Monday, July 4, 2011

Speak Out, Children!

This little entry is a result of my having finally watched a movie that I ended up detesting, which everyone else apparently loved, which is typical. The movie was Waiting For Superman, a socialist's idea of what is wrong with education in America and what they think needs to be done to fix it. Why do I say it was "a socialist's idea"? Because it was directed by David Guggenheim, the same man who directed Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, which was "man-made global warming" propaganda...uh, excuse me, climate change propaganda, because, since the Earth never dangerously warmed up as it was touted it would do, it became more all-encompassing to blame mankind whether the Earth warms up or cools down.

Because it is all about laying a global blanket of government control over every single human action, and what more reason to do so than to "save the Earth"? Since there truly can no longer be a "Big Brother" to worship (since everyone knows that "Big Brother" will somehow end up participating in some kind of a sex scandal and therefore not worthy of any admiration)--unless you live in North Korea, where the "big brother" is "Ill"--it works out much better to impose a "Giant Gaia" that is blissfully free of any human foible. And this one can become quite as angry and punishing as any Old Testament God, as shown by one of the most powerful pictures I have ever seen, which I happened to come across again last night:



That's a "Thailand beach scene" from the Tsunami that occurred several years ago. At first glance, all you see in that photo is rubble, but if you zoom in, you will see the picture is also filled with human bodies. That's what can happen on Gaia, but it isn't hurting Gaia one bit, it only hurts living beings and their constructs. As for Gaia, she just keeps on going on and on, and will continue to do so eons after we are all long gone.

As I was washing dishes this morning, I realized that in America, the skill of persuasion techniques, in other words, "mass media", have been honed to laser sharpness so that there no longer is the need for any bloody conquering of the people and their freedom, like, say, in Lenin's Russia or Mao Tse Tung's China. Instead, the majority of the people are so brainwashed that no weapon needs to be drawn, they just offer up their wrists and beg to have the chains locked on. And these days, it seems that the average academic with a PhD is even spouting the same propaganda. On-line philosopher, Stefan Molyneux, whom I greatly admire, call the "academic class" the modern-day version of "the priesthood" from the Dark Ages.

But before you get to being fully propagandized by that college-level priesthood, you first have to get through elementary and high school. And thus comes in Waiting For Superman.

Now, please don't get me wrong...I am very much in favor of "education", but I am NOT in favor of "schooling". I remember back on September 11, 2001, the famous video clip of "deer-in-the-headlights" President Bush in that Florida classroom having just had news of the second jet crash into the World Trade Tower whispered in his ear. Immediately, everybody got it wrong. First, there was constant talk about "Bush reading a story about a little girl with a goat to school children." And second, there was talk all about Bush, himself, and his reaction...did he show utter incompetence instead of hopping into action ("We were being ATTACKED!"), or does the mask of his face indicate that he KNEW this was going to happen, or something else something else, yammer yammer yammer.... I say "yammer yammer yammer" because as much as people discuss these things, they will never know the actual answer, because falseness and misconceptions, whichever ones become manipulated into the mainstream, if those serve the purpose of the politically powerful and "approved historians", they will end up becoming "the truth" that will forever be taught and believed by the majority.

I very quickly understood that no matter how much "expert analysis" there was, President Bush's face wasn't going to have revealed anything to us so discussing THAT was a waste of time. But where I placed my attention was back on that first actual fact that was immediately twisted around...it was NOT President Bush reading to the children, it was the CHILDREN reading to President Bush. And how they read chilled me to the bone.

One of the things that most shocks me these days is how quickly and how bold-facedly the mainstream media will lie, even when the evidence of the opposite is right there in front of everybody's face! This is double-speak in action. Anyone who ever saw that video clip KNEW that Bush was not reading to the children, the children were reading to Bush, and yet, all you ever heard was "Bush reading a story to school children". Why am I making a big deal out of this? Why does it matter? Shouldn't it matter when you hear the news media and everyone around you parroting the same twisting of a simple fact that you saw with your own eyes? And why did they do that? I guess it was because it "softened" the President, made him more compassionate and loving (because maybe they had some understanding of what was soon going to be coming down the pike...Homeland Security, TSA, recording everybody's telephone conversations and e-mail, never-ending war with the Middle East, torture of prisoners, ever-deepening violation of the Bill of Rights); "Aw, there he was when this evil enemy was attacking us, reading a story to school children!" (and it was even a whole school of black children, which makes it even better!). Oh, what a nice President he is!

