Episode-1099- Laurette Lynn on Don’t Do Drugs, Stay Out of School — 66 Comments

  1. Hey, Jack. Good show as always.

    I have three boys who have or are going through the public education system and we have kept close tabs on their teachers and schooling throughout the years. While there have been ups and downs, the education system is changing and educators realize that the system is broken. Unfortunately, they have not been able to measure the “systems” performance effectively. I believe that elementary/primary education is important to teach the basics; however, middle and high school should allow more freedom for kids to explore their interests. In my area, we have been very fortunate that the local vocational education classes do allow this freedom. Currently, one of my sons is part of an engineering focused program for high schoolers where they earn college credit in advance math (calculus I and II) while interning for local companies where they can explore different careers in engineering. This opportunity has given my son the best year of education that directly relates to his interests.

    That said, my youngest son is bound and determined to become a blacksmith. He decided this when he was seven and can’t wait to enter into an apprenticeship when he turns 11. As a parent, it is my job to guide him in his educational choices to fit his interests; however, I will use the public education system as a tool to give him the background he needs. If I am going to be spending so much money on the local schools, then I should make sure that they work with me.

    I do not completely disagree with Laurette on her views; however, I think the education system is changing much faster than even she realizes. If we disconnect from this and go our own way, I don’t believe that the education system will ever change. The key is to be involved and influence the system to our views and meet our childrens’ needs. We are paying for it anyway, why not get some value out of it?

    Just got to the question about a child in the current system reading Tolkien’s work. I had to chuckle as my youngest has had an interest in both Tolkien and C. S. Lewis since he was five and six. His mother and he read through the complete C. S. Lewis Narnia series when he was six. With the availability of the movies, he is even more interested in this genre. So to say he is a voracious reader is an understatement. His reading comprehension is very good and he retains most of what he reads which is the opposite of his older brother who struggled with reading comprehension, but excelled in math and science.

    Anyway, have a great weekend!


  2. THANK YOU for presenting a great rabble-rouser, Jack. I’m a 14-year veteran vocational school instructor who now homeschools my own child, due to the deterioration of the public school system in Canada. It is indeed spooky how unqualified teachers are allowed to make medical diagnoses and enforce medication for ADD students. Your listeners will find it is much easier, from a legal perspective, to never enroll a child in school, rather than to later withdraw that child for homeschooling.

    Two other free resources that potential homeschoolers in your audience might want to check out are: and

    It is possible to educate a child well at home at very low cost — a tiny fraction of what the state pays a school. Our pediatrician informed us that most homeschooled children are at least 2 years ahead of their public school peers. However, Canadian homeschoolers do not get a property tax refund for educating their own children. Taxation to support the local school is mandatory, and we do not get vouchers to purchase placements in charter schools.

  3. I haven’t listened to the show yet…will do so tonight. But it sounds like a great episode. I love the term “school-free families” in the description! I usually call public school “government school”, but most people usually don’t like it when I say that!

  4. Drew, your perspective is one that I have heard often by public school advocates but I just don’t understand. You have a broken system that may or may not be improving. That is highly debatable. But you are willing to use your kids as tools in the effort to reform the broken system. Good luck with that. To say that by not keeping or putting all of our kids into the failing system is disconnecting from the problem and hurting its recovery is pretty silly. Silly because I would never put my kids at risk just for the sake of saving a system that would otherwise not have any significance in my family’s lives. If you feel your crusade or ministry is to personally bring about reform to public schools everywhere, there are probably better ways to do that other than just putting your kids in the system. Even if you are an awesome, involved parent. As for me, there are a million other more important crusades than fixing the American Public School system.

  5. For those interested in the pedagogical underpinnings of the Trivium, which Mrs. Lynn mentions in passing, see the seminal piece by Dorothy Sayers: (Fun fact: Sayers is contemporary with Lewis and Tolkien, who were mentioned earlier)

    Also, she mentions that all people are smart early on in the podcast. I am pretty sure that she was alluding to Gardner’s work on Multiple Intelligences; the idea isn’t if you are smart, but rather how you are smart. For further reading, see here:

  6. I think you’ll both appreciate what this valedictorian has to say about public education. Please take a look. I’m surprised someone didn’t drag her off the podium.

