"Nothing enrages me more than when people criticize my criticism of school by telling me that schools are not just places to learn maths and spelling, they are places where children learn a vaguely defined thing called socialization. I know. I think schools generally do an effective and terribly damaging job of teaching children to be infantile, dependent, intellectually dishonest, passive and disrespectful to their own developmental capacities." - Seymour Papert

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3 Simple Reasons Why Compulsory Schooling Is Bad

  1. School tries to teach everyone the same thing in the same way. Everybody's different, but school doesn't cater to that.
  2. Way too many teachers out there (not all, of course) like to enforce their 'superiority' by punishing students for no good reason whatsoever.
  3. 'Learning' in school is done by following elaborate 'learning methods', none of which are really much more than ways to trick your brain into remembering things it otherwise would disregard.

I haven't even gotten started on bullying, and philosophical thoughts on whether it's even morally right to force anyone to do anything they don't want to do. But that's not really the point. The point is that compulsory schooling fails miserably at what it claims to do, and that is to educate people. However, it succeeds wonderfully at giving education a bad reputation - because teachers, parents, politicians and most other people buy into the idea that school is the best (and possibly even the ONLY) way to "get an education".

Here's some more recommended reading to get you started:

If you hate school and you feel like there's something wrong with you because everyone else acts like you're somehow "broken", please read this first: It's okay to hate school: There is nothing wrong with you.

If you'd like to read rebuttals to some of the more common arguments like "You'll be a failure if you don't go to school" and "School is for your own good" and all of that crap, read this: Frequently Assumed Misconceptions

For some more background on me (SoulRiser) and why I started this site and what I was thinking, you might be interested in this: Doc Johnson interviews SoulRiser Note: Doc interviewed me because he was doing research for a book he was writing, which is now finished. It's called What about Us? Standards-Based Education and the Dilemma of Student Subjectivity and I highly recommend it. It does a great job of explaining why and how things went wrong, and it analyzes a few interesting non-school models of learning (one of which happens to be the School Survival forums) :)

Recommended Articles

How to Survive School: An Introduction
Who wouldn't be ‘school phobic’? (Written by a psychologist)
Harm in the School System (Written by a social psychiatrist)
You're not worthless
Horrors! Maybe the Schools Are Working Just Fine (longer version)
List of all articles

Recommended Poems

School Frustrations by SoulRiser
Our mark in passing by Spooky Poet
Take Action by Badlands17
List of all poems

The School Survival Guide contains most of the stuff above (and a whole lot more) in one text file. You can download it here:
school_survival_guide_v1-3.zip - Version 1.3

If you prefer paper, here are some recommended books.

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