coercion is a core function of schools

A pie chart showing how an Icelandic child’s c...
A pie chart showing how an Icelandic child’s compulsory education time will be divided over a ten-grade period.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Standardizing Human Ability | DMLcentral:  "Here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of the changes in U.S. education, from kindergarten to professional school, either invented or finalized in the Taylorist era (the same era that produced the assembly line, statistics, standard deviation, spreadsheets, blueprints, punch clocks): mandatory public secondary schooling, research universities, majors, minors, divisions, certification, graduate school, collegiate law school, nursing school, graduate school of education, collegiate business school, degree requirements, grades, required courses, electives, distribution requirements, IQ tests, multiple choice tests, item response college entrance exams (SAT), school rankings, class rankings. And learning disabilities."

 Compulsory schooling accelerates the process of school acculturation in many communities, as India has learned recently.  But once implemented, this mechanism cuts off the development of collaborative work and the responsiveness of the entire system is tremendously reduced. As compulsory attendance has been extended and extended, schools have not built supportive and collaborative ways to work with families and communities since they can rely on a stream of kids. This structure reinforces growing bureaucracies and hurts families.  Indeed, enforced attendance has been the primary policy lever of mass schooling in the United States.  The school to prison pipeline is one consequence of this approach.  This mechanism has created an institutional structure that exploits students and families in dangerous ways since it doesn't allow them any power within the system.  

Compulsory attendance part has been extended .... and extended ...  to schooling that lasts far longer than what early communities ever expected. The coercion used for a fixed number of years has become the de facto standard. Homeschool activists have had to change laws in almost all 50 US states to allow homeschooling and Europe is now grappling with similar resistance. 

Compulsory attendance laws have completely reduced the input of the users of the system. These laws have required that homeschooling families tirelessly fight legal authorities of many kinds, from truancy officers to child protective services to police. And these laws have ensured that our institutions do not have the deep connections to their communities and users that good social services must have in order to be effective. This coercive basis of schools helped schools create zero tolerance policies. These are not entirely just poor judgement calls: they are signs of the deep confusion within schools as to how they approach and handle problems. These laws have enabled schools to remain dedicated to manufacturing skill sets instead of transitioning to supporting learners who choose paths to credentials.

If innovators want to understand how to change our educational institutions, a key structural fact to grasp is the nature and effect of compulsory attendance laws on communities, families and children. It is why schools have not changed and it is why families and parents began homeschooling.

Davidson grasps this when she says:

Standardizing Human Ability | DMLcentral: "... My point in this open-ended meditation, though, is that these are invented things. Like all inventions, they are historically situated, created for a specific time and place, to solve problems of an era and address the possibilities afforded by the society, institutions, wealth, ambitions, and technologies of that time and place. Like statistics and the assembly line, the system of education we have inherited is not “timeless.” It is an industrial age invention. So is the practice of ranking students from best to worst (“one best way”), using standardized forms of testing (extending Galton’s questionnaire form to the one-best-answer or item-response test).

We invented these standardized, regulatory, categorizing, statistical, practices for determining educational success or failure for the Fordist era of the assembly line. We can invent better ones for our own era."

homeschooling is the real legacy of holt, kohl, et al and why compulsory attendance laws are limiting our ability to change schools
voluntary attendance
real school reform (and a changing view of attendance)
the compulsory attendance mindset
make public schools truly public
our educational commons
supporting families
blaming parents, blaming the family
undermining the family and the child
make public schools truly public
UN Treaty and the Rights of the Child
Enhanced by Zemanta
Post a Comment