    Also, a hundred years ago, anyone with a third grade education could do very well. My dad went to school a total of 180 days to get through the 3rd grade, but he took the 8th grade exam and passed it, so what does that say…..and he became a roofer, an avid reader, and kept his own books.

    Here’s that link to the valedictorian’s excellent put down of the system.

    P.S. have personal knowledge of Chinese school system and it’s the path this country is taking, living for the next test, but not able to think or know much about much.

  7. Joey,

    I didn’t comment to get in an argument nor did I berate anyone’s opinion. I have many friends who homeschool or send their children to private schools. In fact, the curriculum that Laurette references in the interview is very popular in the home school/private school/school-free communities, but it is still a curriculum with measures of merit. Laurette is a very involved parent with the gifting to be able to work with her kids, that’s great, but making very broad statements that are based on her own experiences in school are becoming dated. Sending our children to public school is a choice just like anything else, it’s not that we trust the schools, but in my case, the community where I live is quite conservative and very well educated. This does show in the quality of education in this area. For example, there is a charter school that was started about five years ago for middle school students that teaches critical thinking and concentrates on math and science. There are some incredibly bright, self motivated children who go there and they are exploring all kinds of great topics. They just expanded the school into a huge, modern campus that rivals a lot of colleges in the types of courses it can offer. I would venture a guess that there are more non-academic PhD’s per capita around me than in other area of the country.

    So you could say I live in a bit of a bubble 250 miles from a very major city where all kinds of stupidity occurs everyday and children are suffering in a completely broken system that is the public school system. I do not live there, I would not live there, and as much as I hate the politics of this state, leaving it for greener pastures feels like giving up on society and throwing in the towel saying that it will never get better. I believe that the people who make up this forum and other forums like it are who make this country great and keep the flame of freedom alive. If we hide away from the rest of the country, we are being self centered and condemning America to destruction. If our sons and daughters are proud to fight and die for this country, we should be proud to do everything we can to make it a country worth living in.


  8. This podcast made me laugh. As a high school student, the story of the textbook copying is true. In Algebra 2 class, I often just read the text book instead of listening to the teacher. The teacher herself is worse at explaining the book.
    Last year, I had a math teacher that took the book and broke it down into plain english and not dry professional language. It was an entertaining class.
    But, this year is nothing but boring pointless classwork problems with a teacher that cares to yell at sleeping kids whose work is done.
    So, things are indeed strange.

  9. I haven’t listened to this yet but I think the greatest thing we can do in the march to freedom is take our kids out of government schools – where we can teach them what true freedom is and what natural law is.

  10. We live in one of the best school districts in our state and I must say that it does do a decent job of ‘educating’ our children. But we have different standards than the school does for academics, work ethic, faith, and character. In fact, we have different standards than the local parochial schools do, so we choose to home school. I understand that it isn’t for everyone, but I do think everyone should be informed. So I ask you to search ‘Common Core Standards’ and, ‘CSCOPE’, ‘John Taylor Gatto'( a former teacher in the worst school district in NY). The first two will show you where we are headed. And Gatto’s work will show you some very interesting history on our educational system. Here is one link to an article on some not so good information found in the CSCOPE standards.


    A link directly to the Standards:

    And many home school companies are on board with these ‘standards’ so beware. Here is a blog dedicated to the subject with a lot of research and links to articles as well as lists of home school curriculum that does and does not use these standards.

    All I am saying folks is make an informed choice.

    • According to the typical standards like Laurette was speaking of in the podcast. I don’t compare them to my standards because it wouldn’t be comparing apples to apples. Which is why I put ‘educating’ in parenthesis. Some people believe that testing is a good gauge for knowing how students are doing. I do not, but that is my opinion.

  11. I love this show!!!! My youngest who had the ability to think at a very young age and frustrated teachers from elementary school all the way thru the United States Naval Academy.

  12. It’s good to hear someone else talking about parents as the first and primary educators of their children. This has been central to Catholic teaching for a very long time. I am glad to find people coming at this issue from other ends and arriving at the same conclusion! It is not well-known that Catholic immigrants in the early 1900’s fought bitter battles with government over the right to educate their own children, and establishing their own private schools. Now the movement has gone to homeschooling as well.

    I am likewise pleased to hear your guest speak on the value of women NOT being derived from their ability to earn in the traditional labor force. That is an unpopular view; as a practicing Catholic I get funny looks if I say this because it is assumed that I must therefore have my wife chained to the sink with a dozen children around her. We are childless, truth be told (not by choice), and I would still not give her over to the market place willingly. Instead she is free, and this is my gift to her for which she is grateful. There is no sense in both of us being chained and miserable in this mad economic system. I work from the inside, she from the outside.

  13. For the record there are no cheat codes in World of Warcraft. Its unfortunate I know that

  14. Excellent show with Laurette, Jack! So many critically important issues covered in a little over an hour…

    John Taylor Gatto was mentioned several times, and as he is a compelling speaker on this issue, I thought you guys might want to check out a fairly recent, and well produced interview with him on youtube:

    The Ultimate History Lesson (the whole thing is 5 hrs long, but well worth your time; take it in parts…). Also, his website is, and you can read free chapters from his books there.

    Another prescient video from the early ninety’s concerning “outcome based education” i heard about from the VERY awesome School Sucks Podcast*, is from a lady named Peg Luksik, here it is:
    Who Controls our Children?

    *heard the host, Bret Veinotte mention that he heard you speak at the latest Liberty Forum in NH, and would be adding your podcast to his list of stuff to listen to.

  15. Jack – you mentioning how you learned about “conservative” and “liberal” in school reminded me of how they taught us in civics class (this was in Iowa in 1999). They gave us a sheet with about a dozen statements and if you agreed with them you were conservative and if you didn’t, you were liberal. The statements more or less said things like “I believe a woman’s place is in the house”, “minorities have too many rights”, “Who cares about the environment?”, “people are poor because they’re deadbeats” and so-on. They had us raise our hands if we agreed with the statements. Naturally there were very few “conservatives”, but I raised my hand for all of them just to push other people’s buttons.

  16. Jack-

    Loved this show! I am a mother of a two-year-old and a six-month-old, both boys. I have been thinking about home schooling in a co-op or some sort of a network of other parents who home school. This podcast pushed me closer to the side of home schooling. I too worry about the lessons and viewpoints taught in the public school system. I am also thinking about private school but the majority of what is taught may be the same as public.

    While I didn’t agree with everything Laurette said…I did find inspiration and oddly, clarity of purpose in the majority of what she said. I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with the boys after working full time for the first year and a half of my two-year-old’s life. My husband and I worked very hard to pay off our student loans and our vehicles. We had over 50,000 in debt and paid it off in little more than two years…due in large part to us both working and the majority of my salary going toward paying this debt. This decision was, in large part, inspired by this podcast. I know not everyone has the opportunity to stay at home with their children so I consider us very fortunate.

    I am unsure of how a full time parent could have the time/ability to home school their child. I cannot imagine that my husband and I would have been able to do so with the hours we worked–he is a software engineer and I was a project manager for and ad agency.

    At times, I found her a bit harsh on public schools and families where both parents work. That being said, I will be listening to Laurette’s podcast and checking out her sites to find out more about home schooling. I think the most eye-opening part of the show for me was her (and you) commenting on the way language can be used to manipulate control. It put a word to what I have felt for a long time.

    As always, love the show…and thank you for opening our eyes to the manipulation of government. We were once sheep…we are now ants.

    Freedom in IL

  17. Hey guys, I’m really curious what your take is on the kids who have shitty parents. You can’t go down the path of this exercise too far without asking yourself “what about the kids whose parents really are terrible people?”

    Our boy starts kindergarten next year. The school system is trying to get funding to make it five full days. My wife and all of her friends are up in arms about it, and I’m really not thrilled either, but I also know that there are a lot of rural poor up here whose kids are severely neglected and growing up in a toxic environment. Clearly the desire to get kids out of the home earlier is to give those kids a better head start.

    I believe we’ll ultimately end up home schooling, but I always wonder, if every good family home schooled, how much worse would it be for those who can’t.

    • @Jake Olsen,

      The question that needs to be asked, is the system taking care of the kids with bad parents now? Not really. I would think in a free market – since we wouldn’t be expecting the gunvernment to do it for us anymore – would come up with many solutions.

      • I’d say the current system makes bad parents WORSE.

