Gray: School is prison

From supermemo.guru
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This reference is used to annotate "I would never send my kids to school" (2017) by Piotr Wozniak

I was surprised to find out that in one of the schools in my neighborhood, the doors to the outside are locked during classes. First floor windows have bars. Visitors need to check in and check out on entrance in a visitor register.

In my childhood, things did not look that bad. Many kids call school prison. Adults keep insisting that school is a place of learning. Few have the courage to admit the truth and agree with children. Dr Peter Gray has never hesitated about his academic reputation. He stands with the kids:

Ask any schoolchild why they don't like school and they'll tell you. "School is prison." They may not use those words, because they're too polite, or maybe they've already been brainwashed to believe that school is for their own good and therefore it can't be prison. But decipher their words and the translation generally is, "School is prison" […] The only difference I can think of is that to get into prison you have to commit a crime, but they put you in school just because of your age. In other respects school and prison are the same. In both places you are stripped of your freedom and dignity. You are told exactly what you must do, and you are punished for failing to comply. Actually, in school you must spend more time doing exactly what you are told to do than is true in adult prisons, so in that sense school is worse than prison

It is true that after schools kid often return to loving households or run wild on the playground. Prisoner do not have this benefit. However, my friend Darek Laska noticed that prison is in essence voluntary. This is not the case with schools in western world. This is why in the Declaration of Educational Emancipation, we opted for using parallels to slavery rather than prison (see: End school slavery for details).

Peter Gray has indeed nailed the quintessential problem of modern schooling: the loss of autonomy. Compulsory schooling must end

In another article in the same subject, Gray evokes adult empathy:

A job might sometimes feel like prison, to some adults, but school is a prison. Adults are not forced by law to work at a particular job, and adults are always free to quit. Involuntary servitude is illegal for adults; it’s called slavery. I don’t know of any adults who would willingly accept a job where they are so tightly micromanaged as children are at school; a job where you can’t talk with your co-workers, can’t leave your seat without permission, and are continuously monitored, tested, and compared with your co-workers in a manner almost deliberately designed to shame. More than a century ago we banned full-time child labor for children, believing it was not good for them. But now schooling has become, in time commitment, the equivalent of a full-time job and, in onerousness, something worse than the kind of full-time job that adults would tolerate


Quoted excerpts come from the following reference: