To the editors:
Our schools are harming pupils and society.
Think about all the things we do to make kids angry. We force hundreds or perhaps thousands of immature brains into a place they don’t want to be. We force them to relate to peers whom they may not like and who may not like them, led by a principal whom they may not like and who may not like them. Then we try to make them learn stuff that they may not be ready for and which may be of no interest to them. Then we put them on the spot with intrusive questions (when we already know the answer!), and then make them feel bad, humiliated, or angry when they can’t respond correctly. All the while we ignore the tremendous amount of fear, boredom, confusion, and competition inherent in the average school. After school they go home and sometimes are condemned all over again at which point they may feel that they’ve already failed before their life has hardly begun. And then we wonder why they’re violent and uncooperative.
The average six-year-old has asked 470,000 questions. So what happens after that?
We need to stimulate children and stop quizzing them.
Robert E. Kay, MD
The writer, a psychiatrist from Philadelphia, is active in the Education Reform Committee.