        1. It provides an excuse for their failure.
        2. It provides “free daycare”
        3. The parent is paying a lot of money in taxes and feels therefore it is the schools responsibility
        4. All choice is removed on which school which takes away the one thing many parents could do to be involved

      • @Jack @Jake,

        I would say the current system makes decent parents worse too. I would consider my sister a good parent but she didn’t even think to educate her kids before they went to school because she thought it was their job! How many other parents do that? Here in the small town of Chino Valley, AZ, the government school said that 75% of the kids that enter kindergarten don’t even know the letters in their name.

    • CRappy parents = you are toast.

      ~50% of academic performance = pure genetics. IQ=potential any way you slice it
      ~40% = parental involvement
      The remaining 10% is the school quality.

      What cracks me up is that most people act like it’s the opposite. School = 50%

      I’d say most people have never been in a “bad” school and that most schools today are better than the one they went to.

      • Really 50% is genetic? Really? So one of my sisters is frankly an under achieving savant, you know what I am and my other sister is a drug addict married to a meth dealer and calls a “firearm” a “fire weapon” and thinks her Shepard and Collie mix dog is “part wolf”. So genetics are 50% responsible for that?

        Here is what I think, I simply refused to take shit from people and found my own way, my other sister is gifted but wasting her gift, my “stupid” sister is like 99% of people and was failed by a system that told her being mediocre was smart and she was to damn lazy even for that.

        Now do I blame genetics for this? Given that we have the same parents and same genetic code NO! Can we blame our parents (who sucked in many ways) for it, NO as we all have different results.

        I really believe my baby sister is smarter then I am though she will never achieve 10% of what I will because her head is firmly in her ass. I can’t blame genetics because she has a measurable IQ higher then I do and frankly man I am WAY beyond the minimum requirements for Mensa. I disclosed my IQ one time here and won’t do it again as most simply didn’t believe it and I don’t push strings, this youngest sister scored higher. The middle sister can’t muster 3 digits I promise you but it is pure laziness her parents didn’t suck more then mine (they were the same) and we share the same DNA.

        If DNA is the issue why do some people do well and others suck ass and those two people can at times be identical twins?

        The system is shit, that is a fact. It is designed to create conformity, examine where it came from and you will see it is the case.

        What I believe is this, we all have different circumstances, even if we grow up in the same home. This has to do with birth order and many of the people we have as teachers, friends and contemporaries. This sets up the stage for our level of resiliency. So I have one sister with more “natural talent” then I have, another that is measurably an idiot and I have greater success then the two of them plus everyone they know closely combined, how?

        I got lucky! I had teachers (not in school) that taught me what mattered. I learned to fight, never quit and bust ass. I learned to fight not just hard but the right battles. I learned to accept my weaknesses and focus on my strengths. I learned to say FUCK IT when I was shitty at something and find what I was good at.

        Is that due to my DNA, nope! I found the right people, I feel honestly as a Deist that the universe gave me opportunities and I was just smart enough to capitalize on them. I found a work ethic not based on someone’s complete pile of bullshit but on my own personal desires. I don’t think the difference in who I am and others who fail is based on my genetic code, my childhood station in life or some BS demographic. I feel I am simply human and all humans have the potential to be great, I got lucky and found people who demonstrated that. Very lucky!

        I know damn well I could very well be in that shitty coal town right now working swing shift and worse believe it was the best I could do. That is a lie, the only reason I know that though is I was exposed to proof of the lie. I give 0% credit of that to my mother, say 5% to my father, say another 10% to my grandmother, perhaps 1% over all to the school system and about 50% to the officers and NCOs I spent time with in the US Army. The rest I give to myself, not for being “smart” but for busting my ass.

        My sisters got the same lottery tickets of DNA I did and the same parental influence and BTW the same school systems and even many of the exact same teachers. What I got that they didn’t was a trip to some third world shit holes, a few shots fired at me and I left the place they still live in today.

        I do believe that a corrected education system could have made a difference for them, a DNA shift I don’t think would have done shit for them. “Better parents”, MIGHT have helped them, I don’t know but better parents likely would have done me harm. I did well in life because I had to. May be that sounds crazy but I know personally that it is true.

  18. I have a niece that is exceptionally smart. I can see she’s getting really bored by school and I know she’s going to start acting out, just like her mother (my sister) did. Any idea how I can help keep her schooling from ruining her education when I’m only around once a month and have no say in how she’s raised?

    I remember when she was three taking her to the local Natural History Museum thinking, “oh, she likes dinosaurs, this might be fun for her” knowing she wouldn’t really understand most of what they had to offer. My jaw hit the floor just 10 feet inside the door.

