Ending Schools is Not an Option – Yet

Over the years, I have often talked with people who wanted to end all schools everywhere. Framed as the great oppressors by these folks, schools are demonized for standardizing education, assessing learning, stifling expression and suffocating creativity.

I agree with many of those arguments, and I think I understand why people make them. However, I think something isn’t being acknowledged: Ending schools is not an option – yet.

If a young person is born into safety and security they are likely to be able to successfully survive the adult hegemony throughout society. Without those privileges, children and youth must struggle to survive the failure of society to care for them. People who rant against schools are often among the first group, and because of that members, they don’t keep members of the second group in mind.

If you want to end all schools right now, remember, at the very least, that schools provide safety, food, and order in the lives of many young people who don’t experience those things regularly. Remember that for young people who don’t have the privilege to a guaranteed sunny future, schools of all stripes give them a sense of hope and possibility that may not otherwise exist.

If your needs are met beyond those basic human rights, then ask yourself where and how people can routinely and intentionally expand their capacity to participate in democratic society, if not through schools.

If, after all that, you still protest against schools and teachers and the people who administer them, then keep doing that. But at least keep in mind that if it weren’t for public schools, my family would likely still be illiterate indentured farmers working the fields for wealthy overlords. Albeit, their oppression was tangible, but through their work I was liberated.

Its most often the people who don’t live with the needs that schools fill who rail against the need for schools. There are different ways to educate students, and society should promote those. However, ranting against schools for the sake of ranting isn’t the solution – solutions are the solution.


Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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