I don't mind people thinking he was a nice President, if he truly is, but let's have it be based on reality, not propaganda.

But, even worse, and this is my main point, was, as I said above, how those school children read to him. They were like Nazi soldiers goose-stepping past an Adolph Hitler with his arm held up in "Heil" pose. This is how I imagine the school children read in North Korea today. A very militarized, in unison, marching to a teacher beating a lecturn with stick (hidden message--we can beat YOU with this stick if you get out of line) form of reading, and it didn't even have to be in English, just meaningless sounds uttered on command, for there was no indication that the students had the slightest command or understanding of anything they were reading. This was really just a DRILL. They call this reading, they call this teaching, I call this boot camp for cogs in the lowest machine we've got. Yes, THIS must be the dream of the political elite for black children in school. And since white kids all want to be black, now, listening to hip hop, making up rap rhymes, calling themselves by rapper names, wearing baggy clothes falling off their butt, making gang signs whenever a photo is taken of them, they'll be the ones next up for the "military school" hopper. Well, America has no jobs for them, anyway, so why not? There's plenty of room for them in prison, where they can make license plates (California) or check the accuracy of state income tax filings (Idaho) or clean up trash along the highways (North Carolina), etc. Now THAT'S Obama's "public service work camps" for you!

And our President was there, visiting a school whose "reading program really works"! (This isn't against Bush personally; any one of them could have been there.)

So what do the makers of Waiting For Superman think "really works"? And, oh, in case you didn't get this, what "shows" what "really works" is getting better scores on standardized government proficiency tests. Shall I say that again--getting better scores on standardized government proficiency tests, in other words, how well did they learn taught "FACTS" that the government wants them to learn. There is no such thing as a government "entrepreneurial" proficiency test, or an "inventor" proficiency test, or a "thinking in a dimension so far unknown to the rest of us" proficiency test. Actually, I found myself accidentally writing "efficiency" test instead of "proficiency" test, so even my own right brain understood before my (government taught) left brain did, that that's what these tests really are, efficiency tests. How well have they learned the skills that their masters want them to learn.

Skills are for workers, whether manual or clerical and maybe even managerial. Employees.

Thomas Edison was kicked out of school because "he could not learn", which nowadays would mean "he couldn't learn skills". Yet while still a child, he made a fortune repairing an old printing press and using it to publish a newspaper while he worked in the baggage compartment of a passenger train. And then, of course, after that, he became an inventor. (There is, of course, a controversy about how much he actually invented and how he much he grabbed someone else's ball and then successfully ran with it, but then the same could be said about Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, or even the youngest billionaire in the world, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.) Or, how about John Stuart Mill, who had an estimated IQ of 200 (compare that with Einstein's IQ of 160), who could not and did not learn to read until he was 12 years old. I guess you could say that John Stuart Mill would have been sent to "the drop out factory".

But where does Waiting For Superman find the kind of standardized-test-taking-skills-improvements that they think comes out of better schools? Well, schools that have better teachers, for one thing, but also schools that are closer to what I think of as the "totalitarian" ideal...schools with LONGER HOURS, schools that operate ALL YEAR ROUND, EVEN ON SATURDAYS, and STARTING KIDS OFF MUCH EARLIER (all of which, by the way, really works out for working-class parents who have to struggle to obtain a place to keep their kids during that otherwise "empty" 3:00 to 6:00 after school period). If the motivation of the state is to separate control of the children from their parents, these concepts work out really well for them. There was even an elementary school boarding school that this movie was recommending (with, good God, THREE children per dorm room), so if the motivation was to take the children away from their families, this was the ultimate!

This whole thing actually reminded me of Orson Scott Card's science fiction novel, Ender's Game, in which the Earth was eternally at an inter-galactic war and so the (global) government was breeding special "military geniuses" whose entire purpose was to be soldiers in this inter-galactic war and they took them away from their families (but it was considered an honor to be chosen), put them in a special school, and started them off with this military training very, very early. It's interesting that the Earth's enemy was a race of intelligent beings that were "ant-like", and so I saw that it must have been fitting to breed a special class of human "soldier ants" whose lives would be sacrificed for the planet in order to fight this "ant" enemy.