    They had a table set up with 12 skeletons from local animals like a turtle and a a frog, for example. She named all 12 animals correctly and I still don’t know how she knew what an opossum was, let alone what it looked like from the bones!

    • All you can do is influence right? Like Jack has talked about before, take them out to shoot guns w/o talking politics, etc. Not sure how to go about it, but hope you get the ideas, in the end though, if the parent isn’t abusive all you can do is use gentle persuasion.

  19. Interesting topic, a poor case was made for those that don’t already agree. But great job preaching to the choir.
    I did not listen to the show with a pen in hand and taking notes, but I don’t believe any statistics were ever cited. A ton of anecdotal evidence was used to show how bad the schools are. I mean to say that kids of the past are better educated than kids today, you need to show me a study.

    And I laughed out loud when she said that everybody has the same intelligence. I meet people who are far smarter than me on a regular basis. Simply because we all have a human brain does not mean that it is wired the same. Some people are just smarter than others and quite frankly some people are dumb. When everybody’s super nobody’s super!

    It should be noted that our education system varies widely across the US.

    • It isn’t that everyone is the same it is that everyone is intelligent, intelligence though needs to be channeled. Each person has areas they can best use their innate intelligence.

      Oh then there are things like this that just keep happening

      But hell those are just facts, statistics, etc.

      • I love the info graphic Jack! The test scores are impresive. It was a little frustrating to hear her talk about thinking critically and not provide any statistics with sources.
        The other two links are more of success stories. They were interesting and it is always enjoyable to hear about kids doing well. If all we do is compare success stories public schools will have a lot of stories as well.
        The real question is. What is best for each kid? It is sad to say that a lot of kids in school have parents that don’t care much about their education. I willing to bet that most kids that are homeschooled have parents that care a lot about education (but I don’t have the stats for that) 🙂

    • i think what was meant was that:
      ‘smart’ & intelligent do not mean – the ability to regurgitate information on demand (take tests well)

      i do wonder sometimes if a lot of the ‘dumb’ people have been ‘talked into it’ (told their entire lives that they’re dumb.. and failing at regurgitation, eventually believing it). though you can also always blame corn syrup 😉

  20. Point on critical thinking: As the speaker mentioned, I DID learn critical thinking in college, when I took up the degree electrical engineering. Talk about analysis! But I remember 4 years in, I looked up and realized i viewed life in very logical, sectioned parts, and had LEARNED to be analytical. I approached everything the same way I approached complex engineering calculations. It can be learned, but its not taught unless taken up in a field known for that.

  21. Great podcast, I couldn’t agree more with the guest!

    I went to public school and I’d say I’m what they call a “success.”. I will admit I loved the structure of public school, I received good grades, and I even graduated from college with a BS and MS. However, the years and years of telling you what to do and how to do it has failed me greatly.

    I am currently pursuing a PhD in Engineering and I feel this is the first time in my life where I truly need to think. And boy has it been a HUGE challenge. I am also learning that I am not very resilient when it comes to school. I often get depressed and want to quit. I can honestly say I feel like a child throwing a temper tantrum (in my head) because of the frustration I have with this process!

    It’s sad that I went almost 30 years before I could truly be challenged. I’m glad that I’ve stuck with it and am starting to see the benefit of being challenged. I feel so strongly that kids need to be challenged to the point of feeling frustrated. Ideally, kids should want to challenge themselves. There are just so many bad things that come out of the public school, the least of which is a mediocre education. It stifles who are you. It makes you think you are one thing when you are not. I am still going through the realization that I wasn’t the smart kid, I was just the kid that liked the system so I did what they said. I think kids like me are at such a great risk. Because once you “graduate” out of the system, you really have nothing. When I graduated with my BS and started working in the real world, I started having anxiety and full blown panic attacks out of nowhere. My brain didn’t know what to do without the structure of school and it has taken me years to condition my brain for the real world.

    So even if you think your kids are doing well in public school because they get good grades and don’t misbehave, they may be suffering in many other ways.

