A brief comment about the Conn. School ShootingMonday, December 17th, 2012
I’ve thought about writing about this tragedy, but I just could not bring myself to do it. The whole thing is utterly depressing and enraging to me. What you’ll read here is the most and best I can do.
I’ve been writing and talking for years about all the reasons people should pull their children from public schools, and I feel like I’ve had to cover the argument about children being far safer at home, many times. This mass murder committed by a very young man is very upsetting. The fact that his mother was a teacher, and that he murdered her at home, apparently, and then went to her school to murder her very young students, implies very horrible and violent truths about that public school. Clearly, at the least, this young man was not being helped, or raised or educated particularly well – the results speak sadly enough for themselves. He harbored real rage regarding that school. And a person who sees that he/she has a future seldom indulges in such rage. Education is supposed to supply that potential, that future. THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT OF EDUCATION. It clearly didn’t happen, here.
By the way, I was informed that the young man who committed this crime was homeschooled late in his schooling career. His mother – a public school teacher – pulled him from public school. Clearly this happened way too late in the day. I also wonder if this boy wasn’t on psychiatric drugs? Did the school label him – and drug him? In such mass killings in schools this almost always seems to be the case. Another horrible and extraordinarily common result of public school’s labeling children in order to “handle them”. Another issue, another day.
In the end, I think we must be grateful that we do not have to place our children in such circumstances. We are homeschoolers. We do not have to place our children in the dangerous and ineffective environment we jokingly call “public school”. At least, not yet. The law still protects most of us. How long will that remain the case? I fear that is up to us, and we need to be willing to fight for this essential right, guaranteed us in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (literally), and in our Constitution (by logical extension).
Public school is a terrible “option”. I’ve seen the silly anti-bullying commercials on TV of late, and I find myself in shock. WHY are these necessary? Clearly teachers and administrators can’t handle the problem, even though they are “on the ground”. (And then again, we know that they are often a PART of that problem, don’t we.) So now public school educators and their handlers think that very expensive TV ads will handle their school violence and bullying problem?
Or are they just pretending? Are they putting on a “show” to make it appear as if something is being done about school violence? Well, nothing is actually being done, certainly nothing effective. I believe the horrifying results speak for themselves, in school after school.
In the words of my people, Oy Vay.
And for those of you about to write and protest that this Connecticut tragedy was the result of one aberrant boy, one circumstance, and that all schools should not be tarred with this brush – grow up and read about what is happening!
In a poll of 2,000 High School students taken last year, 46% of them stated that they had been abused by other students, verbally or physically, in school during that same school year! Extended to cover all public schools, that’s over 30 MILLION ABUSED CHILDREN. And the Dept. of Ed’s 2004 report stated that between 6-10% of ALL public school children would be SEXUALLY ABUSED (verbally or physically) by TEACHERS OR STAFF during the years the student spent in public school. Other more recent reports claim it’s now between 10-11%. THAT’S SOME 7 MILLION SEXUALLY ABUSED CHILDREN – ABUSED BY PUBLIC SCHOOL OFFICIALS, STAFF AND TEACHERS!
I’ve written many articles about acts of school violence over the past two years. I have chosen not to write more because frankly, I find it depressing that things like this seem to happen in public schools pretty much every week, somewhere in the world.
This is not an isolated act, though it is unspeakably tragic. Though it may be very hard, if not impossible to gauge the real motives of this young murderer, and without excusing his guilt in this horrific act (he did it, then he’s guilty), given that acts of violence happen often in public schools, every day many times a day, certainly public schools are in part breeding these acts.
One plus one still equals two, right? Well, maybe not in public school.
And yes, such acts also happen in other places – malls, movie theaters come to mind for recent mass acts of violence. Do those places also promulgate violent acts? Well, yes, to a degree, I think they do. I won’t get into that contentious debate right now. But such places are also peopled with public school products, particularly in the U.S. where public schooling is heavily promoted, and even legally required in some sad places.
How are we doing with that, as a culture?
As the U.S. reeks with violence, as we sink on the international lists for test results in basic studies and their results, as functional literacy rates drop to precarious, new lows…as people with college degrees in hand from American Universities discover that they’re often not trained to do much of anything and, accordingly, that they’re not very employable… how are we doing? Can we be terribly surprised at what we see happening around us, given the generally terrible education most people have received? What do people do when they perceive that they have no hope, no future? What are they likely to do when they realize that they’ve been lied to by schools promising them they were being educated and prepared for life, for the world?
I think we can logically expect exactly what we’re getting. And we can logically expect things to get much worse.
Homeschool and homeschool groups, supervised by loving and bright parents, is the answer. We are on the right track.
I’m reading a 2009 book recommended to me, ‘The Beautiful Tree’, by James Tooley. (It was recommended to me by a follower on Twitter!) It speaks of private schools, small businesses that have sprung up by the many hundreds throughout Africa and Asia, in response to their disastrous public school systems. Parents and teachers have taken the education problem into their own hands, out of the hands of their wretched public schools. (And if you think American public schools are horrible – and they are – read Tooley’s descriptions of schools in Africa and Asia. They are a real tragedy.)
These African and Asian private schools are teaching the majority of students in many countries, though their public school administrators often claim that the private schools do not even exist! These private schools are run BY THE POOR, for the POOR. They are filled with children who come from broken families, or where both parents have to work. They are filled with families making $2 a day or less, who are well below the poverty line, a part of the some 50% of human beings who live below that repulsive line. Families pay as they can, but they pay very little. Limited resources are pooled, and the poorest go to private school for free.
Tooley’s book is eye-opening for me, though I advocate precisely what he’s describing! I had no idea of this movement, and I think few people do. His book is definitive proof that private education IS NOT “JUST FOR THE RICH”, the common debate point against it, and these THOUSANDS of growing and successful private schools demonstrate this truth beautifully. The impoverished people in small townships and villages have solved their education problem, and without government aid or foreign funding (read “help the kids overseas”, you’ve seen those commercials). It’s an amazing and true tale, and I recommend it, though I’m only 70 pages in.
That said, I don’t believe that schools in any form are the best way to educate a child. They lack the flexibility or freedom to service the individual child’s interests and needs, skills and ambitions. Though I do believe that taking education away from governments and teachers who haven’t a clue is a GREAT idea, and I commend this movement with all my heart. It is a wonderful step in the right direction.
I wrote my own book about this issue last year, ‘Not “Alternative Education” – Universal Private Education’. I wrote the book as a road map out of public education, into something I believe is far more productive. ‘The Beautiful Tree’ goes a long way in convincing me I’m right, and not just for the United States. I’m grateful for Tooley’s book.
Tragedies like the Connecticut school shooting unfortunately also convince me that I’m right. Homeschool your children, keep them safe, and provide them each a wonderful education. This is the most responsible stance a parent can take, today, in my opinion. It results in higher test scores, better-prepared children, even better “socialized” children in that they are children who have not “learned” to live in constant fear. It is academically and spiritually (not talking religion, I’m talking about healthy minds and souls) the best choice available to us today.
And it is the safest choice. All too clearly.