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schools, educatiion, creativity, and false dichotomies.

updated mon 22 mar 10


lili krakowski on sun 21 mar 10

Neither schools, nor teachers, nor parents are to blame for the =3D
catastrophic state of childhood today.

Everyone in the chain of disaster points the next one in the row....But =3D
it is the totality which is so screwed up.

Schools are run on by some mysterious scheme that fails at all levels =3D
which must be hard to achieve! They are run on a national "calendar" =3D
wiht no account taken of seasons, no account taken of work hours in =3D
the real market place etc.. We used to have farming, and in the city =3D
most families had some "mother-figure" at home. (Someone pointed out =3D
years ago that children of immigrants often are "behind" because they =3D
are not home with mommy but home with grandma. Something TV and the =3D
Internet no doubt (eeeeeeeeeeeeek!) are correcting.)

So it made sense to have short school days (shorter than mine as a young =
child in Belgium . What were your Hong Kong hours, May Luk?)so kids =3D
could get home for the milking, and urban kids home to help in the store =
at rush hour. Summers off made sense. =3D20

Today all this has changed, but school has not. Many children "go to =3D
the sitter" at 6:30 AM to be in school at 8:30 or so, because both =3D
parents are commuting to work. They return to the sitter after school. =
Many children are turned out into the streets when school closes (see =3D
commuting above) Swing shifts and night jobs are ignored. Tough if you =
are a single parent who works nights!=3D20

The school system fails--just by its scheduling!

Teachers fail. The emphasis today is on "remedial" this and that, =3D
"psychology", "How to Teach Latin on Rainy Days" and other trivia that =3D
teach "how to teach" but not the subject! It used to be that those who =
became teachers had advanced education IN A FIELD. The math teacher was =
a mathematician; the history teacher a historian! No more. And yes: I =3D
have been extremely embarrassed when some young innocent introduced me =3D
to his or her French or German teacher and urged us to converse! I have =
had better conversations with Cannonball! So ANY child who really =3D
really is interested and curious gets "turned off". Alas, pace Kelly, =3D
not all boredom turns into prodcutive channels.

Low income parents often need to leave their children in the care of =3D
afterschool programs totally inadequate for feeding young minds.
(Any mind above goldfish level, actually) Rich parents leave their =3D
children in the hands of amahs and babas (the word Nanny does NOT apply, =
as Nannies are women with a sound thorough professional education, thank =
you very much) who are good, warmhearted, nurturing women but mostly =3D
totally ignorant of modernity. A friend and I once rode a cross-town =3D
bus in NYC when a swank private school was letting out. On the bus =3D
besides the two of us, were many many uniformly school uniformed =3D
kiddies, and their companions: some in Saris, many with headdress =3D
identifying them as Muslim, many many from Asia, and the Caribbean. =3D
Meanwhile, the kids without "sitters" roamed the streets, or the =3D
playgrounds, watched only by drug dealers and pedophiles!

Kelly is right--as she often, ok, generally, is! But Kelly's kids =3D
were/are fortunate in having highly educated parents, for educated =3D
backgrounds, to live in an "advanced" area of the country, and so on. =3D
They are the fortunate few. =3D20

For a great many kids, particularly the urban poor, childhood is a =3D
mildly relieved nightmare (they get a nutritionally unsound subsidized =3D
lunch at school!).

As to "education" "creativity", "learning skills"--those words have been =
diluted and twisted to such an extent as to be meaningless. =3D20

Please, all: go find an old Primer for second or third grade. You will =3D
be amazed what kids were expected to know by age 7 or 8, and what they =3D

Lili Krakowski
Be of good courage