Childhood is taking a beating … pounded by ill-intentioned adults who seem in a special hurry to disease it with a certain regimentation.
Quick to poison any spontaneity or innocence … and slam kids into adulthood before their own childhood is barely underway.
What the heck are we doing?
The last decade has seen furious educational reforms. With each passing year, education became more and more worded in terms of adults … teachers, administrators, unionists, legislators, and reformists … while the language of the children became muted.
Soon enough, childhood became an obstacle to be overcome. A pedagogical handicap that stood in the way of gritty, rigor-loving pupils who would fall in line … and become obedient acceptors of a fate constructed by others.
Childhood became the great distraction that undermined the neat and precise vision of the reform geniuses who imagined an ordered and deliberate society.
A civilization so tidy and neat it could offer education in a can.
So it was necessary to remove certain childhood distractions that might sabotage the new reform … recess, the arts, social skill building, creative expressions, and the less linear subjects.
And it also became essential to eliminate certain childhood amusements … creativity, fantasy, and imagination … because those had no role in the algorithmic future under construction. Neither did joy … or smiles … or laughter.
Childhood became a serious business.
Too serious for some.
Which leads me to wonder … Who killed Mister Rogers?
Parents had to be convinced of the dire immediacy … so they were deceived with selective statistics and the excitable language of reform. Led to believe that the current century would be America’s last as a superpower … unless education was completely reprioritized. Made over. Re-booted.
Parents had to be convinced that the decades beyond were more important than the moment at hand. That they … and their very young children … had to make certain sacrifices in order to alter a scary-certain future.
America was portrayed as the slipping giant … and childhood education was an important feature of the decline.
Other nations had seen the light … Singapore, Denmark, South Korea … and made important adjustments. America had to do the same.
Parents were jolted by the impending doom that would swallow up their children before they even had their prime-time moment in life.
Reformists also lobbied their way into the political scene … and soon, bought-and-paid-for legislators were doing the bidding of savvy reform-entrepreneurs.
This coincided with the exit of an entire class of old guard master-teachers which left a stunning void filled by a new breed of educator-automatons who were very good at taking orders and collecting data.
And so the perfect storm of reform tsumanied American education. Destroying a system that had an undeniable history of innovation and successful evolution.
It was all abandoned because it was deemed obsolete. Dated. Not futuristic enough.
So mathematics was turned inside out … reading made an ordeal … and socialization became a guided, sterile activity rather than a natural process.
Kids were bolted to their chairs … and testing became more important than friendships and kindness and empathy. Reformists were determined to Miracle-Gro childhood at hyper-speed … to get it out of the way … and rob children of wonders they hadn’t had a chance to wonder about.
And now it’s all morphed into a pressurized hellhole for children who’ve begun falling apart. And it seems we are in no hurry to clean up the mess.
It’s been said that “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”