Education Reform: An Oppressive System Can't Reform Itself

I read this article in The Huffington Post about “education reform”: I don’t believe that a system designed to oppress children (and the population as a whole) can reform itself. Politicians have used the false promise of "reform" for decades now to gain votes. Politicians are aware that most people forget that "reforms" in the past have only worsened the school environment for children and caused it to be more oppressive.

Public schools are prisons and unschooling is the fastest, healthiest, most natural way out. My 17 year old son, an unschooler, has explored, invented, created and learned more in his young years than many Americans do in a life time. The most important thing is that he is HAPPY. Public school strips the joy out of childhood.

I have been researchin­g the alternativ­e school movements of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s for several years and the rhetoric in the Huffington Post article is nothing new- The "radical" change that they speak of was already attempted with passion in the late 60's and early 70's. The most successful of these attempts at radical change were grassroots efforts such as John Holt's unschooling movement and the democratic free schools movement. Democratic free schools such the The Sudbury Valley School and The Albany Free School in the USA, The Windsor House in Canada and others around the world like it are still in existence. (The original democratic school was The Summerhill School in England founded in the early 1900’s by A. S. Neill). The book, “Everywher­e All the Time: The New Deschoolin­g Reader” edited by Matt Hern, highlights many grassroots deschoolin­g approaches still in existence, including unschooling­.

Deschooling efforts like successful democratic free schools must come from families. Any effort undertaken by the sick, oppressive­, dehumanizi­ng public education system to "reform" itself will be tainted with the sickness of its oppression of youth and its agenda of contracts, globalizat­ion and Capitalism­. At best it can only offer "alternatives" such as online classes- a situation that is still teacher-directed, teacher controlled. Compulsory education was instituted in 1852 for the purpose of oppressing children, stifling free thinking and creating a willing, unquestioning factory and military workforce.  Read John Taylor Gatto’s “Dumbing Us Down” for an in-depth, rouge history of forced public education. The system can’t be reformed, it must be uprooted and abandoned. Deschooling efforts must be community-based, using the vast amount of resources already in communities, including libraries, museums and all of the resources, space and materials in the public schools that sit dormant unless prescribed. Whether through unschooling or democratic schooling, the creation of child-led learning communities must be lead by children, their needs and their passions and by parents supportive of their children’s joy and passions.