Posted by: CJ | December 28, 2009

Unexpected Problems

I asked a friend of mine several months ago how a Libertarian parent could live with the inherent lack of freedom a parent forces on their children. He had a quick and simple answer. “It all boils down to money. A kid is economically dependent on the parent, so the kid isn’t entitled to anything.”

I thought about that when an unexpected problem in traditional teaching methods was pointed out to me. Right now, as long as students show up to school and are unconcerned about their own academic performance, schools can’t threaten anything to students that would cause the student harm. So the only way to bring an unruly but nonviolent high school student into line is through parental intervention. (For examples of this unruliness, think not following dress code or using cell phones in class. Little things that are disruptive but not illegal.) But that’s not really an option if the student is economically independent from the parent(s). And this is a surprisingly common situation with students in inner-city schools.

How do you deal with students who just don’t feel like playing the school game, and can’t be quickly threatened to fall into line? This is one of many problems that modern education theory doesn’t seem to have a good answer to.


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