The Schooled Mind

The schooled mind is a consequence of imposed visions and definitions for the future. It crowds out the vision of the deschooled mind — the vision of the student left alone from imposed systems.

The schooled mind is simultaneously indefinite, while being the consequence of a limitedly definite systems.

The schooled mind is constricted in the options with which it operates. If options A, B, C, and D are all the ones on the test, then option E isn’t on the table.

The schooled mind is systematized and managed. English is a subject separate from Government, which is separate from Algebra, separate from Statistics, from Chemistry, History, Economics, Music, and from “the real world.”

The schooled mind is obsequious. It defers to power and to authority. It isn’t the role of the schooled student to speak up and speak out. It is the role of experts to imbue knowledge upon the not-yet-schooled.

The schooled mind is fragile. Even in classes designed to benefit from disorder and chaos, these are separate experiences from the schooled process. It is damaged by disorder.

The schooled mind is exogenously motivated. Grades, study halls, recess, gold stars are all incentives to do better on things from which the schooled student doesn’t inherently find meaning.

The schooled mind is indefinite. “Let’s get to the next level,” “let’s get an A on this next exam,” “if I just get into my top school, that’s what will be the goal here.” Any individual values it is motivated by are those values considered possible options within the schooled system. The ability to build a definite vision for the future is off the table unless the schooled student has an option to embrace the deschooled alternative for their own future and then choose schooling if that is necessary to reach their individual vision.

The Schooled Mind

Hayek and Camus Walk Into A School

There are practically as many philosophies of education as there are schools in the United States. There are the Prusso-American schools of Horace Mann’s age, there are the public schools of the No Child Left Behind era, there are parochial schools of varying denominations, there are different types of military, boarding, and prep schools, there are Montessori, Waldorf, and Classical schools, and there are even major differences in philosophy of education for styles of homeschooling.

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Hayek and Camus Walk Into A School

Let’s Abolish Childhood

Childhood is a stage of life primarily defined by being a student in most developed nations. While the concept has at least three components — legal (i.e., being less than 21 years of age in most states in the US), biological (i.e., being at a stage when most of the body is still developing — until about age 26), and social (i.e., studentdom) — it’s social component is the one by which we think of most children.

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Let’s Abolish Childhood

In Praise of Laissez-Faire Teachers

I was publicly schooled all through my upbringing (minus a Montessori pre-K that I attended) and I am — by all conventional measures — fairly successful so far in life. I can read, write, and do calculations on the right-side of a normal distribution, I was accepted to an Ivy League institution, I’ve worked on a growing startup, and I’ve written and spoken publicly. “Why then,” it is sometimes asked, “are you so opposed to the schooling that did so well for you?”

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In Praise of Laissez-Faire Teachers