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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Education Revolution: Parents and Students Threaten the State

By Rob Morse / 25 October 2013 

We are witnessing a revolution that threatens the foundation of our modern government. Before I describe the revolutionaries, I want to ask you a personal question. What do you do for fun in the evening?

Most of us spend some time browsing on the internet. That research isn’t structured. We dive into a subject, and the first thing we do is get our bearings. We have to discover what we don’t know.

Children learn the same way. They need to explore and discover before they begin to integrate what they have learned. That isn’t what public school teachers do. That isn’t what public school administrators do. That exploration, quite simply, is not the purpose of state sponsored education. State education is an industrial process and an increasingly political process. The information age allows discovery, investigation and learning to remain a human process. The revolution is in how we teach ourselves.

True, children need to come to school prepared to learn. Some public school teachers will even admit that parents play a huge part in education (and here.) Some bureaucrats in the state educational system have the opposite view. Here, a Teacher’s Union President justifies failing schools in Chicago by blaming rich white people and decreasing school funding. That seems far from the truth, as another teacher demonstrated. A Mexican teacher from a school that hugs a waste canal and a garbage dump produced a classroom full of world-class students.

We’ve rediscovered that top/down curricula and memorization don’t work. That is why I started by asking you what you do most nights on the internet. 

Yes, you surf past Facebook, but then you explore the world online. You research topics that interest you. For all intents and purposes you are enrolled in a self-directed home-school night after night. That is the new normal.

Today’s involved individual knows more than his counterpart 50 years ago, from finance and the economy, to medical treatments and politics. The average adult of today can touch a world of information that was available only to scholars of a few years ago. Private education has taken on a new meaning. 

Education is not merely private, as in the classroom is privately funded versus paid for with state tax money. Private education now means individually directed versus following a top-down standardized curricula. It is the self-direction that is key, not the keyboard and computer. We are at the point where each student asks where they should go next.

The education establishment feels left behind. How can the state spread its political agenda if we educate our own children to be independent thinkers? 

You don’t need to sit in a desk and listen to a teacher licensed in your state when you can have the best minds in the world at your fingertips. Nor do your children. Imagine what self-directed education does for children who want a passion for lifelong learning! This isn’t a theoretical fantasy about education. 

Consider this success story where a home-school family sent their 10 children to college by the time they were 12 years of age.