  22. First post – so bear with me people. Just got done listening to this.

    Well, I found this interesting 42 different ways from Sunday. Let throw a few important bits of my background out there:

    Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology (Learning, skill acquisition, memory, decision making, problem solving, language, etc.)
    Lead Examiner for a Baldrige based performance excellence program (including an education site visit)
    Director over Learning and Development and HR units.
    Have worked for State Government and Private Sector.
    Currently an independent consultant in high performance process management, measurement, planning (Six Sigma, Lean, Benchmarking)

    I agreed with her general points of the system could use a lot of work, and the system produces what it is designed to, you are responsible for your child’s education (and everything else), and one size doesn’t fit all.

    But after that, I’ll be honest, and I apologize to all who were just in love with her talk, but I could probably spend about three shows just beating most of what she said to death with a stick. I know far more than just a little about everything she was rambling about, and basically all I heard a lot of whimsical “rhetoric” (<= couldn't resist).

    She sounded like someone who is love with the idea of learning and individuality and life and every other feel good approach to the universe that I can imagine. That's nice and all, but performance talks and BS walks. That was mostly, in my opinion, someone who, while eloquent, mixed everything she liked that supported what she said in to one grand ultimate theory of crap. Founded in principle? Yes, however she falls into the category of people not able to think critically, and worse than that, believes herself to be much more educated and intelligent than she is.

    Now – in full disclosure, I'm going to look deeper into her stuff just to confirm my beliefs. But I am also open to being shown that I am wrong.

    But at 46, I have to tell you – the majority of home "educated" people I have ever met (and I have ran into a few…), got that way because they were mainly making excuses for their poor performance. And the home "educators" were by far, the people who should LEAST be involved in educating anyone.

    Interesting? Absolutely, however, I'd approach everything she said cautiously with a ten foot pole.

    • @Bob given that you are so proud of your credentials and so indoctrinated in this system your response doesn’t surprise me.

      You say the system “does what it is designed to do”, I agree but do you know what that is? I submit this to further your education,

      Doing what it is designed to do is the problem, it is designed to program individuals and stratify the classes. Your right it does just that.

    • @Bob,

      You spent your post building yourself up and tearing down Ms. Lynn. You forgot to write one part – what you actually disagreed with and why you believe your ideas are correct. I have to admit, I like what she has to say, but I don’t think she is the best spokesman in the world for home education – there are better – but she still is a good advocate for the cause of a better tomorrow.

      Also, you use anecdotal evidence to say home education is bad for the majority you have met. Have you ever thought that maybe these people were better off than they would have been going to a government school?

      I had a friend from when we were children and his mother did not home educate her children correctly (in my opinion and my friend’s opinion) but I still think he came off better than going to government school. Why? He learned to work very hard and communicate well with others. He may not be book smart but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a pharmacist. On the other had, I went to government schools and do not have the greatest work ethic and I suffer from not being able to interact well with others – although I am book smart (masters in Electrical Engineering – not that that matters), part of it is he’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert, but I think part of it also is that government school’s aren’t congruent to properly socializing people – as Susan Wise Bauer pointed out in her book “A Well Trained Mind.”

  23. Touche Jack – I am indeed a product of the “system” That said my mission in the ‘system’ has been to use science to make better systems, without much regard for the politics/religion/social factors, but for the purpose of achieving objective measurable goals.

    One thing I tell people – everything can be measured. But selecting the goal to measure is the tough part. There is no doubt a lot of kids can do well with specialized education. As I said – I studied learning. That’s a process and an outcome. Education is a system. Kind of like the “legal” system and justice. Not as closely related as one would think.

    I think the public school system is 80% bloated with crap. I agree that keeping it focussed on reading/writing/’arithmetic would be fantastic. And getting over “all good children go to college” would help immensely.

    I think jon above said it well – she is probably not the best spokesperson for it.

    • oh yes – fun statistic you’ll appreciate (and I forget the source, and it’s kind of old)

      50% of all kids go to college
      25% of them graduate
      16% of jobs require (based on knowledge/skill/ability – not HR job post description) a college education.

      I am also not denying the power of socialization (I have given that lecture) but I really don’t think school is that actively a subversive system. More like a “self-organized” system. It just organically grows as we spread all kinds of random seeds in it. No surprise the garden is a mess and some good plants get choked out.

    • “I think the public school system is 80% bloated with crap.”

      Well that we agree on! Almost I think 80% applies to say K-8th at the high school level rack it up to 90%.

