Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout their school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.
—  Doris Lessing - The Golden Notebook
I can have some influence on people who are still in school. That’s where I, as a scientist and an educator, can do something to help teach them how to think, how to evaluate a claim, how to judge what one person says versus what another says, how to establish a level of skepticism. Skepticism is healthy. It’s not a bad thing; it’s a good thing. So I’m working on the next generation as they come up. I don’t know what to do with the rest. The 80 percent of the adults, I can’t help you there.
—  Neil deGrasse Tyson
Yes, she has test anxiety. Yes, she has cried. But when I hear ‘test prep,’ I’m thinking, This is reality. People prep for the SATs, people prep to get jobs. When her name goes up on the wall in the lower group, I try to talk to her about how we use that to get better. I can’t let my kids fall into poverty. I comfort her, but I tell her: ‘I make $14.42 an hour. What are you going to do to have a better life?’
I am a grade 12 student who has just recently graduated. You might call me accomplished, and in a way, I am, but not in the way you’d think. 12 years of pouring over text books and being lined up to be judged in front of my peers has not made me any more intelligent. I can tell you the first 45 digits of Pi and I can explain to you the difference between an acid and a base, I can recite the Pythagorean Theorem in my sleep, I will recite lines out of a textbook like they are a religion. But I cannot tell you the value of security, or of kindness. The distinct contrast between personal health and personal gain. I can tell you in grade 10 four of my classmates attempted to take their own lives before finals. I can tell you our counsellors office is always booked. I can tell you how when I didn’t understand something in AP Chemistry my teacher asked me to leave if I could not participate in his class. I merely asked him to explain a question. Instead of doing his job and teaching, he told me to leave. Told me I was not good enough to be there. Mistakes are viewed as failure in these hallways. A wrong answer is a sin you must atone to, not a human error, but a flaw so grand it defines your entire life course. There is no “average” here. We all must exceed expectations. Do your parents know that a grade that is considered average is a “C”? When I got a C in fourth grade my parents grounded me for a month. They said I was lazy and stupid and incompetent and that I’d better smarten up and stop fooling around. I never fooled around. I am driven by a deep need to impress others. I never fool around. I worked and worked and worked, with a deep hollow of anxiety in my chest. I have never been good at History, but I worked and worked and I attained at best a low B. It was not good enough. It is not said but we are expected to put our education before our personal health. It is not asked of us, but it is what we must do to achieve what we are asked to achieve. Our teachers will tell you, “Oh, I only give them one hour of homework each night.” Which is essentially true, each of my five teachers only gives me one to two hours of homework each night. Hmm, that adds up to 5-10 hours of homework, and overdue classwork, and projects. Say goodbye to sleep, say goodbye to feeling calm. I’ve developed a deep rooted anxiety disorder due to school and perfectionistic tendencies. Even when you get 100 percent on an assignment they still criticise you, it is never good enough. One slip, and you are in deep deep trouble. I can tell you that 90 percent of us try our hardest, and our teachers and parents stand in the sidelines, screaming, “You can do better than that!”
—  Why I say our education system is flawed (via latttte)
Actual Quotes from my Dad (An English Teacher)
  • Dad:Why the hell did you put a comma there?
  • Dad:Do you even know what a participial phrase is?
  • Dad:Omg. He's like my favorite character of all time.
  • Dad:Who should I dress up as for the movie premier?
  • Dad:Hey are you awak? I know it's late, but you read Animal Farm, right? Yeah. I need you to read this report. I can't tell if I am just super tired or if this is actual bullshit.
  • Dad:Alesha wouldn't be able to spell 'definitely' right if wrote it down for her. She would fucking erase it and then write 'defiantly', because she doesn't care. I hate her.
  • Dad:I need you to bake brownies. I lost a bet.
  • Dad:Omg. You cannot ship me with Gilcher. You know I don't like tattoos and he's like twenty-five. And for Christ's sake, he teaches math.
  • Dad:Omg. Gilcher said the funniest thing today.
  • Dad:Mrs. Ashworth and I have decided to start a band. It'll be called Great Expectations.
  • Dad:It's like you didn't read the fucking book.
  • Dad:Okay. So this week you're reading this book I stole from Mrs. Ashworth's. It's like sixty pages long, but you'll love it.
  • Dad:*puts books on my bed for me to read everyday and demands that I read them*
  • Dad:My son doesn't like reading. I have not only failed him, but society. You aren't my son. Leave.
  • Dad:Okay. So you're getting books for Christmas. All of you. I get discounts on them since I'm a teacher, and since I'm a teacher, it's all I can afford, so...
  • Dad:Fucking standardized testing can go fuck itself in the ass.
  • Dad:I have to teach for the required testing instead of what they really need to know.
  • Dad:Fuck the government.
  • Dad:Fuck the school board.
  • Dad:Close the door.
  • Dad:Charles Dickens was so fucking pretentious, and I hate him, but he also caused change, but he's such a Dick. Ha. DICKens.
  • Dad:I love puns.
  • Dad:People who say sarcasm is the lowest form of humor are assholes.
  • Dad:Please shut up.
  • Dad:Catching Fire was the worst book but the best movie and that feels weird.
  • Dad:I wouldn't get so mad when you call me at school if you didn't change your ringtones to inappropriate rap music.
  • Dad:I fucking hate Alesha. She asked what countries were apart of Austria-Hungary today and I almost told her to get out.
  • Dad:You cannot visit my school in a dress that short. There are boys there.
  • Dad:Barbra Parks is fucking Queen.
  • Dad:I need you to make me a good, relaxing playlist for silent reading. I'm too lazy.
  • Dad:If I have to watch two of my students grind on each other at one more dance, I will kill them both.
  • Dad:They act like I care what they think.
  • Dad:I hate homework.
  • Dad:I have decided to become a politician.
  • Dad:What's the one book with the guys and the one kills the other and the chick without a name who dies and the short angry man? Mouseman? Oh my fucking gosh. Of Mice and Men. I have failed.
When people say ‘I hate math’ what you’re really saying is, ‘I hate the way mathematics was taught to me.’ Imagine an art class, in which, they teach you only how to paint a fence or wall, but never show you the paintings of the great masters. Then, of course, years later you would say, ‘I hate art.’ What you would really be saying is ‘I hate painting the fence.’ And so it is with math. When people say ‘I hate math’ what they are really saying is ‘I hate painting the fence.’
—  UC Berkeley math professor Edward Frenkel