Because, again, none of this is to truly "educate" them, but to indoctrinate them and then train them for a specific level of task that the government wants them to willingly fill. It is NOT about these children discovering and understanding who they are and what they really want, since, of course, they have few moments to devote to that crucial discovery. No solitary time, no time to play, no summers off to explore, just drill drill drill.

Maybe people differ with me about what an education really is. I will have to use my own example, growing up and going to school. This is something I noticed when I was in high school. In almost all my classes, there was a particular girl with whom I felt I was in competition for getting the better grades. But one day my junior year in high school, I had a discussion with her that revealed to my way of thinking that she really wasn't very smart at all. In a flash I understood that she really didn't actually "know" anything, but she was extremely good at memorizing. I am terrible at memorizing, and so I very often fail to do it, so if it is a "facts" recitation that you need, I very well may come up empty. But she, on the other hand, could call up those facts in a flash, but a conversation with her will reveal that she doesn't really understand those facts at all (or draw any inferences from them), she can only parrot them back out. I learned, then, that there are two kinds of students, the "memorizers" and the "figure-outers", and so often it is the memorizers who come across as the better students. And yet, who is really more valuable in the long run are those who can figure things out, which to me means figuring out ANYTHING, regardless of subject (and, especially, cross-subject), so it really doesn't MATTER what you actually "learn", you can figure it out on your own. And, especially now, thanks to computers, facts can all be at your fingertips, but until we have highly-developed artificially intelligent computers, no machine can take the place of those who can figure things out.

So a true education needs to reward and support that kind of person...although one might argue that THEY don't really need to go to school at all. Oddly enough, even this movie, Waiting For Superman, actually graphically SHOWED what their belief is, and that is that it is the teacher's job is to fill up students' heads with facts (I think they called it "knowledge", but if it is something that a teacher can pour into a student's head, then it is "facts"), and they actually showed a cartoon of a teacher walking along school children sitting in their rows of desks, lifting up the top of their heads, and pouring in a swill of facts.

I do agree with one of the propositions of the film, and that is that truly good teachers can do a good job of helping students learn, and bad teachers can harm them, and the mediocre teachers just pass them along. It is shocking to hear the statistics of how many California high school graduates who are in the upper percentiles of California high school graduates nevertheless need up to TWO YEAR'S worth of remediation in order to actually begin college-level work. In other words, those aren't really college-level students at all, and yet the colleges have to accept them if they want to fill up all the available spaces.

However, in my view, as helpful as it is to have a good teacher, and how damaging it is to have a bad teacher, one doesn't REALLY NEED a teacher at all, except, perhaps, as a kind of sometime tutor to help a person understand something temporarily difficult. (In a way, this is the college method, whereby "school" is a giant lecture hall where some boring professor drones on and on, and the real learning is going on inside of you back in the dorm room or quiet library with all your texts, and if something isn't quite clear, you can get specialized help from your section T.A., who is a graduate student only a few years older than you are.) To me, the most important factor is the TEXTBOOK, and, my God, those seem to be so dumbed-down these days that it horrifies me even to open the pages of one. If I had to go to elementary school today and had to work my way through the thick slough of a modern-day dumbed-down textbook, I would have literally exploded with frustration. Is there any wonder that kids would rather just play video games? (But, uh oh, that's just like Ender's Game! Right this very minute, I am sure somebody is working on "educational video games"...or am I behind and everybody knows that we already have them?)

I'll have to write it again...the founders of our nation were essentially self-taught. Most of them, such as Benjamin Franklin, were apprenticed out to work before any of them would have even been in a modern-day high school. And yet, on their own, they read books that would choke a Yale graduate. And these people were able to create a nation like had never ever been made before, or since. George Washington went to school to learn only three subjects that he wanted to learn, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Surveying. What were his actual "skills"? Horseback riding and ballroom dancing. He was also, apparently, a master of fashion. But look at all his accomplishments.

I remember back to my own schooling, again, where I was good and where I wasn't so good. I already knew how to read, one of my grandmothers taught me one afternoon. I can hardly believe that it is now supposed to be so hard to teach reading. John Taylor Gatto reveals that it took explorers in Africa only 40 hours of personal contact to teach African tribesmen how to read when prior to those explorers coming there, the tribe didn't even have a written language at all! The explorers used the English alphabet to phonetically write out the spoken language of the tribe and all who wanted to obtain this "magic" completely learned how to read and write in 40 hours, tops. Yet today, in a culture surrounded by the written word, there are still high school graduates who (apparently) are accepted into COLLEGE who CAN NOT READ!