    • “everything can be measured”

      I don’t think so. For instance how do you measure good art? Popularity? Absolutely not. Teaching is an art mostly. It is impossible to describe what makes a good teacher, but you know a good one when you see it. You can measure some outcomes that you would expect from a good teaching, but not the most important things like what a good education does for the soul (and yes that includes math).

      Learning (which is really what it’s all about) is an organic thing. The idea that an institutional system is going to foster an organic experience is misguided. It happens at times, but it is in spite of the system, not because of it.

      • student enthusiasm?

        Every ‘good’ teacher story I’ve ever heard goes something like:

        I was never good in x, but there was this one teacher that made it awesome, i loved that teacher!

        Of course this is adults looking back.. so maybe the teacher report cards would have to be ten years late.

  24. Those definitions of conservative and liberal are the same definitions I was just given in my writing 122 class. Made me laugh

  25. The education system is theft, it steals so much of a person’s youth. Her comment that a student could achieve the equivalent of a K-12 education by 8 or 9 years of age is quite true.

    Concerning the 8th grade test from a hundred years ago, it is perfectly reasonable that it is a not internet myth. I started buying antique text books to see what kids were accomplishing in the past. Most college seniors could not handle a 6th grade McGuffy reader. The difference is amazing.

    I have been in education for most of my life, only two years in public sector before I left in total disgust. But after rising to be headmaster of a rather elite classical Christian school and seeing about the very best you could want in an education system I quit. I am not going back. The age-graded, spoon fed, lets all march in lock-step approach to education is not good for kids. I couldn’t agree more with Mrs. Lynn. The system, whether private or public, is bad for children academically, socially, it destroys creativity, it destroys a love for learning (“is this going to be on the test”), it is very inefficient even at a very demanding school like mine. The best solution is learning at home with minimal structure (though every child is different, and some need structure). Throw the TV and the video in the trash and any other ‘easy entertainment’. Read great books together, give them tools instead of toys. Let the work at having fun.

    • OOOOOOOOOO! I am very intrigued! Where does one acquire these antique text books you speak of? I have collected some pretty old books in my time but never come across such things. “The American Boy’s Handy Book” was very telling and everyone should get a copy. I have an original they are expensive but it is in reprint at this time because it has passed copy protection.

      Which oh so gives me an idea. Do you realize that books over 100 years where copy protection has not been kept up (as no text book would be) are available for reprinting with no royalties. Meaning with things like Create Space and Lulu such books could live again with one off printing?

      I would love to see what a 5th grader in 1850 was learning!

      • Your last sentence is funny as Gary North (Lew Rockwell contributor) tells this excellent story: North has a friend Bertel Sparks who taught at Duke Law School for years. The first day of school we wanted deflate the egos of his new students who were full of themselves being recently accepted into Duke Law. So he passed out an essay on property written by Blackstone. It was from “Commentaries,” published in 1765. It was the classic law book for English lawyers. He had them discuss the essay in the following class. They always had great difficulty both reading the essay and trying to have a discussion of the essay. Then as they were leaving class, he informed them that the essay was not copied directly out of Blackstone’s, but rather from a 5th grade Appleton Reader.

        So I tracked down a copy of a 5th grade Appleton Reader. Most of the readings are college level, except most college students are not even exposed to these great works anymore (we are being separated from our culture).

        I have bought most of my antique textbooks at ebay. The high quality books are expensive, but I just wanted the content and purchased most for $3-5. I am looking for an all in one printer with a form feed scanner. I want to cut the bindings off these books, scan them and post them as PDFs. They of course could be used by homeschool parents, but my goal is to show folks who say ‘my kid’s school is one of the good schools” what a good education looks like. Our best schools are very shabby compared to the average one room school house out on the prairie.

        If you buy textbooks after 1880’s you start to see a decline already setting in. Someone reprinted a 1935 McGuffey series, but they are shabby compared to McGuffey’s earlier than 1880s.

        • @Steve Wilkins,

          If you go to google books you can get many of the old books for free in PDF/e-pub format for free and print them from those documents, saving yourself the trouble of cutting up the old books. Then you could use those old books for a good purpose, like cutting out the middle and storing cash in them – JK 🙂 .

        • @A Nonny Mouse,

          It is the system that is getting the blame, not the teachers themselves. There’s a big difference. Home education is the best option right now because there are so many regulations involving schooling that teachers/school boards/private schools/etc that people’s hands are tied. In an ideal world we wouldn’t need to home educate our children all k-12. Of course, kids wouldn’t need to start going to school until much older and for not nearly as long since most education can be done at home and/or on the job depending on the child’s age and interests.

