Friday, June 4, 2010

The Insanity of American High Schools

I apologize that I am not interested in accuracy, but I recall that Albert Einstein once said that if we continue to do as we have always done but expect different results, then we are insane. That, ladies and gentlemen, defines the problem with American high schools clearly.

Schools never did look to engage students in learning. Education has always been something that is done to the student. Schools discourage curiosity, questioning, thinking. Schools reward unquestioning conformity and mindless parroting. Our best and brightest are the ones who conform the most and think the least.

All efforts to educate students in the traditional American high school result in making students dependent on teachers for their learning, in allowing students to remain immature and prejudice in their thinking, in upholding all that stands in contrast to learning. And we do this with pride!

Something has got to change!

We have enabled our students to be ugly in their thinking and repulsive in their learning. People take pride in not reading. A colleague of mine--an English teacher, by God!--once admitted to me that he had read only one book in his entire life. How in name of humanity can a person go through life without knowing the joy of reading?

Some of the greatest books I have ever read have transformed my thinking, have inspired me to make a difference in my living, have made me proud of my humanity. Most importantly, my reading has made me independent of my teachers. I am not dependent on them for my learning, and that is a testimony to the good that my teachers have done. They did not want me to be dependent on them. The mark of a great teacher is that he or she becomes increasingly unnecessary. For a teacher to believe that no learning occurs without his or her being present is the ultimate self-indulgence and self-pride.

I am so very frustrated with stupid people and their damn pride in their stupidity. And I am more so frustrated with our schools' contributing to the stupidity.

When will it all end?