So in school I blew by Dick and Jane, which I thought were cute, kind of like comic books for morons, so the teacher would have me write stories on the blackboard for the other students to read and copy, which were more interesting.

Okay, so I was "verbal" (as they divided people up in those days), but not very "mathematical".

However, one day early in the third grade, a close friend of mine, Joan, was skipped ahead to the fourth grade. I not only missed her, but I was envious of her now skipping ahead a grade, so I told the teacher that I, too, wanted to be skipped into the fourth grade like Joan was. The teacher smiled and said, "You can't. Joan was very smart, too smart for the third grade." "Well, I am very smart, too," I said. "Yes, you are," the teacher patiently explained, "but you aren't really very good in math." And this I knew was true. So I said to her, "So, if I were GOOD in math, then maybe I, too, could be skipped into the fourth grade?" "Well, yes, I suppose you could," was her answer; "IF you were good in math like Joan is."

I took this as a promise, and I figured the only way I could obtain this achievement was to learn every bit of third grade math. So that weekend, I worked my way completely through the entire math textbook. I read every lesson, did every exercise, did all the homework, too, and graded all the self-tests, and turned them all in to the teacher on Monday morning. I told her that I had done the entire third grade math curriculum in that one weekend and if she checked all my work, she would see that I now did, indeed, know all of it.

To her credit, she did check it and reported back to me that I had, indeed, done the entire third grade math curriculum.

"Now can I be skipped ahead to the fourth grade?" I asked.

To her discredit, she simply said, "No."

So, what had I learned from that experience? That a dedicated person, on their own, can actually learn an entire school year's worth of a subject that they weren't even very good in, in one weekend, and as far as how students are classified and treated in school, it is based on some irrational system that is unfair and probably political. So, in my view, from then on in school, I was on my own, to learn what I wanted at the more rapid pace I wanted and I didn't need the cooperation or help from the teachers nor must I be limited by the ceilings of their expectations. Just like the founding fathers understood, I learned that learning was an "on your own, individualized" proposition.

So in a film like Waiting For Superman, that's exactly what all those children are doing, WAITING, for that "Superman" to come in and save them, when the Superman they have been waiting for all this time is them, themselves.

I just love so much that section in Richard Branson's autobiography ( http://www.amazon.com/Losing-My-Virginity-Survived-Business/dp/0307720748/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309823086&sr=1-1 ) where he discusses the exact moment when he became the Richard Branson that he is today, billionaire founder of record companies and music stores and airlines and railroads and all-around adventurer and explorer. He was a child riding along in the car with his mother in some rural area of England when she suddenly pulled over and asked him to look around. "Do you think you could find your way home from here?" she asked. "Yes," he answered, "I can." "Prove it," she said, and indicated that he should now get out and walk home. Excited, he got out of the car and watched her genuinely drive off in a cloud of dust, leaving him there all alone. He said that at that moment, the entire world unfurled itself like a red carpet at his feet, and he knew right then that wherever he wanted to go, whatever he wanted to do, whomever he felt like being, was within his power to achieve step by step. And he has done so, over and over again.

To me, the big problem with all the people interviewed in the film, Waiting For Superman, all of whom spoke very highly of their interest in education, for themselves, for their children, or for their community, was that almost all of them could not even speak a decent English sentence. How can a person believe that they are working for education when the very sound of their communication speaks of ignorance and sloppiness, and, in fact, demonstrates the very FAILURE to learn and that this is okay? Am I being racist? Or is bad English "okay" for certain races and economic levels? Well, it is only when you expect to isolate them within a lower worker class, which is what you are doing anyway if you are only teaching them standardized skills that are useful only in a job setting. Every one of these people kept talking about "going to college," "going to college," "going to college," yet what kind of "college" are they actually going to be going to? Some of the parents (and grandparents) spoke frankly about not having had much of an education themselves for various reasons ("We were poor", "I had to go to work", "I wasn't raised by my parents", etc.) and their idea of their kids going to college is to obtain a path out of the neighborhood and the life that they are currently living. But I would think that if you wanted to get out of somewhere by wanting to get INTO some place else, then it would behoove you to thoroughly research and UNDERSTAND the rules of the world you wanted to get into. Otherwise, you or your kids would always be a stranger in a strange land, never accepted, never assimilated, and never ever belonging (and so what you will do, instead, is blame those who belong in that land as being rejecting or discriminatory, and you will demand that society change the culture that you had wanted to become a part of; in other words, make it just like the one you wanted to escape from). To his great credit, Bill Cosby has spoken much about this, and has also been soundly vilified for speaking this truth. And don't forget that others have successfully made this journey and this was leap years before Civil Rights and Affirmative Action and all the other liberal agendas that have paved the path with gold.

