Let’s talk about school. I hated it. I think a good portion of us did, especially if you, like me, went through the American public school system. It was boring and dull, and though I wasn’t bullied or harassed, I didn’t gain any useful social skills out of it, either. Fortunately for future generations, there are new schooling methods on the horizon, some of which could cause massive changes in our society.
The current standard schooling model was developed in the 1800s, to give a minimum education to every child and turn them into healthy, obedient factory workers. I’ve heard the model originated in Prussia; I know more about the Victorian English version, which also produced good workers and was championed by religious reformers who were horrified by the thought of poor children growing up in a Godless wasteland because they couldn’t read the Bible.
Wherever our current schooling model originated, or why, it’s apparent that the model works best for average children. That only makes sense. The originators had to come up with a standard, so they chose one that worked for the pupils clustered in the center of the intellectual bell curve, allowing a majority of children to get an okay-ish education. So children are placed in classes with everyone else of the same age and are taught at the speed of the average child, or a little slower, on the theory that it won’t hurt the smart kids and will be successful in teaching an extra few of the slower ones.
That’s the standard, and while it’s allowed nearly everyone in the Western world to acquire the basic of reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic, it’s terrible for anyone at the ends of the bell curve, or even people who are a little above average. Anyone wonder why girls are doing better in school than boys? It’s not only an effect of feminism; it’s partly because boys tend to cluster at the ends of the intellectual bell curve (more geniuses and more morons) and girls tend to cluster near the middle, so the ‘teach to the average kid’ model catches fewer of the boys.
It leaves a portion of the girls out in the cold, too. I always brought a book to class, from the time I could read, because I was likely to finish an assignment before most of the other kids and would have had to sit and do nothing for twenty minutes while everyone else was still working. Most of my reading material consisted of small paperback fiction because it was easy to carry around. I love fiction; it’s a wonderful way to duck into someone else’s life without getting arrested for voyeurism. But my time would have been far better spent in actually learning something. The teachers didn’t care what I was reading, as long as I was quiet- I tested this theory by bringing bodice rippers to my high school classes, and was a bit disappointed when no one commented.