by Andi

What is school? I mean, what is the purpose of school?

After some perspective from having lived a little, it just seems to be the place we send our kids because it’s what you do. I went to school. It was normal. I never questioned it. I have found that most Gen-Xers have this in common.

25 years ago, I know there was the handful of students who were homeschooled. If you knew one, I wonder what you thought about them? I never actually knew a single homeschooled student, let alone of this idea that there was an option to be schooled at home. And quite frankly, if someone had mentioned it to me, as a kid, I probably would have thought it was very weird.

Compulsory Education

Prior to compulsory education laws in the United States, it was the job of the parent to make sure their child could read, write and do basic math. Some children were sent to private schools run by churches and some were homeschooled. When the compulsory education laws were first passed, they mandated that all kids go to state-run schools. Those laws were eventually overturned as unconstitutional and parents were allowed to continue to send their kids to private schools, as long as they were going to schools that met the standards of the state.

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And that was the big change. States had mandated that children attend school or that they are taught in a way that complied with state rules. And over the years kids were entering the new education system that taught them how to sit and stand in rows and single-file-lines. The learned to work quietly, raise their hand to speak, and how to complete activities in a specified amount of time. States liked the idea of the newly educated labor workforce. They were compliant, obedient and cooperative. They knew how to follow directions and did what they were told.

Again, what is the purpose of school when it pertains to compulsory education? Is it a necessary part of most people’s lives? To that, I’ll say maybe because I genuinely do not know the answer. But how do we know that most people are ordinary or average? Are we making a huge mistake by lumping kids together like herds of sheep and teaching them all the same things in the same ways?

Fast forward to the compulsory education system of today and ask yourself what is the benefit to your child of being taught only how to take a test. The education system now rests on the ability of each school to get their kids to pass tests mandated by the state and are the basis for federal funding. YIKES.

Homeschool

While homeschooling is starting to become a lot more common, at only 3.5 million, homeschoolers aren’t about to put public schools out of business. That said, the number has grown by 3-8% every year since 2012. With homeschooled kids outnumbering charter school kids, the idea of homeschooling doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

Again: What is the purpose of school?

While many people believe homeschoolers are fringe, isn’t it possible that we simply have different opinions regarding the purpose of school?

Is school necessary to learn the basics of reading, writing, math, science, health, and history? I don’t think so. So what is the purpose, then?

Public School

I don’t know if there is a general consensus on this. But as a parent, if someone asked me many years before I decided to homeschool, my answer probably would have been: to prepare kids for college? That’s right… I put that in the form of a question. Because I’m really not sure what the purpose of school is when it comes to what parents should expect their kids to get out of it.

College Prep

Ask 100 sets of parents: What is the hope, or expectation of your child once they graduate from high school? And what do you think the most common answer will be?

My bet is that most parents, in 2018, hope that their child will be one of the ones that are of the mindset—> going to college isn’t even something you question. It’s just is. It’s a given. Like primary school, it’s just something you do. As parents, we are getting to a point where we are proud that our kids don’t question going to college even if they have no idea what they really want to do with their lives. We want them to participate in the rite of passage that makes adulthood official because even though it’s likely they will still act like children, nothing says adulthood like agreeing to take on massive debt.

What’s More Important, Status Or Not Being An Idiot?

And as parents, many of us shudder at the thought that other parents and society, in general, will judge us if our kid doesn’t represent us well in the college environment. It’s a risk we are willing to take, even if we know Junior has only shown interest in careers that don’t require a college degree. They’ve been indoctrinated to believe that they will never get a job without that degree. Who cares if you learn nothing that will actually help you in the real world! Pay for that piece of paper that says you are a college graduate! The belief that you’ll make more money based on that is rampant and unfortunately, FALSE.

And yet, as parents, we want them to get to that college graduation day without major incident so we can brag about their psychology-communications-sociology-art degree and then move on to complaining about how there are no jobs because all that matters is that Junior did what they were supposed to do…right?

This is happening. Family after family send their kids off to college only to realize after it’s too late that it was probably a mistake. And unfortunately, one that costs thousands of dollars. What I cannot understand is how parents are helping their kids to make the decision to borrow this kind of money without having an ironclad plan.

While I’ll agree it is fairly unrealistic for an 18-year-old to have an ironclad plan, it is outrageous to support the idea of borrowing thousands of dollars without at least a 100% commitment. In other words, if you sign up for college, be ready to get something out of it. No, that’s not the same as saying, “if you start, then finish.” It’s saying unless you know what you plan to get out of it, DON’T START.

What Exactly Is The College Prep Scam?

The college prep scam is the agenda perpetuated by public schools, that your mission, immediately post-high-school, is to go to college, regardless of any other possible option. And despite the obvious, and blatant irresponsible nature of encouraging someone to spend that kind of money without some deep and meaningful consideration, the appearance is that the schools do care. In the likely case that you don’t have a fully funded college scholarship or parents who saved the entire amount for a college degree, your high school cares enough to guide you to the government—entity that will help you incur the necessary debt so you don’t have to miss out on this milestone.

In case I was too wordy there, the college prep scam is the public school agenda that teaches kids that college is the mandatory next step in life. There is no regard for any individuality or feelings that maybe college is out of my price range. It’s an automatic, assumed debt they expect you to take on. For those with college funds, it’s an automatic huge amount of money spent for nowhere near the return.

