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The School Sucks PodClass: Education Evolution
Indoctrination + Regurgitation + Graduation ≠ An Education
Category: Education
Location: Newmarket, New Hampshire
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My name is Brett and I have worked in education for the last ten years, in a variety of capacities. I am currently the Vice Pre...


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May 19, 2015 03:21 PM PDT
Jeff Till (fivehundredyears.org) is a business owner, School Sucks listener, and home-educating parent. He recently added a well-researched, concise and easily sharable entry to his blog called "A Complete Case for Home Education (54 Arguments)." He joins me today to discuss the following arguments: 1. The argument for happiness and for empathy School makes many if not most kids unhappy. They don’t like most of their school work. They don’t like being told what to do every second of the day. They don’t like having to be part of cliques or getting bullied. They don’t like taking tests. They don’t like getting grades. They hate homework. Getting up early stinks. The bus sucks. So does the food. Sometimes parents hate school too. They hate the schedule it imposes. They hate watching their kids experience the pressure, either of the school work or the social scene. Why is something imposed that makes children unhappy? Especially for 15,000 hours during what should be a person’s happiest years. Would you want to be unhappy? No! Would you purposefully inflict unhappiness on yourself? Hell no! Have a little empathy for the children. Feel what they feel in going to school. Don’t send them somewhere they are near guaranteed to be unhappy. 2. The argument for exposure Some proponents of schooling insist that school exposes children to a broad array of subjects that they wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise. But, school really just teaches five to seven subjects when there are actually thousands of subjects in the world. Even if we were to hone in on something school focuses on like literature, the nation’s schools essentially limit exposure to the same dozen books regardless of a child’s interest, despite there being millions of books in the world. Sure, there is a library at the school, but when do they get to go? And books are just one kind of media, only favored through school’s history because it was the only one available in the pre-modern world when school was invented. An open, free-range education gives children the time to explore any subject they desire and inflicts no one-size-fits-all curriculum. Home educated children not only can be exposed to a wider array of subjects, they can be exposed precisely to the ones they find interesting or useful. 3. The argument for free play Free play is when children, without external restrictions or guidance, design their own activities and modes of play. It can be wonderful in developing independence, creativity, negotiating skills, interpersonal skills, and fun. School kids live under constant direction and surveillance. Their only opportunity for free play during school are the scraps of time given at recess (unsurprisingly, most kids favorite school-time activity). It seems to be a growing trend for parents to further shorten free play by signing their kids up for organized sports and activities after school and on the weekends, further putting them in another system where they wear uniforms and follow the instructions of an adult. Home education provides much more time and opportunity for free play. 4. The argument for history Most history, as it is taught in schools, is political history. Almost every event described is either the work of a President or a war. Even when non-government events are covered, such as the Great Depression or the Million Man March, the story usually hinges on how the government responded. Schools narrow the scope of history to government, and usually only portray a positive view of the student’s own government (e.g., America’s children learn that America is great.) For example, students probably don’t learn the true body counts of American wars or how many people have been incarcerated in its prison system. Real history, though, also includes individual achievement, business, consumption trends, technology, art and media, music, communications, religion, philosophy, scientific discovery, food, and fun. History without a school approach could vastly and wildly open up education to be more inclusive and more expansive, providing everyone with a more complete and valuable knowledge of history. 