School is Prison

Classic Peter Gray:

“If you think school is not prison, please explain the difference.”

“The only difference I can think of is that to get into prison you have to commit a crime, but they put you in school just because of your age. In other respects school and prison are the same. In both places you are stripped of your freedom and dignity. You are told exactly what you must do, and you are punished for failing to comply. Actually, in school you must spend more time doing exactly what you are told to do than is true in adult prisons, so in that sense school is worse than prison.”

and:

“Every new generation of parents, and every new batch of fresh and eager teachers, hears or reads about some “new theory” or “new findings” from psychology that, at long last, will make schools more fun and improve learning. But none of it has worked. And none of it will until people face the truth: Children hate school because in school they are not free. Joyful learning requires freedom.”

From Gray’s September, 2009 post in Psychology Today, “Why Don’t Students Like School?” Worth every moment you’ll spend reading it, and following the links, and reading some more.

See more of Peter Gray at Freedom to Learn.

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