Home > Uncategorized > Caprice Thorsen Describes What School ISN’T and What School COULD Be… IF

Caprice Thorsen Describes What School ISN’T and What School COULD Be… IF

September 24, 2018

I was drawn to a Medium post written by Caprice Thorsen because of its title: “School Violates and Child’s Right of Curiosity“. After reading it and reading an earlier article she wrote that was posted on her webpage about her failed effort to open a charter school in California because the system was rigged against a school that would not use standardized tests as the benchmark for success I knew I found a kindred spirit. Ms. Thorsen’s Medium article is short on specific ideas about how to organize a school that would be different from what we have in place now, but it is spot on in terms of identifying everything that is wrong with our current public school paradigm. Here are some of the bullet points in her article:

Schooling Purposely Destroy Inner Guidance and Ambition

Schools purposely teach children to sit passively, quietly and consume their education in preparation for a life as a good worker and consumer.

Schooling is NOT Learning

School was invented in the 1800s to fill a need in society to create a literate workforce who could obey orders and be competent factory workers. It was also created for day care for children of these workers. The wealthy rarely sent their children to these schools…

School Goes Against Nature

Children are natural learners until this inner longing to learn is trained and brainwashed out of them.

Schools Purposely Violate what John Holt calls a child’s Right to Curiosity

Youth are never given the opportunity to discover their personal purpose or gifts. They are forced to pursue of course of study that has been determined without their input…

Schooling damages peoples and limits their potential

School creates within people a deep sense of insecurity and fear. Endless comparisons, competition, grades and testing are inhumane and teach people that their self-worth can be shown on a bell curve. The school system has nothing to do with real, lasting learning.

If you were schooled into thinking that your self-worth is attached to performance, achievement, grades, teacher approval, then it’s time to wake up and re-jigger your estimation of yourself. If you continue to believe that your self-worth is connected to your stuff (house, car, job title, clothes, etc.), your credit score, your performance review, or your number of FB friends, then it’s time to wake up and start living your own life.

If you were schooled to think that you are a passive participant in your own life, it is time for you to begin to create the life that you want to live. And stop schooling your kids. The “I suffered through it, they will too” argument doesn’t work for me.

And here’s a point that I begrudgingly acknowledge as accurate… for as readers realize, I have argued strenuously that more funding is needed if we ever hope to address the inequities that exist in the schools that we have today:

Money will not Fix Schools

No amount of money will fix it because it is based upon false assumptions of human nature and how children learn. The current system, while employing many amazing well-intended educators, is deeply flawed. It is an obsolete design of a bygone era.

We force children to sit still in one room for most of the day with children of the exact same age and to absorb information as if they were empty books that need to be filled.

And here are some more of Ms. Thorsen’s points, many of which echo ones I’ve tried to make in this blog over the past several years:

We based assessments of learning on the assumption that learning is content.

Learning is not content. Learning is a neurological process. Each person has a unique way of learning — a unique process that fits with the individual neurobiology.

Parents have been distracted from the true process of learning by discussions and debates about content.

We falsely assumed that giving grades to children would be an authentic assessment of learning and the best way to motivate performance.

Authentic and useful assessments of learning require the elements of careful observation of the learning process and self-evaluation.

Learning is not a competition. Lifelong learning is the essential journey of a life well lived.

Testing and grading create a highly competitive environment in which only a few can “succeed”. Neither the “winners” or the “losers” of this false competition benefit. The “winners” are always looking to outside achievement and praise by others to have a sense that they are OK. The “losers” often give up and either settle for less in life or rebel.

Societies in which its members are the happiest and most content are cooperative and not competitive.

And Ms. Thorsen concludes with this point, which is the most salient one in the article:

There is no correlation between success in school and success in life.

While Ms. Thorsen does not offer a blueprint for a new direction in this article, when it is combined with her other one it is clear she wants the kind of life-long schools that move out of the age-based cohorts that constitute today’s factory school model and as far away as possible from anything that uses standardized tests as the primary metric for success… for nothing about testing correlates with happiness or fulfillment.

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