Why Every Parent Should Consider Unschooling

Gillian Lynne. Maybe you’ve heard of her? She’s the choreographer who did Cats and Phantom of the Opera, and she most likely would be diagnosed with ADHD if she was of school age today.

Gillian was fidgety. She couldn’t concentrate. And she was disturbing people. Gillian was considered hopeless by the school system. This was in the 1930s and Gillian was eight. As the story goes, she was sent to a specialist with her mother. After about 20 minutes of dialogue, the specialist told Gillian that he needed to speak with her mother privately. Before leaving, he turned on the radio. Once the pair were in the next room, he said to her mother, “Just stand and watch her.” Continue reading

A Popular Social Studies Curriculum Got an Internal Review. The Findings Weren’t Pretty

A parent in Rutherford county, Tenn., refused to let her daughter complete this assignment in a Studies Weekly publication, which asked students to write from the perspective of a plantation owner. — Image from Facebook post

When Nikita Walker, a parent in Rutherford County, Tenn., saw that her daughter’s homework asked the then-5th grader to write a few sentences in support of slavery, she was confused—and angry.

Walker’s daughter was given the assignment last year in an issue of Studies Weekly, a national social studies publication that presents lessons on history, government, and society in a newspaper format, designed to be consumed week-by-week. Continue reading

Public Torn Between Support for School Spending and Actually Paying the Tab

Teachers and education activists march from Riverfront Park to the Oregon State Capitol for a day of action Wednesday, May 8, 2019 in Salem, Ore. Tens of thousands of teachers across Oregon walked off the job Wednesday to demand more money for schools, holding signs and wearing red shirts that have become synonymous with a nationwide movement pushing lawmakers to better fund education. — Anna Reed/Statesman-Journal via AP

The most remarkable thing about the recent wave of teacher strikes may be the widespread public support for something that’s ultimately going to put a squeeze on the taxpayer’s wallet. Continue reading

Bastiat’s “The Law” Is a Symphony of Ideas That Can Teach Us Justice

Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law,” written near the end of his life in 1850 France, is a symphony of ideas.

My high school economic students are reading their first book of the year, one that is close to the hearts of liberty lovers: Frederic Bastiat’s The Law, written near the end of his life in 1850 France. This is my third year teaching it to freshmen, and I find it more and more excellent every time I read it. The words and arguments come off the pages like notes and melodies, and it feels like a symphony of ideas.

Natural Law
Its first movement is powerful and audacious, beginning with a blasting fanfare of our natural, God-given rights. From nature we are granted life—physical, intellectual, and moral. Life alone cannot sustain itself, so we must apply the talents and faculties given to us by nature to develop, preserve, and perfect our lives. Continue reading

Schools Are Tracking YOUR Child’s Mental Health – Whether YOU Like It or Not

Whether it’s security cameras, armed guards, or psychological screenings, mass schooling is becoming increasingly prison-like.

A worrying trend is emerging in schools across the country. With increasing regularity, school districts are tracking students’ mental health and raising flags if a screening shows something amiss. Continue reading

Adulting Day’ at one high school teaches teens to cook, change a tire and pay bills

When I was in high school we had Home Ec and Shop to teach us those daily things. Home Ec also taught us how to care for an ill family member – how to change sheets and make a bed; how to sew things as well as how to keep a house clean and orderly. The shop classes taught woodworking, auto mechanics, etc.

The ADULTING DAY idea is great but it needs to be more of an ADULTING MONTH – including how to change a light bulb, how to fix a leaky faucet, how to clean a plugged drain, etc. All those things that are part of every day life. But then, nowadays, the schools would have to bring in professionals to show them how to do it as most teachers wouldn’t have a clue. I can just see todays youngsters (and adults) asking Google, Alexis, or those other talking tech things to tell them how to do something —other than to spy on all that goes on in your house.

How about teaching our kids how to do something PRODUCTIVE for a change???? ~ Jackie Juntti (Granny) Continue reading

It’s every young person’s dream come true: ‘no more grades in school!’

Since some children find letter grades “offensive,” public school teachers are now grading with “colors, numbers and symbols

Because some students are apparently getting “offended” or having their feelings hurt by receiving B’s on their tests instead of A’s, public schools in Wisconsin are reportedly abandoning the traditional grading system in favor of assigning students “colors” and “symbols” instead.

This newfangled “target-based grading system,” as they’re calling it, means that the days of using actual metrics to determine student scholarship are over. Now, random images and pretty colors will govern public education. Continue reading

Benson: Public Schools Are A Dismal Failure

Today, I read an excellent article by Justin Spears via the Foundation for Economic Education. I would urge concerned parents to check it out.

