Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Compulsory Miseducation

I've been trying to get back to reading, which was near impossible whilst drugged out on the painkillers, and have restarted the book 'Compulsory Miseducation' by Paul Goodman. Published in the 1960s and is a criticism of the formal schooling system, as it was in America at this time. I'm only a few chapters in, but thought these few sections worth quoting:

(on High School 'dropouts'

"..Numerically far more important than these overt drop-outs at sixteen, however, are the children who conform to schooling between the ages of six to sixteen or twenty, but who drop out internally and day-dream, their days wasted, their liberty caged and scheduled. And there are many such in the middle class, from backgrounds with plenty of food and some books and art, where the youth is seduced by the prospect of money and status, but even more where he is terrified to jeapardize the only pattern of life he knows"

And on learning to read:

"A great neurologist tells me that the puzzle is not how to teach reading, but why some children fail to learn to read. Given the amount of exposure that any urban child gets, any normal animal should spontaneously catch on to that code. what prevents? It is almost demonstrable that, for many children, it is precisely going to school that prevents - because of the school's alien style, banning of spontaneous interset, extrinsic rewards and punishments. (In many under privaliged schools, the IQ steadily falls the longer they got to school.)Many of the backward readers might have had a better chance on the streets."

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