5. The argument for religion or atheism Home education allows parents to teach their children the fundamentals of how they believe reality and ethics exist in the world. At school, knowledge is to be taught with very little context of how reality or ethics are believed to exist within the world. This is a fairly large omission. Schools presume to teach what exists in the world and how it works, while purposefully ignoring how we understand reality and morality itself. However your sense of aesthetics lie, it should be a right for parents to present their worldview to their children. Some worry that parents will teach misinformation, but rarely give the school the same scrutiny. Would we fault a Hindu wanting to teach their kids about Hindu practices or a Buddhist for teaching their kids how to meditate? The same can be said for teaching atheism. At public school, each day is started with a prayer to the state and God, called the Pledge of Allegiance. While most public schools don’t promote a religious agenda, it is still absolutely taboo to actively suggest God doesn’t exist or that reality is what we view with our senses. As home educators, atheist parents who wish this belief to be a strong part of their children’s education can do so freely, frequently and explicitly. They are allowed to frame knowledge with this view of reality. 6. The argument for family When kids go to school they are separated from their families for seven or eight hours per day, five days per week. Some kids go to a latchkey type program and might be gone for eleven hours per day! Most people know many families who need to race through every day, left with the scraps of time leftover from the school schedule, racing through a morning routine to get to school or the bus stop and having a brief night together of maybe just a few hours. These few hours might be filled with dinner, homework and getting ready for an early bedtime (so they can be sure to get up the next morning.) This leaves families with just the weekend to spend together, which can be filled with organized sports and dad going golfing anyway. I’ve seen families like this. The children place a massive burden on their schedule and they barely get to see them. I wonder why they bothered having children in the first place. School isolates children from their families and can cripple the relationship children have with their parents and siblings. Children who do not go to school can experience richer family interactions more frequently and on a daily basis. And it is good for the parents. Can you imagine anyone on their deathbed wishing they had missed the majority of time they could have spent with their kids when they were growing up? I can’t. RELATED: The argument for sleep, sleeping in and staying up For school children and their families, some stranger – the superintendent – commands that everyone wake up at the same time. And it’s often too early for most people. And because everybody has to get up at the same time, it usually means everybody has to go to bed at basically the same time if one wants a decent chance at getting enough sleep. Why should a total stranger be able to command you, your children, your spouse, and a couple thousand of your neighbors, when to go to bed and when to get up? Plus, it’s not uncommon for kids, especially teenagers, to not get enough sleep. With home education, individuals, not unknown, distant superintendents, get to decide when and how much sleep occurs. Look Closer: Student stress can strain parent-student relationships - http://broadview.sacredsf.org/?p=1302 Common Core Nonfiction Reading Standards Mark The End Of Literature, English Teachers Say http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/common-core-nonfiction-reading-standards_n_2271229.html Aeon: The play deficit, by Peter Gray - http://aeon.co/magazine/culture/children-today-are-suffering-a-severe-deficit-of-play/ The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents - http://www.journalofplay.org/sites/www.journalofplay.org/files/pdf-articles/3-4-article-gray-decline-of-play.pdf A SHORT ANGRY HISTORY OF AMERICAN FORCED SCHOOLING - http://4brevard.com/choice/Public_Education.htm The Underground History of American Education: A Schoolteacher's Intimate Investigation Into The Problem Of Modern Schooling - http://johntaylorgatto.com/underground/
April 30, 2015 10:34 PM PDT
Hannah Braime is the founder of BecomingWhoYouAre.net, a self-relationship coach, and an author. She joins me to discuss her book, The Ultimate Guide To Journaling. Topics Included: -What is journaling? -benefits -getting to know the voices in our heads -improving relationships -living more consciously -how to journal -failing to keep on track -frequency guidelines -finding the right mindset -dealing with resistance -written journal ideas (dominant and non-dominant hands, dealing with upset and worry, gratitude journal, nurture lists) -self-care activities vs. nurturing activities -sentence completion exercises (The Art of Self Discovery) -what do we do with our journals? -retrospecting, looking for patterns -the inner child and dissociation -language, what does it reveal? Look Closer: BecomingWhoYouAre.net - http://becomingwhoyouare.net The Ultimate Guide To Journaling - http://www.becomingwhoyouare.net/shop/the-ultimate-guide-to-journaling/ HappinessCounseling.com - Resources - http://happinesscounseling.com/happiness-resources/ The Art of Self Discovery, by Nathaniel Branden - http://happinesscounseling.com/The_Art_Of_Self-Discovery_Nathaniel_Branden.pdf
