The following is a letter to the editor of Macleans Magazine that I helped my step-daughter craft after she came to me for help (with her teachers permission) to write a response to an article about schools brainwashing children. Needless to say it was not published.
I agree that kids are brainwashed by their schools. Schools should teach kids how to think or learn instead they teach kids what to think. H.L. Mencken said the aim of public school, “... is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.”
Public schools are this way by design, based on the Prussian model that was developed to create a class of obedient factory workers and military men. How else would you describe an institution where the people (yes us kids are people) are compelled to attend, required to sit still in desks oriented towards a power figure, required to learn what the authority figure dictates, conditioned to turn our minds to a new subject and think a different way when a bell rings, segregated by age into classes that exist nowhere else in the real world, and trained that achievement is based on the judgment of an external authority figure who grades us? We are trained in obedience and conformity, we don’t even have control over our own biological needs, when we eat and use the washroom is controlled by an authority figure. What we are not taught is how to learn, to think rationally, to obtain self-knowledge, or to engage in critical thinking.
The predictable result of 12 years of government school is generations of grown-up children who appeal to mommy and daddy government to solve their problems. To think they are doing something important when they engage in popularity contests that determine who rules them. To tolerate the ruling class owning up to half their labour by way of taxation. To consume products and popular culture until they die.
Slaves that ran away from the plantation and refused to work were diagnosed with Drapetomania and prescribed lashes, and children that can’t sit still or listen to authority figures are diagnosed as defective (ADHD, ODD etc.) and drugged. It is my hope that one day children will be afforded the same rights that slaves and women eventually gained. To be viewed as the freeborn humans we are, to have our interests and preferences be noticed and nurtured and to no longer be viewed as clay to be molded to the masters vision. Btw if you can’t figure out a major root cause of bullying after this letter you may be the product of a public school.
Grade 10 student