Emptiness in State Education

October 28, 2008

by Tammy Drennan


What are children highly unlikely to encounter or learn, to any appreciable degree, in a state school?


  • The founding documents of the United States.
  • Serious biography of lives well-lived.
  • Honest scientific inquiry.
  • Examples of the best writing and rhetoric of the ages.
  • The most worthwhile literature of the ages.
  • Meaningful conversation.
  • Passion for understanding.
  • Creativity. Innovation.
  • Independence.
  • Disciplined thinking.
  • Mature socialization.
  • Reverence for life.
  • The skills to self-direct.
  • Self-confidence.


The list could go on and on. It includes all the things that have been most important to me as a parent to pass on to my children, all the things I consider the core of education.


I know that children are not learning or encountering this list of things, because I talk to people — parents, recent graduates, teens, all sorts of people — every day. I listen and ask and observe everywhere I go.


For those who find an education devoid of such items acceptable, state schooling is ideal, I suppose, but they should consider that in rejecting them, schools are inculcating many opposite traits — immature socialization, undisciplined thinking, self-doubt, dependence, dullness, ignorance, meaninglessness.


Don’t expect state schools to turn over a new leaf. All claims and rhetoric to the contrary, these are not qualities any state school has the least interest in pursuing – to any appreciable degree.


There is a solution, of course. Take back your own mind and teach your children to take back theirs.


If that seems daunting, start in some small area. Take a step. Put your head together with your children’s heads and think hard about something. Learn something that’s not on the school list. Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and see what they’re really all about. Read a biography about someone who lived a worthwhile life. Reject something about pop culture. Have a long, meaningful conversation.


After the first step, take another. It won’t be long before you’re feeling confident and wondering why you ever let some state school limit you and your children in so many ways.


You’ll start to feel empowered.


There’s a beautiful, incredible world out there just waiting for you to grab it by the tail and take it on… so much to learn and understand and experience and enjoy and do.


Try it, you’ll like it.