April 26, 2015 02:30 PM PDT
Through the years, School Sucks Podcast has been a great outlet for my thoughts, feelings and frustrations about my teaching experience. I had always hoped the show could eventually serve as a forum for other former and active teachers to do the same. Yet, it's rare that I can get an active teacher to talk to me. Then last week, I received this email: Dear Brett, I've been binge-listening to your show since discovering it, and I want to thank you for providing my introduction to libertarianism as well as the fascinating and thoughtful discussions about science, the trivium, and non-violent communication. I am currently a teacher wrapping up my 15th and last year in the field, and I appreciate your perspective on how the system impacts upon the teachers as well as on students and families. As a child, I was obedient and invested in school, and I followed the path paid out for me all the way to the Ivy League. But now, looking back on that "success", I can see that I was indoctrinated into playing by the rules of the system, and it's only now as an adult that I can step back and see how the system is set up to lead people like me to "safe" thinking and aspirations - to love Big Brother to the point where we sign on to help others learn to love him too. One topic that I would love to see more prominently on your show is the conscious use of behaviorism to control the thoughts and actions of students, particularly in special education. This is unfortunately an area in which I've had lots of first-hand experience, having worked primarily with kids with diagnosed disabilities, including "oppositional defiant disorder" and "ADHD". Just as one small example, this year my school adopted an oppressive system of constant praising for compliance and publicly displaying children on a chart labeling their behavior, which I have simply refused to use. Even so, the structure of the classroom itself ensures that the environment is only functional when kids comply, defer to me as the authority, suppress their own needs and curiosities, and accept the structure imposed on their bodies and thoughts. (Including chemically, in many cases.) This moral dilemma was always lurking in the background, but in my early days of teaching, I had more freedom to work WITH the kids to try to make their experience more rewarding. Now, the structure has tightened up to the point where that's no longer possible. If you'd like to explore this topic further I'd be happy to provide more details. I'm leaving teaching as soon a as my contract is up, and I am going to be homeschooling my own child. I am sure my school will quickly find some eager, naive replacement who will think she's helping kids overcome their "issues". Thanks again for your podcast - it really is a great resource for those of us waking up out of the Matrix. Sincerely, Meredith Meredith and I discuss our common experiences, our roles in behaviorist schooling environments, the handicap of the special ed label, parent involvement and attitudes and The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. Look Closer: Previous Shows on Behaviorism - http://schoolsucksproject.com/tag/behaviorism/ Educational Theories - Behaviorism Vs. Constructivism http://crescentok.com/staff/jaskew/isr/education/theories.htm Applying behaviorism to our schools - http://joctl.blogspot.com/2009/03/applying-behaviorism-to-our-schools.html Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities: Constructivism Or Behaviorism? - http://cie.asu.edu/volume8/number10/index.html Outcome-Based Education Explained, by Ron Sunseri - http://www.sntp.net/education/obe_explained.htm A SHORT ANGRY HISTORY OF AMERICAN FORCED SCHOOLING - http://4brevard.com/choice/Public_Education.htm The Underground History of American Education: A Schoolteacher's Intimate Investigation Into The Problem Of Modern Schooling - http://johntaylorgatto.com/underground/
April 18, 2015 07:19 AM PDT
