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Today I was talking to two 24 year olds from the USA. Of their four parents, 3 are teachers. I told them about the time when Sarah, then a teenager in Wisconsin, told me that there was a new state law about attendance.
She told me that the new law read that if a student has five days of "unexcused" absences, the student could be put in jail for up to 30 days. Sarah and I agreed this did not make a lot of sense. If they wanted her to be in school so badly, why would they punish her by keeping her out 6 times as long as she had already missed?
Now I as I think about it, it is a bit like telling someone, if you steal a thousand dollars, we are going to give you 6 thousand.
I was telling the girls that it seemed clear to me that what was most important to those in control was obedience, not learning. I told them how I have observed, during my visits to many schools around the world, that it has almost always been the case that if a student is getting pretty bad grades, but going to their school, there are no serious punishments. But if the student has the top grades in the school and is missing too many classes, according to the people in control, that student will probably be told they have to repeat the entire year of classes.
The girls both protested. One said something like "Well if a student doesn't come to class, it is a bit of a lack of respect towards the teacher."
Something bothered me about this. Something I had not thought about specifically before. I asked if I could tell them what bothered me and they said yes. I said that it seemed to me that we need to ask ourselves what really is the purpose of education. Is it that the student learn or is it to fill the teacher's need for respect? In other words, whose needs are more important in the design and operation of the system?
According to my definition of
emotional abuse, when one person is using another to fill
their unmet emotional needs without some kind of
equivalent benefit to the other person, then that can be
considered emotional abuse.
So for me, this is just one more bit of evidence that the typical, government controlled school is emotionally abusive and neglectful.
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|Note - In my first draft I wrote
...it seemed clear to me that what was most important to the people controlling the students was obedience, not learning.
Then I decided to change it to read:
...it seemed clear to me that what was most important to those in control was obedience, not learning.
One reason I decided to change it was because i don't like calling people "students", especially when some of the people in the rooms called "classrooms" are not even there out of their own free will.