Note și reflecții pe tema educației (III)

Note și reflecții pe tema educației (III)

Problemele învățământului public obligatoriu – și tot atâtea motive pentru educarea copiilor acasă

În anii ‘80 Milton Friedman consemna faptul că multe dintre școlile publice din SUA nu numai că nu asigură o instrucție adecvată dar acestea nu oferă siguranță din punct de vedere fizic elevilor sau profesorilor. Costurile învățământului public au crescut, calitatea instrucției și a mediului de învățare a scăzut, iar analfabetismul în rândul tinerilor a crescut.

Unfortunately, in recent years our educational record has become tarnished. Parents complain about the declining quality of the schooling their children receive. Many are even more disturbed about the dangers to their children’s physical well-being. Teachers complain that the atmosphere in which they are required to teach is often not conducive to learning. Increasing numbers of teachers are fearful about their physical safety, even in the classroom. Taxpayers complain about growing costs. Hardly anyone maintains that our schools are giving the children the tools they need to meet the problems of life. Instead of fostering assimilation and harmony, our schools are increasingly a source of the very fragmentation that they earlier did so much to prevent.

(Milton & Rose Friedman, „What’s Wrong with Our Schools?”, Free To Choose, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980, pp.151)

Friedman identifică problemele învățământului public ca fiind rezultatul centralizării și birocratizării sistemului de învățământ și a reducerii rolului și implicării părinților în educarea copiilor, mai ales în orașele mari.

Public education is, we fear, suffering from the same malady … More than four decades ago Walter Lippmann diagnosed it as "the sickness of an over-governed society," the change from "the older faith . . . that the exercise of unlimited power by men with limited minds and self-regarding prejudices is soon oppressive, reactionary, and corrupt, . . . that the very condition of progress was the limitation of power to the capacity and the virtue of rulers" to the newer faith "that there are no limits to man’s capacity to govern others and that, therefore, no limitations ought to be imposed upon government.

…For schooling, this sickness has taken the form of denying many parents control over the kind of schooling their children receive either directly, through choosing and paying for the schools their children attend, or indirectly, through local political activity. Power has instead gravitated to professional educators. The sickness has been aggravated by increasing centralization and bureaucratization of schools, especially in the big cities

(Milton & Rose Friedman, „What’s Wrong with Our Schools?”, Free To Choose, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980, pp.151-152)

Dincolo de aceste aspecte mai este și atmosfera din acele școli în care copiii intră ca într-o garnizoană militară, păziți de polițiști și paznici înarmați, ca niște pușcăriași, controlați cu detectorul de metale împotriva deținerii de arme (de altfel școlile trec acest aspect la plusuri, nu la minusuri – căci susțin că asigură protecția tinerilor și profesorilor) și în care elevi și profesori declară că se tem pentru siguranța lor fizică. A privi această situație tristă doar ca o consecință a mediului social din care provin tinerii, a decăderii morale, etc., fără legătură cu sistemul educațional care a fost impus literalmente de guverne în ultimul veac, adică școlarizarea de masă obligatorie – înseamnă, de fapt, a ocoli problemele pe care le ridică învățământul de masă în forma actuală.

Dependența de învățământul formal, accentul mare pus pe aspectul informativ și instrumental în defavoarea aspectului formativ este încă o problemă importantă. Această dependență coroborată cu obligativitatea învățământului de masă și petrecerea celei mai mari părți a timpului în afara familiei a dus la infantilizarea treptată a populației tinere:

From mid-century onwards certain utopian schemes to retard maturity in the interests of a greater good were put into play, following roughly the blueprint Rousseau laid down in the book Emile. At least rhetorically. The first goal, to be reached in stages, was an orderly, scientifically managed society, one in which the best people would make the decisions, unhampered by democratic tradition. After that, human breeding, the evolutionary destiny of the species, would be in reach. Universal institutionalized formal forced schooling was the prescription, extending the dependency of the young well into what had traditionally been early adult life. Individuals would be prevented from taking up important work until a relatively advanced age. Maturity was to be retarded.

During the post-Civil War period, childhood was extended about four years. Later, a special label was created to describe very old children. It was called adolescence, a phenomenon hitherto unknown to the human race. The infantilization of young people didn’t stop at the beginning of the twentieth century; child labor laws were extended to cover more and more kinds of work, the age of school leaving set higher and higher. The greatest victory for this utopian project was making school the only avenue to certain occupations. The intention was ultimately to draw all work into the school net. By the 1950s it wasn’t unusual to find graduate students well into their thirties, running errands, waiting to start their lives.

(John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education,

Mai mult, faptul că școlarii și adolescenții ajung să petreacă foarte puțin timp alături de familie și să interacționeze mai mult cu tineri de aceeași vârstă nu are efecte pozitive așa cum s-ar crede (privind socializarea). Dimpotrivă ruperea de mediul firesc familial și social s-a dovedit a fi un mod negativ de socializare, prilej de apariție a unor comportamente teribiliste, uneori violente:

The late James Coleman, an eminent Chicago sociologist, used to teach that it is good for children to be raised within mixed age groups and dangerous to have them grow up within same-age peer groups. For him, the small farmer family where young and old worked at their different tasks on the same farm, and the community of master and apprentices in the workshop, were the ideal educational environments. Adolescents thrown together in the school and “hanging out” together after school ran a high risk that too much of each other’s company would coarsen them and make them form gangs where outrageous behaviour earned them peer admiration. This is perhaps the right juncture to remember the sinister story of compulsory social re-grouping on a wildlife reservation in East Africa. The elephant population was growing too dense. To relieve the pressure, substantial numbers of young elephants were captured and placed several hundred miles away in an area where only a few elephants lived. After a while game wardens in that area began to find corpses of rhinoceros crushed to death by unexplained blows or pressures. The mystery of these deaths was solved when gangs of up to a dozen young elephants were observed chasing rhinos at full gallop. Catching up with one, they overturned and stomped it to death. It was concluded that being forcibly taken out of their family environment and thrown together with their peers has turned them into coarse, wanton hooligans.

(Anthony de Jassay, Compulsory education is delivering contestable results. Governments seek a remedy by providing more of it., & Cristian Comănescu, De ce rinocerii tineri își calcă părinții în picioare?)

Vezi și:

Note și reflecții pe tema educației (I)

Note și reflecții pe tema educației (II)

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Ionela Bălțătescu

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