Sunday, September 23, 2007

School at age 3?

Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.
(1874) Benjamin Disraeli

Here in North Carolina, there is an effort afoot by researchers at a UNC Chapel Hill institute to start children in school at age 3. The child development institute is pushing for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system to host a prototype. The institute's interest is in getting people to see the education of 3- to 4-year-olds in public schools as the norm.

Some scholarly articles on the institute's effort point to research showing that early intervention with children leads to higher achievement later in their education. Intervention? What exactly would the school system be intervening in? The word intervention implies that what's being arrested is always a bad situation and they are the saviors. In some cases, yes, they may be giving an impoverished child a chance she otherwise would not have had. But why then should every child, even the ones whose family life affords them infinite benefits that the state could never provide, be subject to school at age 3? Why do these scholars assume that a classroom setting is better than family- and life-centered learning and development in every situation? Does this mean that all children should be subject to classroom learning because some children don't have the advantage of a stable, loving home?

This goes to the heart of my opposition to state-mandated education. The state wants to replace the family as basic unit of society. A stable, loving family, in whatever form it may take, is the basic building block of society. It's not the state's job to raise children for the sole benefit of being cogs in their machine. It's a family's responsibility to raise the next generation to be whatever it wants to be.

Even the language used by the article's author is a frightening testimony to just how "normal" society considers the government's "right" to educate our children. He writes "[The school] would take 750 students, from 3-year-olds to fifth-graders, from the Seawell assignment zone." Note my emphasis. We seem to think it's just fine for the government to take our children for their grand (failed) social experiment that is the public school system. Nobody questions the system, they just let the system push them around, until finally, one day, the government will find an excuse to start educating infants.

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