I have been thinking about the term “educational system,” and people have a tendency to say, “I am a product of ________ educational system.” It could be a national educational system. It could be a local educational system. It could be a state educational system. If you moved around a lot, it could be international.
My point is that unless you know the person’s schooling background, you have no idea what he or she is talking about. And even so, how big is that system a part of? A local homeschooling co-op? The New York Public Schools? Richard Taunton Sixth Form College?
But when we say we are a product of such a system, our audience gives it heft and weight, as if it has meaning when our audience really doesn’t have a clue what we are talking about.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, every so often, I get sucked into the Romantic Anglophilia sites, and I usually end up regretting it. Anglotopia published an article that was, in and of itself, good for what it was trying to accomplish. It was a surface comparison of primary schools of the U.K. and the U.S., and it made itself clear that it was generalizing and acknowledged that different schools had different policies. I have no issue with this article.
The problem came in the Facebook comment section…where evil usually lurks. People took an article about uniforms, recess, and lunch/school dinners and turned it into the “Let’s bash the American educational system!” party.
Look at the number of likes, folks.
So, we have two women who they said they went to school in the U.K. and in their snobby way extolled the “system’s” superiority, and, a bunch of Benedict Cumberbitches, including a fair share of Americans I am sure, who are falling for this dream education hook, line, and sinker. And we had one gentleman who was a product of our “school system” who wishes we had the U.K.’s.
Well, color me impressed. You went to school in the U.K.? Shall I buff your shoes with my hair, since I am nothing but a Savage Colonial? I know. We’ll get the guy who wishes we had your school system to do it.
Now, for the reality. Education is patchy no matter where you live. There are good and bad schools, and British parents worry just as much about as American parents about their children’s curricula, standardized tests, homework, and futures. We are all in this same boat, and we have to remember that.
Meanwhile, if you ask The Boffin about this educational experience, he would give you a mixed review at best. While he has appreciated his education, he has always maintained that he learned more outside of school and that the biggest misconception about British education is that you can only learn innovation in university. Innovation comes with learning how to make do with little. Formal education had nothing to do with his achievements in innovation.
So, we are very happy educating The Sprog here and do not feel like she is missing out on anything by being in the States. I can certainly do a separate post about why it works for her over here, and American education does not take away from what is good about education in the U.K. The reverse holds true as well, so there is no need to tear the United States down to make the U.K. look good.
I can understand the frustration of dealing with a school designed for the masses when elements do not work for your children. But is it necessary to put halos around another country and what you believe to be this homogenous happy system based upon hearsay?
Maybe I need to open a Romantic Anglophile Rehab Center.