Part four, and the last of the foundational episodes, in our series examining the concept of scientific consensus and contrasting it with the voices of dissenters who find value in minority scientific opinions, theories and conclusions. It will also ask the question: is there any way to bridge the gap? Darrell Becker will be co-hosting all episodes in this series. Discussion: In the second installment of this series, we explored strategies for more constructive and connected communication with others. Today we discuss strategies for better communication with ourselves. We discuss some of the meta-talk in this climate change "debate" Dimensions of the Habits of Mind Value: Choosing to employ a pattern of intellectual behaviors rather than other, less productive patterns. Inclination: Feeling the tendency to employ a pattern of intellectual behaviors. Sensitivity: Perceiving opportunities for, and appropriateness of, employing the pattern of behaviors. Capability: Possessing the basic skills and capacities to carry through with the behaviors. Commitment: Constantly striving to reflect on and improve performance of the pattern of intellectual behaviors. Policy: Making it a policy to promote and incorporate the patterns of intellectual behaviors into actions, decisions, and resolutions of problematic situations. 7 Ways to Deal with Uncertainty to be Happier and Less Anxious 1. Replace expectations with plans. 2. Prepare for different possibilities. 3. Become a feeling observer. 4. Get confident about your coping and adapting skills. 5. Utilize stress reduction techniques preemptively. 6. Focus on what you can control. 7. Practice mindfulness. Source: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/7-ways-to-deal-with-uncertainty/ See Brett's notes here. Series Background: "My thesis is that the criteria by which individuals are deemed qualified or unqualified to become professionals involve not just technical knowledge as is generally assumed, but also attitude—in particular, attitude toward working within an assigned political and ideological framework. I contend, for example, that all tests of technical knowledge, such as the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), are at the same time tests of attitude and that the examinations used to assess professional qualification are no exception. I consider in detail how the neutral-looking technical questions on such examinations probe the candidate's attitude. The qualifying attitude, I find, is an uncritical, subordinate one, which allows professionals to take their ideological lead from their employers and appropriately fine-tune the outlook that they bring to their work. The resulting professional is an obedient thinker, an intellectual property whom employers can trust to experiment, theorize, innovate and create safely within the confines of an assigned ideology. The political and intellectual timidity of today's most highly educated employees is no accident." -Jeff Schmidt, Disciplined Minds Bumper Music: "Lucky Man" The Verve Look Closer: Darrell's Site: Voluntary Visions - http://voluntaryvisions.com/ Darrell's Communication Glossary - http://schoolsucksproject.com/practical-definitions-voluntary-communication-by-darrell-becker/ Scientific Consensus and the Argument From Authority - https://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/04/09/scientific-consensus-and-the-argument-from-authority T&H Trivium Resources - https://www.tragedyandhope.com/trivium/ Logic Saves Lives Series - http://schoolsucksproject.com/category/podcast/logic-saves-lives/
April 15, 2015 09:17 PM PDT

What do jeans, sardines, elections, stickers, cats, Edward Bernays, garbage union strikes and Egyptian pharaohs have in common? Nothing...except this episode of the Freedom Feens.

From FreedomFeens.com:
Derrick J and Brett Veinotte (from the School Sucks Podcast) talk about the evils of Manufacturing Consent. This show is an historic event, first-ever show done from a remote studio of another show via FeenPhone.(The other show is Rebel Love Show, and Rob is on for the first segment)

April 12, 2015 07:35 PM PDT
This is audio of the foreword I wrote for the second edition of Legally Kidnapped: The Case Against Child Protective Services, by Carlos Morales. Carlos is a CPS whistle blower and a frequent contributor to School Sucks Project. Bumper Music: "Space Wrangler" by Widespread Panic Look Closer: Carlos On YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSosyewZ2gMdbS1JlSIGkVw About Legally Kidnapped - http://www.legallykidnapped.net/ Buy/Review Legally Kidnapped - http://www.amazon.com/Legally-Kidnapped-Against-Protective-Services-ebook/dp/B00OO03Y64
April 05, 2015 02:38 PM PDT
Osborne, Gardner Goldsmith and I continue our once-a-month listener participation live show where we discuss our recent shows, projects, challenges, investigations, etc... Discussed: -Osborne's political challenges on the Education Board in the NH House of Representatives -The NEA, its power and its history -Samuel Blumenfeld -the challenges of teachers working within the public system Look Closer: Brett's Show Notes Folder - http://www.evernote.com/l/AK1QvA_EO-9EBZEpQuQ9U76WpSu33QymPV8/ Liberty Conspiracy - http://libertyconspiracy.com/
March 27, 2015 03:24 PM PDT
