Ever wonder why children are divided by age? This article gives the reasons, none of which have anything to do with serving our kids!
The system rested on grade-specific textbooks. The textbooks had to provide continuity up the grades. The teachers could no longer do this. They did not know what was taught to students above or below their age-specific grades. This removed the teacher from the overall educational program. The teacher became an isolated cog in a bureaucratic machine. It placed administrators in charge. They designed the curriculum. They chose the textbooks. They ran the experiments. They adopted the fads, which came and went.
The one-room school house seems an antiquated system, and yet it was far more effective than our current one at instilling the values and knowledge we prize. Many of the Greatest Generation came from one-room schools. These days, we’d be happy knowing we were at least the “Not the Worst” Generation, if we even care, that is. And frankly, there is no guarantee it’s the case, anyway. But I digress (must like the system, which no longer teaches how to think, but what).
In his indispensable book, The Underground History of American Education, John Taylor Gatto comments on age-graded schools:
The socialization of children in age-graded groups monitored by State agents is essential to learn to get along with others in a pluralistic society. The actual truth is that the rigid compartmentalizations of schooling teach a crippling form of social relation: wait passively until you are told what to do, never judge your own work or confer with associates, have contempt for those younger than yourself and fear of those older. Behave according to the meaning assigned to your class label. These are the rules of a nuthouse. (Emphasis mine.)
What are you hoping your kids learn from their peers, when you send them off to public school? Does ageism figure into those plans?