And nobody is REALLY helping these kids, and apparently, they will not help themselves. One little girl who was featured as being "very smart" and "gigantically motivated" kept saying (when you could understand her, which was difficult), that she wanted to be a nurse, a doctor, a veterinarian. When I would hear that, I would think, "Well, which is it, nurse, doctor, or veterinarian?" Because, you know, they're three different things. But people accept that as a definite ambition (woo, that "doctor" gets them every time...but I hate to break it to them, but thanks to Obama's health care reform, if it continues, "doctor" will become a middle class position, deep in medical school debt but earning ever-diminishing "payments" from the bankrupt government).

These families seem to view "going to college" as like winning the lottery, if you go to college, you have it made. So it was interesting that how they would attempt to get into a "better" public school (charter school, and the like) was via being accepted via LOTTERY. I wondered why the children weren't being accepted into these better schools due to merit. But oh, sorry, I forgot...the theory is that "all children are the same" and accepting by merit is to "track them", a big no no. This is that whole liberal concept of "equalizing the outcomes," which if they are all cogs in a wheel, then one cog really is the same as another. What they think is that opportunities must be equalized, forgetting the fact that, like Richard Branson, people make their OWN opportunities. (Just ask the Chinese about that, who have made a success of themselves in every culture around the world into which they have inserted themselves throughout history.) But America isn't about that, any more; instead they want to set up road blocks before the advantaged kids and provide as smooth a sailing as possible for the disadvantaged ones, which hasn't worked at all for the past 40 years. And socialism (which the majority of the voters vote for because they think this will give them an advantage) is about supporting the unsuccessful by taking from the successful. Which, of course, is like eating up all your seeds (like they did in Zimbabwe).

But the lottery method is harsh, so few available spaces in contrast to all the applicants. Like getting a job, nowadays (which is what happens AFTER you graduate from college). Only two of the students who were followed in this documentary obtained admission via the lottery, and one of them had at first been fifth on the waiting list. Did anyone wonder how he was moved ahead six spots to gain admission...I mean, if this school were so wonderful, why did the five people ahead of him choose to not end up going there? (Maybe they all moved away....)

The boy who made it into the school via the waiting list was accepted into the "Ender's Game" type boarding school (no games, no free time, total immersion in getting higher test scores on the standardized proficiency exams), and he was being raised by his grandmother, who admitted that she was, understandably, torn about this. While she wanted him to get a good education, she hated to lose him. The boy's history was that his mother disappeared soon after he was born and his father had died of a drug addiction, so his grandmother, the father's mother, willingly took him in. At the beginning of the documentary, this boy tells a story of how he wasn't very good in "maths" (or, for that matter, English), but something drove him to do better so he started going his homework and suddenly he was passing tests when he had been failing them, before. So he could hardly wait to bring home to his father his first passing math test, but his father died of his drug addiction before the boy had had a chance to show him. There was a photo of the father holding his son in his lap that kept being shown in the film, as if the boy was still living for the absent father. But instead, who really WAS there for him, was not the drug-addicted father, but the grandmother who had been raising him all these years.

There was, I feel, a pretty telling scene near the end of the documentary where the grandmother is taking the boy into the boarding school, which really is the moment of a lifetime of separation between them. They have to sign in through some kind of a guard at the entrance to the school, so already it feels like a prison. The plain rectangular dorm room with brick walls painted white has three beds in it, two in a bunkbed and one solitary twin bed. The "guard" taking the boy to the room says that since he is the first one there, he has his choice of beds. At first he picks the solitary bed, but then he decides that he prefers the top bed on the bunk. He was always a very morose child throughout this whole film, one who slurred his words and he never spoke with much enthusiasm, and this going over the threshold into his apparent chance for a better life does not make him any more enthusiastic. Frankly, he seems to be going through the motions, because while he is told that this is a great opportunity for him to have a better life, he also views it as the end of all his fun and his involvement with his friends (after all, he IS just a little boy and he shouldn't even have to face any of this). He does not mention being separated from his grandmother, the only solid adult he has ever known, and fearing that he will be homesick for her.

