Does School Teach Kids to Survive and Thrive?

29 05 2007

Valerie blogs today about schooling and disaster survival, which sent me off to dredge up my Culture Kitchen musings from last year:

“Does School Teach Kids to Survive and Thrive?”
I’m thinking, what’s best for kids if their school can’t be accessed, maybe isn’t there at all? . . .[Hurricane Season starts Friday!!]

. . . bird flu could be a disaster in which, rather than keeping schools open as essential, survival preparedness may depend on CLOSING schools, and keeping them closed long-term.

If schools had to be shut down for our mutual survival, which kinds of “education” would be the best prepared, for the least disruption? We’d soon need to climb back up Maslow’s ladder. Virtual learning from home, maybe small groups of neighbors enjoying home libraries — call it what you will — would suddenly look a lot smarter than what we’ve legislated and labeled as public education policy during my lifetime.

And to carry the thought further, which kinds of education (if any) are best preparing future citizens to survive, and even help prevent, all manner of potential catastrophes to come? I’d put a high premium on self-reliant yet socially responsible technology, schedules, lifestyles, networking, world views and income generation. The kinds of learning based on intrinsic motivation, privacy and sustainability, learning that doesn’t require or prepare people to live and work in assigned dorms and barracks under constant public supervision and scrutiny.

Public school protectionism is sorry public protection. So why would we want that doctrine undergirding the entire third-millennium curriculum, and why would we accept union politicians as best equipped to control how all kids learn to think, plan and problem-solve?

I think our kids need to learn differently and do differently, SO much better than we did and so far past school. Someday soon they’ll replace us as thinkers, caregivers, problem-solvers, diplomats, designers, and story-tellers. (If they survive!)

I believe preparing ourselves to prepare them, will require new learning and creative cultural-political change on our part first, changes for which the lessons of our grandparents (as interpreted through our own schooling) didn’t prepare us that well, either. . .



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