Schools are all about conformity. All the kids learn the same thing, at the same pace, in the same place, in the same way. There is usually only ONE right answer and it’s in the back – but DON’T LOOK!
The kids are taught to think the same. And in some schools, they dress the same. If there are no school uniforms, then fashions rule what the kids wear and next thing you know, your daughter wants to wear something stupid to school because she feels she will be a social outcast if she doesn’t. And she’s right. Quirky, divergent thinkers are rarely the popular kids in traditional schools because they don’t look or act like the crowd.
But you know what my dad always taught me?
“Don’t be a sheep. Sheep are led to slaughter.”
It’s a pretty depressing thought but then I also think about Tommy Lee Jones’ comment in Men In Black:
“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.”
So that leaves private schools but they largely have the same problem as public schools and that problem is accountability. Accountability in and of itself is a good thing. But trying to measure a child’s education by grading the child on thinking the way everyone else thinks is destroying education.
I will write more about No Child Left Behind in another post but I can tell you that Standardized Testing is the worst thing that ever happened to schools. Teachers MUST teach to the test. Teachers MUST teach test taking skills. Teachers MUST teach things that have no practical use in the real world. Seriously, how many times have you had to fill out a bubble form lately? Your Census form? Ok. One form. That has stupid easy instructions. Do you really need 20 or more hours of practice filling in a few dots?
In the real world, divergent thinking is important. Being able to think creatively to solve problems is revered. No one puts “I know how to bubble in the answers” on their resume.