| Although you may have been taught to believe differently, public schools tend to have very negative impacts on the development of a child’s creativity, sense of ethics and autonomy. From the first day in kindergarten until the last day of senior year, ‘kids’ are told to “treat others as [they] want to be treated.” Actions speak louder than words. Unfortunately, the staff members at public education facilities treat students as if they have “authority” over them, ingraining the message that it is acceptable to treat other people like property — though I doubt they wish to be treated that way. A ‘child’ can learn all of the skills that one may deem ‘critical’ without being subjected to the hypocrisy and demand for blind obedience in the public school system.

I believe that it is more important to teach children the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ than to teach them to follow rules that someone with purported authority sets for them. Government schools teach children that they need to comply with the demands of teachers, principals, police officers, and other individuals who are portrayed to have a higher level of authority. Giving a child the impression that they are required to obey orders without question diminishes their ability to make decisions based on logical reasoning and conscience. I would prefer to teach my children to live in ways that do not aggress upon others, use critical thinking skills and come to their own conclusions as opposed to blindly following orders and accepting what they are told without question.

In addition to conditioning students to be compliant with authority, public schools prevent students from reaching their maximum potential academically, socially, and intellectually. All students are expected to learn a general assortment of knowledge and skills instead of thriving in a specific area. Naturally, different people excel in different areas and are interested in different topics of study. I’d prefer to see each of the (approx.) 1,750 students that attend Keene High School spend their time studying and improving skills in areas they are actually interested in rather than the generalized, ‘government approved’ curriculum provided (I bet they would, too). Public schools are very bad at catering to the needs of individual students’ learning speeds, abilities and interests, regardless of the subject. Although a teacher will “teach” more slowly in order to meet the needs of students with difficulty keeping pace with the ‘average’ student, someone with accelerated learning abilities will not be accommodated so that they can reach their maximum potential. I’m not even going to begin to discuss the government-worshipping, ‘government-approved’, (obviously) biased curriculum.

Public schools teach children to be dependent on ‘authority’ figures instead of giving them the skills they need to solve problems creatively and independently. Teaching children to depend on others from an early age is not beneficial to them. People learn that when they have an issue or a dispute with someone, they should tell somebody with higher “authority” so that they can deal with the problem for them (i.e. principals, law enforcement). There is nothing wrong with asking people for help sometimes. The problem arises when people become accustomed to having other people solve their problems for them. A desirable alternative, in my opinion, is to help children improve their communication and problem-solving skills so they are capable of finding acceptable solutions to their problems independently.

The most important thing I’ve learned throughout my twelve years of public schooling is that if I ever have children, there are alternatives that would be much more educational, beneficial, and preferable than public school.

By Kager