Should we open the schools?

Arguments in favor of keeping schools closed indefinitely:

  • For young children school is a colossal waste of time. It does not take 6 hours a day for little kids to learn elementary subjects like reading and arithmetic, it should only take 1-3 hours a day depending on the age. The rest of their time would be better spent playing outside and doing chores.
  • For older kids, say 13-17, a 6 hour school day can be useful, but by that age many kids have decided that school has no purpose for them and they are therefore unteachable. These unteachable kids tend to make it very difficult for kids who do think school is useful. The unteachables would be better off getting jobs and joining the adult world.
  • School does a poor job of socializing children because school culture has nothing to do with adult life. It is a weird and highly artificial environment in which children are placed in large, anonymous groups based on age.
    • This teaches kids to measure themselves according to the priorities other children which are radically different from the priorities of the “real world”. Everything school kids think is important – sports, cliques, looks, gossip, fashions, interpersonal drama – is irrelevant to adult life.
    • Americans joke about failed adults who “peaked in high-school” and never managed to transition to adulthood. They mastered the illusory and stupid values of schoolchildren and found themselves unprepared for adulthood. The rest of us wake up from school as if from a strange dream and find ourselves having to unlearn lessons learnt in school in order to become functional adults.
    • For many kids, school culture is traumatic: physical, sexual and emotional bullying from other children is commonplace. Social anxiety caused by school can inspire eating disorders, personality disorders, and now it seems gender-disassociation disorders.
  • Schools increasingly seek to indoctrinate in children Critical Race and Gender Theories which are diametrically opposed to to the values a critical mass of parents would like to instill in their kids.

Taken together, these elements make it clear that the American school system is a massive waste of time and resources. However the below arguments show it may be irreplaceable.

Arguments in favor of opening schools:

  • Some families are not capable of educating their children at home, whether because of family chaos, substance abuse, criminality, illiteracy, or an inability to speak English. School is the best chance these kids have for learning basic skills.
  • Stay-at-home parents are rare in America. Most households rely on two incomes, and there are very many single-parent households. School functions as free daycare for these parents. Closing schools would result in children either being left alone long hours of the day or a drastic reduction in family income, both of which are unacceptable.
  • It is illegal for kids 14-17 to work full time jobs, and jobs for unskilled or semiskilled labor are increasingly scarce, and apprenticeships are difficult to come by. Without schools to contain them, unteachable kids would be on the streets causing trouble.
  • Because urban neighborhoods and small towns have been economically hollowed out, and because no one can assume that their neighbors have similar values to their own, and because suburban and exurban families are often socially isolated, there is no local community network in which kids can safely explore, make friends, and play.
  • School is, for better or worse, the only place for children to experience friendship and community outside of the nuclear family. For many parents the only chance they have to form adult friendships in their immediate area is through the connections their children make at school.

 

2 comments

  1. Billy Jack · · Reply

    What do you base your “little kids can get all they need in 1-3 hrs a day” point on? I totally believe it because I have known plenty of homeschooling or hybrid school families/communities and this is consistent with experience. Just wondering if you have something else to go on, especially that might be more convincing to people who would dismiss the support I just offered as “anecdotal evidence gleaned from interactions with weirdos”.

    1. I had lots of homeschooled friends as a kid and know a couple of parents who homeschool now.

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