Mr. Spears starts out with: “In the first part of this article set, my colleague Mike Margeson spelled out the historical roots of the American schooling system. He clearly laid out the blueprint that men like Horace Mann used to build a system that does anything but ‘educates’.” What he is saying here is that Unitarian Horace Mann provided this country with an “educational system” that was, essentially worthless! Seeing that Mann’s main intent was not to educate but to downplay the influence of Christian schools in this country, I am not surprised. Mann has a reputation as an inventive educator that is not deserved. Continue reading

End School Compulsory-Attendance Laws

Imagine if Congress were to enact a law that required everyone to attend church on Sundays. The overwhelming majority of Americans would go up in arms. The concept of religious liberty is so deeply ingrained in our American heritage that there is no way that people, including devout Christians, would accept such a law. That heritage was enshrined in the First Amendment, which prohibits Congress from enacting such a law.

Now, suppose things had been the exact opposite… Continue reading

The History and Results of America’s Disastrous Public School System

The earliest ancestor to our system of government-mandated schooling comes from 16th-century Germany.

Image Credit: NPS Photo by John Tobiason

~ Part I ~

While it’s almost universally understood that the American school system is underperforming, “reform,” too, is almost universally prescribed as the solution. Yet in other walks of life, bad ideas are not reformed—they are eliminated and replaced with better ones. Our school system is rarely identified as a bad idea.

The system is reflexively left alone while the methods are the bad ideas that get cycled in and out: open concept schools, multiple intelligences, project-based learning, universal design for learning, merit-based pay, vouchers, charters, and most recently, educational neuroscience. Every decade or so we are told by the pedagogic experts that they have found an answer to our school’s problems. The trouble is, they’re looking right past the problem.
Continue reading

Restructuring American Education

What will it take to reshape our care-worn system? Money, talent, and time.

Editor’s NOTE: There are times when Metropolis Café finds it beneficial to take a time machine back some years – just to study how our Public Education system was being looked upon at that time. The following was written in early 2002. How far we have fallen – and the same questions are being asked 17 years later. ~ Ed.

More teachers, more vouchers, more computers, more charter schools, more tests, more federal money, more local control, more, more, more. The calls constitute a cacophony of pleas and threats, warnings and promises from public figures, parents, teachers, and other citizens – all asking for more learning.

As each call is debated, pushed, shot down, revived, and discarded again, we move around the same endless circle, once again looking for a place to stick another Band-Aid on an institution suffering from malnutrition and structural inadequacy. Continue reading

The ADHD Overdiagnosis Epidemic Is a Schooling Problem, Not a Child One

Today, children are being diagnosed with, and often medicated for, ADHD at an astonishing rate.

Childhood exuberance is now a liability. Behaviors that were once accepted as normal, even if mildly irritating to adults, are increasingly viewed as unacceptable and cause for medical intervention. High energy, lack of impulse control, inability to sit still and listen, lack of organizational skills, fidgeting, talking incessantly—these typical childhood qualities were widely tolerated until relatively recently. Today, children with these characteristics are being diagnosed with, and often medicated for, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at an astonishing rate. (Continue to Dr. Kelley’s Victory Over Cancer…)

The U.S. is a Democratic Constitutional Republic, and Yes, It Matters

James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution and primary author of the Bill of Rights, repeatedly emphasized that the United States is a “republic” and not a “democracy.” In stark contrast, Jonathan Bernstein, a Bloomberg columnist and former political science professor recently insisted:

One of this age’s great crank ideas, that the U.S. is a ‘republic’ and not a ‘democracy’, is gaining so much ground that people in Michigan are trying to rewrite textbooks to get rid of the term ‘democracy’.”

“For all practical purposes, and in most contexts, ‘republic’ and ‘democracy’ are synonyms.” Continue reading

Why Schools Must Stop Relying on ‘Best Practices’ When Teaching Writing

When it comes to writing, American kids just don’t cut it. Only 27 percent of eighth grade students achieve proficiency in the subject, according to The Nation’s Report Card.

That shouldn’t surprise us given the type of writing instruction which takes place in schools. Today’s writing instruction, a recent op-ed from The Hechinger Report explains, revolves around a child expressing his ideas on paper. Schools seem to believe that students have all the knowledge and inspiration locked up inside them. This knowledge simply needs to be let loose in order to create a written masterpiece. Continue reading

Mis-education: An inside job…

College board president behind SAT ‘adversity score’ was also the mastermind of the controversial K-12 ‘Common Core’ curriculum changes that has children just learning for a test

College Board president David Coleman

The man behind the new plan to assign adversity scores to every student who takes the SAT is the same person who championed the controversial Common Core K-12 curriculum standards that remain a point of contention among parents, teachers and political leaders in many states.

David Coleman, president of The College Board, which administers the SAT, was the ‘architect of Common Core’ – which several states dropped after its adoption due to pressure from local communities and educators, according to Fox News.

Proponents of Common Core say the method was meant to establish a baseline of curriculum standards for K-12 education, with a focus on math and English language arts literacy.

It implemented broad new standards for how much a student should know and be able to do at the end of each scholastic year, leading to what critics said was ‘teaching to the test’ – or a system in which teachers are under so much pressure to get their students to perform well on the test that other educational priorities fell by the wayside in favor of test preparation. Continue reading