Skip to comments.The K-12 Lobotomy
Posted on 10/03/2013 6:59:38 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice
(Summary: In many ways, public schools seem deliberately organized to diminish intellect, not to enlarge it.)
An acquaintance sent this note: My sister tells of teaching math to college freshmen. The question was: If X plus 5 = 10, what is the value of X? It took her an entire week to get the kids to finally say 5. So the following Monday, just on a hunch, she gave them another problem: If Y plus 5 = 10, what is the value of Y? And no one could answer!
Remember, these students have been admitted to a community college. Presumably, many studied Algebra around the ninth grade. The teacher is an experienced veteran who knows mathematics.
How can anyone explain this anecdote?
You would surely conclude that public schools did a terrible job. But the situation seems more ominous than even this summary suggests. These students have been made dumber at 19 than they probably were at 12. They cant understand a simple idea, even when its explained to them for days. Its almost as if someone had performed a long, slow lobotomy on these young brains.
How do the public schools achieve this diminishment?
Suppose you were serious about achieving exactly that goal. There are techniques you would automatically use. Books could be written on each technique, and probably have. But Ill be brief. Its the totality of the effect that we need to contemplate, not the details.
1) You ensure a general disorderliness, with lots of interruptions and chatter from loudspeakers. Discipline is slack. Ideally, unmanageable students are kept in the classroom. If children feel insecure and frightened, thats helpful.
2) You curtail or eliminate recess and physical activity. You want the children confined and lethargic, or bored and restless.
3) You divide students into small groups. They are graded as a group, praised as a group, and addressed as a growth. They learn not to trust their own thinking.
4) You keep children constantly engaged in trivial activities. They sing a song or talk about their favorite day of the week. What matters is that the activities have no academic content.
5) You ensure that the classroom does not contain maps, especially of the US or the world. Geographical details are rarely mentioned.
6) You make sure that teachers think of themselves as facilitators. They do not communicate information to the students. Teachers emphasize that facts need not be memorized. History and science are skimmed, not taught.
7) Literacy is constantly referenced; and the classroom is filled with books. However, the methods used to teach reading are designed not to be effective. (The central sophistry is to teach English, a phonetic language, as if its a hieroglyphic language.)
8) Math is referenced every day. However, the methods used to teach arithmetic are designed to be ineffective. New topics are introduced helter-skelter. Often these topics are exotic and complicated. Weird techniques are taught. Even in the sixth grade, most children cant multiply and divide, and dont understand decimals and fractions. They are dependent on calculators. As college students, they dont know what 7×8 is.
9) You insist that grammar and spelling are obsolete; cursive is a waste of time; kids shouldnt learn a second language. Anything rigorous and logical is dismissed as inappropriate for our children. Its important to create an atmosphere where deadlines dont matter, tests are soft, grades are inflated, everyone is promoted, and students learn that little is expected of them.
10) The goal is that most students feel at once overwhelmed and empty. They know they are ignorant and barely literate. Whatever education is, they didnt get any. Many have been told they are dyslexic or have ADHD. Many have received tutoring, counseling, or sedation. Many pretend to be sick so they can stay home.
11) All educational failure is blamed on factors the school cant control. Children are said to be not ready, not smart, or neurotic in some way. Parents are said to be not involved, not helpful, or hostile to the educational process. The schools constantly praise their own wisdom and performance.
The totality of these techniques, kept in play month after month, virtually guarantees that no education takes place. If some students are stubborn and insist on acquiring information on their own, they are labeled gifted and removed from the general population.
The whole process is carefully anti-educational and anti-intellectual. Whatever a real school would do, you do the opposite. A remarkable thing happens. The children grow physically; they age before your eyes. But what they know at 10 or even 15 is not distinguishable from what they knew at 8. What they know as high school graduates can be measured in smidges. They arrive in community college able to drink, drive, vote, serve in the military, or marry, but unable to grasp that if Z+5 equals 10, Z must be 5.
Much more than we would like to thank, the k-12 experience is a lobotomy performed in slow motion.
McKinsey & Company, the famous consulting firm, put it this way in 2009: The longer American children are in school, the worse they perform.
(Bruce Deitrick Price/Improve-Education.org)
We homeschooled, K-12 (minus 4th and part of 5th). He spent the second half of ‘5th grade’ decompressing - in his pajamas, reading, thinking, talking. One thing he told me, “Mom, I felt like I was losing my SELF.’
They didn’t have any time to read, although he had been an avid reader. They did mindless homework, and we had Terrible Homework Wars. I instantly knew the words all Moms say at homework time. He told me the kids did their papers carelessly, without a care, just to get them done.
He and his new wife are going to homeschool their little girl (now 4 months old) - well, already are. It’s a terrible thing happening to our children at those schools. I tutor kids 1:1, and all day long I try to reach them and draw them out of the mindless routines and set their minds on fire for learning.
When criticizing the education system, it might be wise to actually proofread one’s article.
“Much more than we would like to thank, the k-12 experience is a lobotomy [...]”
“Much more than we would like to THINK, the K-12 experience is a lobotomy [...]”
Other than that small glitch, I found the article quite spot-on.
Rihanna has 2 black eyes, which is 1/3 the number of Grammy Awards she has won. How many times did Chris Brown punch her in the face?
I had gone back to school when I was 39. I was aghast at how stupid and lazy college kids are these days.
I kept a full class load and traveled almost every week to several other states part-time to install medical imaging equipment. I still kept a 4.0 GPA.
I’d get to hear kids in my classes who lived with their parents and had no jobs whine about needing more time to do their homework. I almost fell out of my chair one day when a 20-something woman said she didn’t know who the Vice President of the United States was. Had another idiot kid with an Obama hat on trying to tell me the Bush economy was “the worst since the Great Depression.” I asked him if he had ever read about the Carter administration with double-digit inflation, double digit unemployment, gas lines, and the Iranian hostage clusterfork.
Don’t forget the drugging and poisoning of the population with polluted food and water. As well as uninterested parents...
I used to think this kind of stupidity was an urban legend. But I’ve been on the other side so many times now that I think this is credible.
RE: “that small glitch”
You can think of that as a Joycean pun, carefully lifted from Finnegans Wake for the amusement of scholars.
Or you can reflect upon the hundreds of people who read over that without seeing it, and congratulate yourself for being much smarter. I personally read over it 20 times.
But I will tell you that the original sin here is dictation software which cleverly makes mistakes that spellcheck won’t pick up. For those who don’t know, I’ll mention that dictation software is a wonderful thing; but the downside is precisely the typo that is also a real word.