Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Sometimes I think they must have wool in their ears"

I dunno, I guess I could be criticized for sometimes developing my beliefs in reverse - you know, decide what it is I like by figuring out what I don't. But, gee-whillikers, schools these days make it so darn easy to mock them. No, the following isn't from 1952:

Because people, in general, are idiots "challenged" idiots… public "traditional" schools are becoming all the rage again. Last year a school here in Victoria, in the catchment area of some unschooling friends of ours it turns out, was threatened with closure (it doesn't matter if there are no kids around anymore these days, mention "school closure" and you're sure to spark a lovely protest rally or 30). Some parents and school administrators banded together to develop a plan to re-invent the school in the "traditional" model (I can barely say "traditional school" without gagging… its like the life-sucking term "pupil". excuse me. gag.). For who knows what reasons, most parents bought into this scheme and the school district eventually reversed their decision to close the school. At the time, the leaders of this proposal admitted to not really knowing what they meant by "traditional school" but that they had heard about it happening somewhere else and that it involved school uniforms. Cool!

One of the school's three pillars in their mission statement is to inspire the human spirit through creative expression. Interesting. Below are some snippets from ye olde school of conduct that may contradict this (this is a public school):

- Students are to remain outside the school until the 8:48 a.m. bell. They then line up at the location designated by their classroom teacher
- Students must behave appropriately in the hallway: staying to the right side, single file, not talking, not running, facing forward
- Students must be polite and use Please, Thank You, May I and Excuse me (I assume that's just plain ol' simple "excuse me" and not "excuuuuuuse me")
- Parents and guardians should be the first and foremost providers of discipline for their child’s behaviour both at home and at school
- During lunch-time, students are expected to stay in their seats, speak quietly, be courteous and clean-up after themselves. Lunchroom rules are very basic and are no different than what would be expected at home
- Students in Kindergarten are usually assigned 10 minutes of homework on a daily basis
- There is a uniform dress code to foster a confident and positive sense of self and respect for the dignity and welfare of others.
- Girls may wear studded earrings only. Boys may not wear earrings at all.

Also, "racial, ethnic or derogatory slurs" and "stealing" are listed as misbehaviours that are considered "serious". Well, of course. But… given the same amount of weight, and also described as "serious", is "swearing" and "throwing snowballs when not part of a structured and supervised game".

Maybe all this isn't that outlandish after all and I'm just blindly doing the backstroke in a murky stream of naiveté? In its handbook/tome of enlightenment, the school goes on to state that "we are a no-fun, crabby-cake, backwater institution specifically designed to suck the living joy out of anyone over the age of three (heck, give us yer toddlers too!). We may pump out robotic individuals in assembly-line fashion (stay to the right please!) but gosh darn-it if our dolled-up "behaviour matrix" ain't pretty to look at".

I may have made the last one up

VIDEO Sheep by Housemartins

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