started following their passions. The kids who want to play music would play music. The kids who want to build would build. All of the kids would realize how fun life really was- then there are too many other good things that would happen to list.

As for the faculty of these schools and their jobs- the government's mistake for instituting the prison (school) in the first place. The government would provide funds for all of the faculty who are now out of a job. This would help all of these people to enjoy life as well and communities would flourish with happy people.

Now that people don't feel so empty as to make useless purchases, it would be necessary to eradicate the use of money. We would go back to bartering. This kind of unity and wholeness in our communities would spread to the entire world, because it would be so joyful. We would all be respectful and loving of one another...

"And the world will live as one..." -John Lennon

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We Are Deadened By Our Culture

I'm feeling rather distressed at a certain thought right now... My thoughts are on how our culture so effectively drains the passion out of the entire populace. It starts when you are very young, when they put you in school or some other prison-like institution. When you "graduate" you are now expected to pick a career. Of course, the career "they" want you to pick is one that will keep you in your deadened state. The culture keeps you deadened for the sake of keeping our "leaders" (more or less just capitalist, fascist, dictators...) in control and in power.

Wake up!

Why Us Kids Weren't In School

I don't just sit there and gripe about the problems in our world- I actually take action to change what's wrong. Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." While we're talking about world problems, I couldn't resist a slam to public schools... Thursday, while the public schoolers were sitting at desks, doing boring, mundane- not to mention mindless- "schoolwork", what were my friends and I doing? We were at the annual NOT-Back-to-School Beach Party, celebrating our homeschooled lives by running around a beach, playing friendly sports, laughing and talking about real life! It makes me sad to think that public school imprisonment is acceptable to the majority of people. This was apparent when two senior citizens asked me and a group of friends, "Why aren't you kids in school?" I responded with a smile, "We're homeschoolers, and we're celebrating the fact that we're NOT going back to school!" One of my friends added, "As all those kids are sitting at desks right now, we're outside playing Ultimate Frisbee!"