You saw the video of the cop slamming the student in a grade-school classroom.
Everybody is quick to talk about race and belligerent cops.
What everyone is missing
We’re so accustomed to regimented schools, we miss what an anti-educational environment we’ve made our schools into.
Notice that during this violent interaction, none of the other students or the teacher acts with shock, to defend her, or to do anything but comply with docility to the authority of a badge.
The environment was more like a prison than what I think of as what is natural for kids, let alone a place for kids to learn. What is natural about kids sitting in rows for hours every week day, not getting to play or move around? If they are there to learn, why do we lock them in cells where they fear asking the obvious question why are you body slamming this little girl?
I grew up in schools like that. Nearly everyone I know did. Schools don’t have to act like prisons, but few think about it because we’ve accepted them for so long that we forgot or never knew there could be alternatives.
The cop is one person in a system that has taken over this country. Why should schools have cops? What have we done with our educational system that led us to require a nation of kids to submit to authority instead of asking questions? To sit still all day instead of play? To accept violence instead of run away?
What have we done that the teacher is just as compliant and fearful?
That the entire system is based on taking tests that don’t resemble anything people do in life outside of school? I’ve never seen a bubble test outside of school.
What do we expect of our nation’s future if we’ve made our schools into regimented near-prisons of violence and submission?
What we could have instead
I’ve seen classes where students move around all the time in every class, collaborating, researching, talking, and acting like you’d like adults to. They act on curiosity, not docility. And they learn more than students lined up in rows all day. In particular, they learn to behave productive and friendly.
I believe I’ve achieved a similar culture in my classes. Instead of asking “will this be on the final” or “will I ever need this in real life” they comment, quoting a student from our mid-semester feedback about our Social Entrepreneurship class:
Super honest and hands on. One of those classes where you can feel the importance of what you are studying. One of those classes that you just look forward to. I really like the flexibility in this class. I feel very supported while also free to do what I want to do.
Student-centered project-based learning achieves results like this. There’s nothing special about me or the students. All students want teaching that engages them, not cops in a room.
We can’t hold students responsible for our packing them into rooms for most of their lives. We can hold a cop responsible for his personal behavior, but not for the school posting him at a building that functions as much like a prison as an educational institution.
You and I
You and I created that system. We support it with our taxes. If anyone can do anything about it, we can.
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