When School Feels Like Jail

Thanks to Ben Werdmüller for drawing my attention to this.

This is a harrowing article, describing widespread Institutionalized child abuse, notably (but not exclusively) in a few Southern US states. It describes a brutal, broken, obscene system of education with consequences that are, as Ben puts it, jaw-dropping. I felt sick to my bones reading this. How could any society tolerate what is being done to these children? What kind of society will these children create?

The kids would be better off on the streets than imprisoned in these barbaric monstrosities. This is worse than no education at all – much, much worse. Worst of all, I can think of no more sure and certain way to cause a system like this than a system like this, so it is hard to see an end in sight for this blighted population.

It is worth noting that, though this is a very extreme abberation, it results from a set of attitudes and principles that drive most schools the world over. When teachers see it as their job to keep control, when they measure success through standardized tests and imposed targets, when control (of schools, teachers and students) is accomplished through punishment and reward, this is where it can ultimately lead. Loathsome in the extreme.

Address of the bookmark: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/11/11/when-school-feels-like-jail

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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