The first public school in America – Boston Latin School – was established by puritan settlers in 1635 in order to teach children how to read scripture. They taught Latin so that they would read and interpret the bible freely, without judgement. This was important to the pilgrims, who had fought against the monarch’s religious teachings, allowing not the individual’s interpretation of scripture. Today, the public school system cannot even mention God or creation without getting in six different types of legal trouble. We went from teaching kids how to interpret the bible to ensure religious freedom, to not allowing bibles in schools to ensure religious freedom.
Thomas Jefferson had the idea to create two different tracks for children in school. The laborer, and the learned. There was not insinuation that one was better than the other, or that one would perform better than the other, but that they would take the track that would most benefit them in their future pursuits. It’s true that we still have vo-tech schools that teach valuable skills to kids on less academic path, but we also live in a society that largely values education and degrees over skills and experience.
Jefferson had the right idea – but it was never completely seen put into action. If you’re fourteen and you already know you do not want to go to college, you are better off learning trades and interning than you are spending your entire day in a classroom. (This does not mean you don’t need a complete high school education.) If you are sixteen and you know that all you want to do with your life is become a doctor, than you should be on an all-intensive track that will especially challenge you in science. There’s nothing wrong with being a laborer, and there’s a lot to be said for the stick-to-itiveness of the learned, but when you don’t do enough to separate the two, they get lost and the work force suffers for it.
What does school actually prepare you for, anyway? I’ve never been to public school, but everyone I know that has, can’t answer that question. They don’t know how to write a resume, they don’t know how to conduct a successful interview, and they don’t know how to pay bills, or do taxes. They weren’t prepared for the real world things they would encounter just within a year of graduation. If it is not the job of educators to teach young children how to grow into a successful member of society, than why would we consider it their job to teach them about sex?
The government is so dysfunctional that they can’t efficiently deliver our mail, but we let them teach our kids. Think about that for a minute. The United States Postal Service was such an utter disaster that democrats started to demand its privatization, yet we want them to mold the minds of millions of young children. I guess our teachers weren’t that smart either. If the preferable option to the post office is a private company like UPS or FedEx, wouldn’t a preferable option to public school be a private school? It’s beginning to look that way. The more we see the effects of Common Core in action, the more we see a spike in home and private schooling.