Since I'm addressing primarily anarchists and communists I'll keep this short sweet and to the point - Authority. In school children have to follow the school rules, be taught by the people the school deems suitable to teach them, do what those teachers tell them to do and in some cases even dress in the manner the school deems suitable or be punished. Is it any wonder most people grow up blindly accepting the fact that some kind of authority (i.e government/state) is needed to keep everyone in line? They never learn to question authority because they're punished everytime they do and never allowed the chance to think for themselves because they're forced to learn the same things as everyone else and on subjects that don't interest them
As Ron Miller once said - 'There are economic, political, and deeply rooted religious reasons why modern society is essentially conservative and elitist. Untamed human impulses are not trusted. There is a belief that if children are not schooled in the rules of capitalism, republican citizenship, and morality, there would be anarchy, leveling (an attack on private property), and social upheaval. According to this view, there can be no real freedom amid such chaos'
We'd be pretty terrible anti-authoritarians if we said 'Freedom for all' and added the disclaimer 'Apart from anyone under 18'
What are the alternatives?
- The obvious - Homeschooling
- Natural/Child-led learning
- Waldorf schools
- Montessori Schools
- Democratic schools
- Free Schools
The problems with homeschooling should be self-evident to anyone who isn't a right-wing christian evangelist headcase (Children are not the property of their parents). We can also discount the second option because it's essentially homeschooling in disguise("Hey daddy whats this 'bible' thing""It's the absolute truth son and if you fail to follow every one of its contradictory and sometimes downright outrageous rules you'll go straight to hell"), the waldorf and montessori methods are essentially the same as regular schools with the emphasis on different parts of the childs development (imagination and physical learning respectively) which leads us to the two methods most likely to interest all you anti-government types. Democratic schools and free schools. Democratic schools (as the name suggests) are run on democratic principles (In fact it's amazing to think with the amount of times democracy is held up as the ultimate ideal in our society our schools are still practically dictatorships). The problems are of course the same with regular democracy. These schools basically hold meetings every once in a while and discuss issues and vote on them. A little more information can be found about these in this article. It's certainly better than our current schooling system (And surprising that it's not a more widely accepted concept considering how much democracy is held up as an ideal in our society) but there is one more option that far surpasses this
Now for what I consider to be 'the big one'. As an indicator as to the nature of Free schools the roots of such schools can be found in the anarchist schools of spain that started to spring up in the late 19th and early 10th centuries. A wiki article about free schols (which mentions both the anarchist method and the aforementioned democratic method but which focuses more on he anarchist method). Anarchist free schools (Often pruposely spelt 'skool' to distinguish them from their more oppressive counterparts) are based on principles of autonomy and self-reliance and are run in an entirely egalitarian manner (Free Skool Santa-Cruz: "We are all students, teachers and organisers here") classes are held in informal settings on a variety of topics usually with students deciding what they would like to learn about and people being found who are willing to teach those subjects
The Importance of Free Schools to the Anarchist Movement
As I've already said, we'd be pretty terrible anti-authoritarians if we didn't extend our anti-authoritarianism to the younger members of our society. Free schools strike at the heart of the issues by allowing children to think for themselves from an early age instead of the current system which forces them to cede to the will of others in an effort to 'prepare' them for capitalist wage-slavery. Kids are people too and people aren't commodities
That's all I've got to say on the subject for now. Peace out y'all