Presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted:
Many of our high school students check out because they don’t feel they are learning things that will actually be relevant to them. We should be teaching them financial literacy, positive psychology, communication and healthy use of technology in high schools.
No we shouldn’t. Not just because there are as many ideas of what education ought to be as there are individuals — the incessant debates about curriculum aren’t worth it, save it for another battle. It’s because the second line of the above tweet reeks of tyranny. “Financial literacy” for whom? Each individual, after all, has their own tolerance for risk and life goals, one size fits all doesn’t work here unless you want everyone to be equally risk averse. “Positive psychology” — all the rage in Middle Class America — hasn’t worked because it turns out overthinking and denying certain emotions isn’t healthy. “Communication,” which they already try and fail to teach in most English classes, sounds like an invite to Orwellian language police. And finally, what’s “healthy” and what the fuck does “technology” mean? What’s more problematic, the toilet or the phone when I take a shit while texting?
Yang’s right, many if not most high school students check out. As they should because most people learn from working, not from lecture and whatever they’re learning at 98 percent of schools is garbage anyway and they know it. They’re not learning algebra or trigonometry, they’re learning how to pass those classes to get a virtue signalling degree. What makes people think a “financial literacy” class would be treated any differently at the high school level? People learn financial literacy and anything else when they want to, not when someone tells them to learn it.
Kids, be like Donnie. He’s a good boy because he tells teachers to fuck off when forced to learn touchy-feely bullshit.
Why We Shouldn’t Fix the Problem
Because it’s like teaching a dog to climb a tree, it’s a waste of time. Just because a few dogs have climbed trees doesn’t mean we should try to teach all dogs to do the same. To satisfy your curiosity, here’s a clip of a dog climbing a tree:
Would you be disappointed in your dog for not climbing a tree like the one in the video? Then why are we trying to fix schools, which are just dogs trying to teach dogs to climb trees? Most dogs don’t want to climb a tree and most people don’t learn in a classroom setting. Stop lying to yourself, what the fuck did you learn in school other than how to pass courses without learning anything? Can you even do basic algebra and geometry, can you manipulate a binomial equation and finish a geometric proof and explain the point of doing so?
Again, most people learn by DOING what they want to do, not by being told what to do. Leonardo Da Vinci never had a formal education, he informally learned Latin, Geometry, and Mathematics before beginning his apprenticeship at a leading workshop at age 14, where he “was exposed to both theoretical training and a wide range of technical skills,including drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, metal working, plaster casting, leather working, mechanics, and wood-work, as well as the artistic skills of drawing, painting, sculpting, and modelling” (wiki). Bill Gates taught himself to code when he was in 8th grade, not from any class at Lakeside and Harvard, and used this skill to create mischief that later became Microsoft. Same with Mark Zuckerberg, except he read “C++ for Dummies” his dad got him when he was 11 years old so he could create fun games for himself and his sisters. If the geniuses of past and present lived a life of technical pursuits supported by theoretical training, then why are we forcing kids to learn abstractions they won’t understand without proper technical experience? You can’t use the clerical approach to education — schools were originally created to train clergymen — if you’re trying to provide technical training. And if all the geniuses in history learned primarily by doing, then why are we living life ass backwards?
Telling kids what schoolwork is relevant to their lives instead of letting them figure it out for themselves is an even worse idea, that’s how people lose their individuality, when they’re taught to think and act like everyone else. (And they’ll make up for their lost individuality with shallow expressions of individuality in dress, hairstyle, etc.).
Let Kids Choose
Let schools do whatever they want to do, it’s nobody else’s business. But what we can do is let people, after they graduate from 8th grade, choose their own coursework, if they want to take any at all. This is similar to how Andrew Yang wants tech tax dollars to go to the people instead of the government — trickle up economy — so the people can choose individually how that money should be spent. Put simply, end mandatory education at 8th grade, and let people decide what’s relevant to their lives, whether it be coursework or work, and without stigma. That’s how it was — most people started to work after 8th grade, just as Da Vinci did — when the US grew into the superpower that’s now strangling itself because of its eroding freedoms, including the freedom from having to attend Education Camps. Let’s get back to what worked for the people, not the education-industrial complex that’s more concerned about legitimizing its existence than educating people.
Why School is Bad For You
And not just because it’s inefficient and mostly ineffective at educating people. The most insidious part of school is that turns students into mental cripples dependent on being spoon-fed by teachers in order to learn anything. It turns people into slaves, really. At the same time — and this is what’s really sick and twisted about schools — they convince their students that they’re actually getting smarter and more educated solely because they’re in school, even though they’re not learning much there and would learn a lot more by making, fixing, and experimenting with things, as Steve Jobs had.
So you end up with graduates who think they’re smart just because they have a diploma. And that they’ll be even smarter if they spend more time in school and collect more diplomas. For some, school becomes a fetish except it costs a lot more than the schoolgirl panties that some Japanese guys sniff to sleep.
How to Go to School Like an Asian
Asians do well in school because they DON’T follow the pace set by teacher and they learn most of the material AT HOME (during the Summer), not at school. That’s why they go to churches that provide free tutoring. That’s why they borrow from library extra math books, so they can drill, drill, and drill through the summer and every weekend during the school year. That’s why they start studying for the SATs in 7th grade instead of never. That’s why they save enough to go to summer robotics camp, so they can figure out how to have fun with Math and Physics. They think of schools as the place to test knowledge and skills in a competitive setting, not as a place of learning.
It was the same way for Da Vinci, Mozart, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln…all the way up to Mark Zuckerberg, who got his start at age 11 with a “C++ for Dummies” book. For them, learning primarily takes place at home, in the community, and at work — as it had been for hundreds if not thousands of years — not at an Education Camp. They became who they are because they understood that if you can’t learn something on your own, you won’t learn it at school. The difference between top students and average students is mindset, nothing else.
Most people learn by doing, not by listening. Which means people should begin work the moment they can, not at some arbitrary age decided by bureaucrats who think of people as data rather than as individuals. Work, not school, is where one becomes educated, school is just a supplement when needed. By living life ass backwards, we are, in former teacher and anti-school activist John Taylor Gatto’s words, “drilled in being bored, frightened, envious, emotionally needy, generally incomplete” because “life, according to school, is dull and stupid, only consumption promises relief: Coke, Big Macs, fashion jeans, that’s where real meaning is found, that is the classroom’s lesson, however indirectly delivered.” And you still want to send people to school against their will, you still want to try to fix it?
Or we can make school optional and return to the apprenticeship model of learning that has reliably produced the greatest minds in history.