He had been told earlier that the students were "allowed" to decorate their one wall with posters or any pictures that they wanted, so he came prepared. He put up a colored poster of a Lamborghini, and then lay down on the bed with his head on the pillow and he reverently taped to the wall a tiny snapshot that he could see while lying down. I had hoped that it would be a photograph of his grandmother, but the camera slowly zoomed close and revealed that it was that photo of him as a baby sitting his drug addict father's lap. I felt that what that boy needed more than a special school was a father, and then I felt that he would be trapped by that need for the rest of his life; it would never be fulfilled, and his "shunning" of the grandmother, with whom there was no hugging or tearful goodbye, he merely lay there and then went to sleep with that photo of his father in front of his face, I felt that he would never open himself up to any reasonable substitute. Therefore, he would remain stuck and all the schooling in the world, good or bad, wasn't going to make any difference in his life.

I am sure it must be gigantically unfair of me to negatively judge the various children in the documentary who virtually had no advantages and didn't seem able to accept the special advantages that they did have (such as the girl whose single ghetto-based mother struggled with several jobs to earn enough money to pay $500 a month tuition at a private school for her daughter...but in the end, who, due to a job layoff, missed a final payment and therefore her child was denied the graduation ceremony) simply because you could hardly ever understand what they were saying because they mumbled and spoke very softly. But the kids at the expensive private school where I work also do that and I am starting to feel that something is very wrong about that. I have attended several classes when they are reading stories that they have written and so on, usually assignments that they do very well on and that are definitely worth sharing, which you discover when you read them yourself. But when they are standing up in front of the room or even sitting at their desks, while you are in the same intimate classroom with them, you can hardly hear them and you can not distinguish the various words they are saying. I can't imagine that the teachers can hear or understand them any better than I can and I don't understand why they allow that.

What do I mean by "allow that"?

Well, it's not that kids don't have loud voices. When I am working in my office at the school, I can hear them as plain as day out on the playground, and even at home where the walls are practically sound-proofed, I can hear them screaming in their games out on the lawn or way over at the other end of the complex beyond several three-story buildings, I can hear them in the pool. So why in a quiet classroom when they are reading a story that they wrote and that they WANT to share with others, can you not understand what they are saying?

Because I believe that oral presentation is as important as written expression, that enunciating words and speaking them loudly and clearly is as important as correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar, so why do the teachers at our school or the filmmakers of this documentary let them mumble and speak so quietly that I had to put my volume up all the way to the highest level and even then could hardly hear them?

I have even shared this concern with our performing arts teacher, who is also a professional actor, but he only teaches the older kids. I have said that I think oral interpretation skills need to be taught to every grade school child, and while I was sure he would think my suggestion would be weird, I did expect him to at least think about what I said and then agree, even if he felt that such for some reason would be impossible.

But all he said was that it was "not age appropriate," that you do not get into "oral interpretation" until fifth or maybe sixth grade. Well, to hell with that, if I were a teacher, even in kindergarten, I for sure would teach those kids how, and why, to speak up. They must learn how to be heard if they ever want to get anywhere. Are their egos really that stuffed under a rock? I hardly think so. "Open your mouth and speak out! We need to hear what you have to say."

But it must be like something else that I have observed from working at an elementary school. The kids are constantly admonished to not run. And ALL they want to do is run. But instead, all they hear is "Don't run!" So what they do is hide. They run until they are seen, and then when they hear the order to stop running, they will stop, but then will start running again when they are out of sight.

Well I say that if it is in their nature to run, then run is what they should do. And they should keep on running; running, running, and running, and never, ever stop. That's WHO they are, and WHO they are matters more than any other single thing. That's maybe the ONE lesson that they truly do need, and then they will have reverence for their being and their dreams, and nothing will ever be able to stop them from bringing that into fruition.

Don't let schooling wreck their understanding of who they are. Not even in the attempt to give them an education.