My second collaboration with Kevin Geary, integrative health coach and founder of RebootedBody.com. Our discussion is built around two emails I received from listeners, each facing different challenges in their quests for health and fitness. WARM-UP: -The origins of RebootYourKids.com EMAILS DISCUSSED: #1: I was listening to your podcast about procrastination and you mentioned your diet. You said that you ate a lot of garbage and came up with excuses on why it is you can't or don't eat well. This resonates with me so much! I was wondering if you had any advice on getting the ball rolling with dietary changes. As someone who is an incredibly picky eater and doesn't know the first thing about what the human body needs, the task of eating well seems overwhelming. #2: I was introduced to the Low Carb/Bulletproof Diet via your show. I believe you were chatting with either Wes Bertrand or Richard and Tony about the diet - and how following it had given you more energy and an overall improvement in health. Without any further study or research, I decided to give the diet a try - that being a diet consisting of: no wheat, pasta, grains; very few fruits; lots of grass-fed beef & butter, organic chicken, vegetables, coconut oil, and saturated fats. One year and six months later, my health was in egregious condition. I developed a thyroid condition that resulted in bulging eyes; I developed frontal bossing (enlarged, protruding forehead); I developed TMJ and tongue thrust, which has resulted in slower speech. I also was suffering from both physical and mental lassitude - terrible brain fog, terrible fitness. What I listed above is just what is coming to mind at the moment; there is more, but I think that will do for now. My question to you is this: Assuming that you are still following the diet, how do you feel? Have you noticed any changes in your appearance: bulging eyes, frontal bossing, tooth decay, etc? Would you say that you are in better health since adhering to the Low Carb lifestyle? I'd really like to hear from you, and I hope I'm not being too snoopy. There is so much more I'd like to say, but I don't want to flood you with a tomb of haphazard thoughts. Look Closer: Rebooted Body - http://rebootedbody.com/ Reboot Your Kids - http://rebootyourkids.com/ Kevin's First Appearance on School Sucks Podcast - http://schoolsucksproject.com/podcast-301-getting-unstuck-from-procrastination-and-domestication-with-kevin-geary/
March 23, 2015 03:06 PM PDT
Part Six in our 2015 New Hampshire Liberty Forum Discussions Jeffrey Tucker joins Brett, Carlos and a live audience for a discussion about McDonald's menu options, the intellectual challenge of Brittney Spears, eugenics, the Progressive era, the total state of the 20th century, the future of digital romance and relationships, Skoal, the distributed network, Yik Yak and fashion. Bio: Jeffrey Tucker is the founder and Chief Liberty Officer of Liberty.me, a distinguished fellow of the Foundation for Economic Education where he consults on technology and editorial matters, a research fellow of the Acton Institute, and the editor of Laissez Faire Books. He has authored five books, 150 introductions to books, and many thousands of articles. Look Closer: JeffreyTucker.me - http://www.jeffreytucker.me/ Liberty.me - https://liberty.me/
March 20, 2015 07:03 AM PDT
Part Five in our 2015 New Hampshire Liberty Forum Discussions Kate and I sat down in fronty of a live audience following her presentation, Moving to the Free State with Children: A Discussion of Education Options in NH. Kate's Bio: Kate Baker is the Executive Director of the Network for Educational Opportunity, an education resource and networking organization and the first organization to implement the NH Education Tax Credit Scholarships. She was a teacher of the performing arts for almost a decade and is passionate about gifted education, charter schools and school choice. Kate is proud to serve on the Polaris Charter School Board of Trustees and has worked tirelessly, on behalf of NH children; starting schools, supporting home schoolers, teaching and empowering students and parents, and promoting options in education. She is a founder of The Greater Manchester Alliance for the Gifted, Scholars’ Academy, and the Academy for Science and Design Educational Foundation. Kate was honored to be recognized by the New Hampshire Union Leader and the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire as a “40 Under Forty″, 40 of the state’s brightest young achievers, in 2013. Kate's Presentation At Liberty Forum Planning to move your family to NH and wondering what kind of education options are available? Is private or homeschooling a viable choice for you? Kate Baker of networkforeducation.org will host an interactive discussion about NEO scholarships, private schools, charter schools, and homeschooling in NH. Look Closer: The Network for Educational Opportunity (NEO) - http://networkforeducation.org/
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