Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why we homeschool, part 689,774

Another lovely public school story from Florida: St. Lucie teacher has students vote on whether 5-year-old can stay in class
Melissa Barton said she is considering legal action after her son's kindergarten teacher led his classmates to vote him out of class. After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher said they were going to take a vote, Barton said. By a 14 to 2 margin, the class voted him out of the class...Barton said after the vote, Alex's teacher asked him how he felt.

"He said, 'I feel sad,'" she said.

In modern American schools, frequently kids cannot play games in which score is kept. They can't play tag at recess, there are no such things as "winners" and "losers." Which is wrong - children need to learn how do deal with disappointment and failure and keep going. It is an essential part of life, and the successful people, in the end, aren't the ones who don't fail [there aren't any] - they're the ones who fail and keep going.

But this is just obscene. I doubt whether the teacher can even be fired, but (always assuming that the story is correct) jailed would be more appropriate. There is no excuse, there is no way to justify this. There's a certain amount of abuse that some children will take from other children, and it's never pleasant, but it's something people need to learn to live with. To support this abuse, to ratify it and give it the stamp of institutional authority is to inflict unspeakable damage on a five-year old. It is not just thoughtless, it is cruel.

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