News and Tribune

Columns

September 16, 2013

CUMMINS: Schools are a thing of the past

We don’t need schools. They’re too expensive and our kids ain’t learning nothing. The Internet is cheaper, but searching for anything you want to know online is time-consuming, leaving you little time to connect with a higher power that never needs a password. Life is the best teacher, or was until civilization went digital. The problem with going digital is that humans have become automatons. Do not teach a child how to fish, but teach him or her how to live life in a vast cyberspace vacuum.

We do need schools. You can’t learn everything on the Internet, such as how to make love and friends face-to-face, how to make a living and live life without staring at a screen day, night and in bed or the bathroom. If everyone works at a computer, who will grow food or build cruise missiles? Yes, children need to go to school to learn basics, not how to crawl into a digital hole like the cavemen did. It took eons for them to see the sun.

Back in my day, school was important unless we were needed on the farm learning how to work. Food was more important than learning how to spell words or divide fractions. Our little country schools provided all we needed to prepare us for the future, which never looked bleak. The “basics” opened the door, and you could go on to high school, learn some English, science, math and history and be set for life. Back in those days, you often heard, “He was the first one in our family to graduate from high school.” That was back about only 60-70 years ago.

When I was a high school principal, I did everything possible to get Johnny, who couldn’t read, through the graduation line. He ranked at the bottom of his class, but made it through with encouragement and determination. How do you feel ranked at the bottom of anything? Why do we rank human beings like prime steaks? A D- average means you didn’t learn much from books. But it doesn’t’ mean you’re bad, or will never be successful. Some of the Johnnys I remember make me proud. I’ve seen some of them pass the valedictorian in living a good life. Valedictorians have too much pressure on them.

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