The college prep scam doesn’t give you all the options. There is no consideration for the idea that there are thousands of career directions you could go in without that useless liberal arts degree.

How To Avoid The College Prep Scam

I’m not saying there is absolutely no purpose for going to college. But, there should be no degree that is useless. And let’s be honest, most of them are. Unless you are becoming a doctor or lawyer, or something related requiring a license or something similar, most of the education you need to be successful in life has to do with mixing what you are interested in/good at with work ethic and the amount of effort you are willing to put in.

There are too many professions out there that you simply do not need a degree for, as long as you can prove you can do the job. Time spent learning how to interview is more valuable than a liberal arts degree.

Consider This

Here’s a list of just a few of the professions that do not require a college degree simply based on the entry-level — work your way up theory —

Banker (of any kind)
Stock Broker
Legal Secretary
Paralegal
Medical Secretary/Assistant/Billing
Receptionist
Administrative Assistant
Police Officer
Mail Carrier/package delivery (DHL/FedEx/UPS)

Chef
Baker
Food Service Management
Hotel Management
Residential Management

Car Sales
Home Sales
Retail Sales
Medical Equipment Sales
Pharmaceutical Sales
Machinery Sales
Customs Broker
Financial Services Sales

These are all jobs that if you have the interest in, you would get an entry-level position and work your way up.

And here’s a few professions for the uber-creative, talented, motivated, hustler kids to consider that do not require a college degree …

Artist
Actor
Comedian
Dancer/Choreographer
Costume Designer
Singer
Musician
Makeup Artist
Writer/Novelist/Journalist
TV Reporter/Radio Personality
Athlete
Personal Trainer

Motivational Speaker
Financial Coach
Athletic Coach
Health Coach
Life Coach
Grief Counselor
Doula

Entrepreneur Coach
E-Commerce Retailer
Blogger
YouTuber
Marketing Consultant/Advisor/Director
Advertising Consultant/Advisor/Director
Software Developer
App Developer
Information Technology
Web Developer
Graphic Designer
Hardware Designer
Web Designer
Entrepreneur/Business Owner
Brand Creator
Inventor

The problem with pursuing any of these options right out of high school is the college prep scam keeps getting in the way. The college prep scam has indoctrinated teachers, parents, and students to the idea that getting an entry-level job and working your way up is beneath anyone worth anything and that creatives of any kind will never make anything of themselves.

Pay no attention the entire entertainment industry or the pursuit of status the average American is willing to spend most of their money on. Never mind the huge service-based businesses profiting from people paying for experiences. Those things you spend your money on are related to somebody else’s business. Literally, everything around you, everything, is making someone else money. Think about that and the actual amount of opportunity there is on this planet.

Imagine the life of a restaurant franchise owner who started out as a 16-year-old cashier, or an investment banker who started as an entry level bank teller at age 18. What about the young adult App Developer who started messing with computer coding when he was 8, or the graphic designer who first learned it when she needed to get creative on a high school art project.

These signs of individuality are being blatantly ignored by the college prep scam. Kids who clearly have talent and a love for something that they could one day make a lot of money doing, are being ignored. The message they get is to stuff away any idea they have that doesn’t involve first getting a college degree.

It’s A Parenting Problem

If parents focused more on raising humble, respectful kids who want to learn and teachers and schools focused more on making learning interesting and relevant, there would be an amazingly huge surge of kids who realized their dreams didn’t include spending thousands of dollars on unless degrees.

Instead, as a society, our inclination is to make sure our kids have happy, painless childhoods above all else. Junior is groomed to believe he is the best at everything instead of encouraging him not to give up when he fails. We discourage creativity and anything that falls outside the realm of normal, pushing kids into teams and activities they don’t have a genuine interest in, all for a participation trophy. Competition is discouraged. We encourage them to give up the things they are no good at rather than having an expectation that they try harder and master something. 

We don’t teach our kids that success simply does not happen without failure. We’re so wrapped up in not letting our kids fail throughout childhood that we, in fact, make it almost inevitable that the first huge and hard fall in life will be the realization that he doesn’t want to be in college and just wasted a crap-ton of money, or that his degree is useless and he just wasted a crap ton of money.

We are holding our kids back. They have to start over later in life when they realistically could have made 4 years of mistakes trying out some things and come out in a better place then they do at the end of a failed college attempt.

Will You Encourage Your Kid To Follow The Herd?

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My advice to parents who send their kids to public school is this: Talk to your kids, throughout their entire childhood. Get to know them. Find out what they love besides being the quarterback or the head cheerleader. Unless your kid is getting a full ride scholarship for a sport, they need to be thinking about what happens next in life. Is college what they want? If so, ok, but let it be the kid’s decision. Parents don’t always know what’s best, and public schools know even less. Preparing your child for this decision is the best thing you can do when it comes to whether or not he/she will go to college.

Let your child know that college is not an obligation. If they struggled through school, they may have the most dread possible about the idea of college. It’s time kids understood that when you graduate high school, whether public, private, or homeschool, the options are limitless.

The idea that every kid must go to college in order to make something of themselves is a scam. And public schools push this agenda with the college prep curriculum.

It’s time to start recognizing talent, creativity, and unique perspective. It’s time to let the secret cat out of the bag:

The Best Education In The World
Teaches You To Question Everything.

It’s time we start providing the proper guidance. It’s time we commit to raising our kids to be confident in decision making.

The world is changing. Isn’t it time our education system changed?

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