STUDENT ACTION PAGE
1. Do you believe that your time has too often been wasted in school?
2. Do you believe that students are almost completely powerless in most schools and that your voice has not been heard by anyone in authority for most (or ALL) of your time there?
3. Have you seen students treated unfairly or do you believe that students are too often not understood or given the respect and consideration they deserve?
4. Do you believe that grades and tests fail to provide accurate indicators of the capabilities and intelligence of students?
5. Do you understand that teachers are forced to follow a curriculum and to maintain “order”, quiet, and many rules that are considered essential for students to learn, even if they know that kids typically need to be much more mobile and able to express themselves and to interact?
6. Do you believe that school would be a more inviting and hospitable place if attendance were not mandatory and if instead of an authoritarian atmosphere, it could be less rigid, restrictive, controlling, and focused on student interests, questions, and needs?
7. Do you believe that you were born with a great capacity to learn and acquire knowledge and that students at any age should be free to make as many choices as possible and given respect and dignity, without being programmed and conditioned to think or behave in certain ways or drilled with ideas that are arbitrarily selected by so-called experts?
8. If there were no compulsory school attendance laws, do you believe that you would have stayed in school for as long as you have? Would others stay in school, or would their parents force them to attend anyway?
9. Do you believe that school can become less like prison while students are required to attend and while government at any level has the power to decide what will be considered a “good” education and what will not be permitted?
If your answers were all “yes” except for questions eight and nine, you have come to the right place. The really important question is what can be done to cause meaningful changes to take place and how can you be part of the process.
We believe that schools cannot be “reformed” and that things will not get better for more than a small percentage of students as long as there are attendance laws that require an authoritarian atmosphere with a bureaucratic hierarchy. If everyone MUST attend, there MUST be a million rules and a rigid authority structure to carry out the law.
Not all students feel as if they are too confined, restricted, or controlled in school. In some areas children have a large degree of freedom to choose and to express themselves (autonomy). In economically depressed areas and certain other districts, there is more pressure to conform and fewer resources for safety valve activities and adequate staff, space, equipment, and materials. But, even in the areas where kids have advantages, they know that they must either be obedient and willing to play the academic game, or they will quickly find themselves on the outside looking in with no diploma to take to employers.
If you are not satisfied with your own school experience and if you are concerned about others or with what your children will likely have to endure when you have them later (assuming that most students don’t have a child yet), do you hope that you can find ways to participate in real change?
Please do not get suckered into any of the dime-a-dozen, flavor of the week fads and schemes that school reformers and privatization radicals peddle constantly. There are thousands of well-meaning advocates and not a few self-serving “educrats” who come up with all sorts of splendid plans for fixing what is wrong, but they are ALL bogus and they are ALL merely different versions of tired old ideas that have failed in the past. The principal root problem is the law that forces parents to send their kids to schools that are managed under the auspices of the state.
If you are sincere and if you are angry to see that so many school officials, administrators, employees, and supporters are going around in endless circles while kids are bored stiff, humiliated, neglected, depressed, alienated, mis-educated, and subjected to a politicized environment that creates more cynics that engaged citizens, contact us and let us know that you have not been brainwashed like so many others.
We are asking for input and for support and we are struggling to get our nonprofit organization off the drawing board and into the next phase. We ultimately expect to find students who will join together to challenge the compulsory attendance laws based on the damage they do and on their inhibition of meaningful educational progress for so many young people. If you will study the pages here and do your best to understand the dynamic that leads from mandatory schooling to mediocre performance, inept citizens, and a population that is too easily manipulated and controlled and anti-intellectual in their beliefs and attitudes, you will be well on your way to being part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Please introduce your friends to our site and learn all you can about the history of failed school reform over the last century and longer. Read the literature that presents an honest and objective perspective on schooling and education in our country. Do not accept blather and "happy talk" from people who assure you that things are changing because of new technology, a handful of alternative schools or "experimental" programs in schools, media attention, or other panaceas. Do not let anyone accuse you of being a Utopian because you believe that schools can become better places for children by the elimination of compulsory attendance and all that goes with it. Realistic and sensible change cannot come about through any other means.