The state Supreme Court, which can’t seem to mind its own business (courting and modeling robes), keeps schooling our state legislators on schools. For example, they said that the “state constitution” requires that the legislature provides for the full funding of public schools.
If some constitution told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it? What if it told you to jump off a cliff and when you didn’t jump, the state Supreme Court fined you $100,000 a day until you did?
There are 147 state legislators now being fined because they haven’t properly funded the state’s public schools. It’s $680 per day per legislator, enough to deplete a state legislator’s yearly salary in 60 days. Jump, legislators, jump!
I first heard about schools at the age of two. I then lived with my parents in Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. It wasn’t very military-ish, more like your typical suburban neighborhood with candlenut trees for shade. Children down the street played with me daily in our front yard all through that summer.
In early September, the kids said they wouldn’t be able to come around anymore, because they had to start going to school, where they would learn.
Now, at the time, I could understand a lot of speech but couldn’t speak myself, so I had no way of getting clarification on this whole concept. So, I thought, you’re all going to ditch me to go learn … at a place called “school.” Where is that? What would you learn there that you couldn’t learn in my front yard? This is all a joke, right? I didn’t even believe it was going to happen.
Dad stayed home for work for Labor Day that year and barbecued steak in the yard. The next day, all the older children that had been hanging with me vanished. Some alien group-mind must have absorbed them, and they’d all gone off to work the pod farms.
Still, I missed them, even if they were pod people. After a day or two, I decided to leave the house to go look for this school place. I didn’t know what it would look like. I pictured a larger-than-usual house-like structure with a front yard big enough for all my friends to play in, so I’d find it by seeing them out front of it, on the grass.
For the next two or three weeks, I wandered around the neighborhood looking for the school.
I never found the school. I found lizards, rhododendrons, marching fields and groundskeepers. Ironically, I had started to learn, just by looking for a place to do so.
Looking back, I think I never really found a school later, either.
Sure, there was a kindergarten and a first grade and a middle school, a high school, a college, and so forth, but they never lived up to the description I had been provided at the outset. They were supposed to be places to learn, but instead were day-prisons where the guards talked at you and gave you trouble if you didn’t pretend to listen.
Homework is a giveaway. Think about it. If the school really were a place of learning, you’d learn there, and you wouldn’t need homework. The very fact of homework is an admission that class times don’t accomplish substantial learning. The teachers don’t teach, then they send you home tasked with teaching yourself.
It’s probably too late for Washington state, given the daily fines, the shooting down of public funding of charter schools and the teacher’s strike, but, in my opinion, the whole concept of schools needs an overhaul.
Is this the best idea we can come up with regarding what schools should accomplish? To serve as daycare centers, forcing kids to do endless homework and then giving them standardized tests on what they got out of it, just to prove that at least the homework had some effect?
No wonder there’s no enthusiasm for paying for it.