I am reading an old issue of a high school classmate’s zine, and I found an editorial I wrote that I didn’t recognize as mine (although I agreed with the content) until I got to the end of it. I am particularly relating to this now, as I battle yet again to explain the LIFESTYLE choice of homeschooling as a completely different educational model than public schooling (e.g. Homeschooling, even homeschooling with curricula and a degree of structure, is not meant to mirror the public, or even private, school system, but rather is meant to allow for flexibility, freedom, context and individualized assessment.) Anyway, I was probably 18 or 19 when I wrote this, and it was good to get a reminder of the roots of my educational philosophy) Here it is:

I see a lot of people int he underground who are angry with, and are constantly questioning where all of the apathy comes from. Well, I’ve pondered this and actually reached a few answers, which, of course, does not SOLVE the problem, but at least it may provide a little insight…

First of all, take a look at an institution that the majority of American children are forced to attend for 9 months out of the year EVERY year until they are 16 years old. Yes, school…think about it. From the moment you finish your carefree colouring [yes, I spelled coloring that way when I was younger. I listened to way too much British anarchopunk. hahaha] days in kindergarten until that final final exam and diploma/degree from whichever you select to be your exodus of education, you are force-fed ‘knowledge’ from self-proclaimed gods and experts. Not only are many truths left out of the public curriculum, but school tends to emphasize that oh, so capitalistic IDEAL called competition. From the moment you hear the words GPA and class rank, your skin tingles with the excitement of the hunt. I mean, even such a fun activity as softball or volleyball is mutated into some vile form of sport where the thrill goes to the victor and defeat is far more than losing a game. Think about the classroom atmosphere; we are taught, and quite gullibly believe that teachers don’t want us to help each other with homework, simply because we won’t learn as much if we rely on someone else, but come on! Wouldn’t it be far better if we were allowed to congregate and teach each other rather than sit like church members praising their deity of mathematics or US History?

I’ve read countless articles in underground publications about how anarchy is so misunderstood AND I WONDER WHY. Not only is anarchy a seemingly forbidden topic in the public school system, but Webster’s second definition of the word is “utter confusion.” Not to mention that MANY high school students that I encountered in my turbulent 3.5 years there seemed to think that the prime definition of communism was “those damn russkies”–and, in fact, I was the target of many a hurled “commmie pig” which, personally, I find much more appealing of a nickname than “greddy capitalist pig.” Face it, anarchy, communism — they simply are unheard of at the high school level. Is it because we are too immature at that level, or perhaps because that is the level on which most of us form our life-lasting opinions and they want to be sure to drive that “democracy is king” [today me would define “democracy” as “capitalist democracy”] bullshit home before we do something unpatriotic like research another, perhaps even a BETTER form of existence or interaction.

I even had a teacher in high school who forbade me to use underground publications as a source of reading material…you know the kind of assignment: you take one of those fluff courses like Advanced Readgin, and the teacher tells you to read and crituque a magazine article every week, assigning a specific topic for each week. That week, it was health, so I chose an article from a pub’n that was in some kind of section called censored news articles or something. The article was about AIDs. The teacher took one look at the magazine, called me up to her desk, and told me she wouldn’t accept the critique because this wasn’t a “class” magazine…she said that she would allow me to hand in an alternate article the next day. The next day, I handed in a two-page essay on the underground and the literature produced there. She was miffed, QUITE. [If I remember right, I actually was forced to sit in the hall for the remainder of the class…which was the most severe punishment I ever faced as a goody two-shoes student.] So, the next week, when we had to hand in a sports article, I pored over every single issue of Sports Illustrated and finally found the perfect burn. That week, I used an article on rhino hunting. It was, of course, acceptable because it was from SI. Nyeesh.

It’s scary, but true, that those dumbfucks in my sociology class who answered “strongly agree” to the statement “‘my country right or wrong’ is always a good motto” are the MAJORITY. These are the people who, if we don’t get off our rears and offer alternative sources of knowledge, literature, whatever, will go on being so blind and elect our future leaders…become our future business owners…RUN OUR FUTURE SCHOOL SYSTEMS…the paradox continues.

“United we will stand and divided we will fall. Unless we work together, no change will come at all…” -Flux of Pink Indians

Still thinking, still questioning, still LIVING life,

Lainie (the oyster)