Even when I wanted to die, to kill myself
To rip each cell of my being apart, not once,
Not ever, did I miss a piece of homework.

Or fail a test or skip an hour-long lesson.
Sure, I skipped three meals a day but at least
I had my priorities straight.

I see these kids walking in front of me to school.
I see them, and they are zombies.
Blank faces, I doubt they’ve slept,
Probably up all night doing that essay
They forgot to do because their parents
Asked them to spend a few hours with them.

And I know this isn’t right but
I remember overhearing someone rant
About how mental illnesses are so common these
Days; they’ve become the latest fashion accessories
For the young.

It’s popular to be damaged. That makes no sense.
These kids are going insane.

Perhaps if you looked the tiniest
Bit further you’d see that this system is not working.
The clue is that millions of children are being literally
Driven mad by it each day.
But at least they’re averaging Bs
And thank god they cut themselves when they
leave school so the teachers don’t have to deal with it.

—  "Report Card Papercuts" - R.R-P (wildwritings)

The First Grader (2010)

Beautiful movie based on the true story of Kimani Maruge, an 84 year old villager and a Mau Mau veteran, who decides to enroll in school for the first time to educate himself after hearing an announcement on the radio about the Kenyan government’s offering of free primary school education to “all”. All while facing resistance from the public’s claims of an “old man” taking up space.

—-

'Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave' - Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa aale wasallam)

I learned not to trust people; I learned not to believe what they say but to watch what they do; I learned to suspect that anyone and everyone is capable of ‘living a lie’. I came to believe that other people - even when you think you know them well - are ultimately unknowable.
—  Lynn Barber, An Education
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