      • Lots of free ebooks are also available on The Gutenberg Project:

        I can’t bring myself to listen to this show. As a public school educator, it seems like we are always getting the blame for something.

        I am glad to know that at least some parents are involved with and care about their children’s education. I wish it was a larger number.

        I do my very best to not spoon-feed students and make them think for themselves. Sometimes it takes longer for a student to acquire knowledge this way, but I think the light bulb moments mean more this way.

        I am not at all opposed to homeschooling but I will just say that some children who have transitioned to my classes seem to have been “unschooled” rather than homeschooled. (Unschooling is an actual thing. I’m not mocking anyone or saying that all homeschooled childred are unschooled. Look it up.)

  26. Too bad we can’t simply choose our teachers all the time. There are some great ones out there, public schools, private schools, someone in your neighborhood, community. I’d hate to be the only teacher of my kids, much can be learned from a variety of teachers, mentors. In college I stopping following the suggested courses and would sit in various professor’s classes and ask myself, do I want to spend good money to learn from this person. If the answer was yes, I’d sign up for everything they taught. If the first day of class I was like “I don’t want to waste another minute listening to this idiot”, I’d drop the class asap.

    I never liked social studies until we had an awesome one in high school. I’ll never forget the poor student teach he had for 6 weeks or so. First he had a tough act to follow, then he went by the book, didn’t have our attention, couldn’t get our attention, very bright guy but not a teacher.

    After he left we had an open discussion about that student teacher. Our awesome teacher flunked him, completely. Said he wasn’t cut out to be a teacher, he couldn’t connect with his students, have a conversation with them, inspire ideas. All he could do was go by the book. He felt bad that it was probably the only time the guy had ever not gotten a A, but that teaching was serious and he wasn’t a teacher. More like a regurgitator of info, blah, blah, blah. He also told us that sadly someone else would pass him with flying colors, and that this was the direction our school system was heading.

    I always went over my children’s papers when they were in grade school. Anything marked wrong, we’d discuss. And I told them that their teachers weren’t always right. Don’t take their word for it if they mark something wrong. And when something wasn’t graded right, we’d discuss it, write a note to their teacher and send it back. As they got older I recommended they do it on their own.

    “In your opinion, what is going on in this picture?” That question stumped one child, what was the right answer? I told her there was no exact answer, simply your opinion. She wrote down her opinion. Her teacher marked it wrong. We had a talk with that teacher. If the question asked for her opinion and she gave it, it should never, never be marked wrong. “Well, it wasn’t the answer we were looking for” So I asked, “Do you mean our public school system is telling grade schoolers what their opinion should be if they want a good grade?” She got very quiet and changed the grade.

  27. This podcast really hits home with me.

    I am a product of the public school system. To be fair, I grew up in one town, where, at the time, there were two elementary schools, one school for 5th-6th, one for 7th-8th, and one high school. Rather small town, at the time (the 5th-6th grade school and the high school were also schools my parents, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents went to!). I also had some of the same teachers that the previous generation did. I did have some good teachers (mostly those who taught my parents or grew up in the same school system), but on average, my teachers sucked. I learned more Spanish working in the fields during the summer alongside migrant workers than I did in three years of Spanish. Learned more Engish from my love of reading than I did class.

    I’ve said for awhile now that my kids will not go to public schools. We may use them for sports or other extracurricular activities (some states and districts allow that). Maybe for kindergarten or something if needed, but not long term. Home educated would be best, a good private school if necessary.

    The thing that shocks people the most when they hear me say this? I am almost done with college to become a teacher myself, and I plan to teach in public education, at least right off the bat. I want to do this primarily because the schools suck. It’ll probably be like trying to empty the water from a sinking boat with a spork since I’ll be one teacher, for one subject, at one school, for one year…however, the way I see it, if I can successfully motivate and help just a few kids; make school better for only a few kids; truly educate and challenge at my students while I have them, it’s worth it to me…who knows though, maybe after a few years in the system I’ll be saying f**k it and leaving the public system but, for now, I’m and idealist.

    From my position though, I will say, anybody who feels that the current system is fine, or works, are morons. The system is only working at one thing, or two depending on how you classify things, controlling and hurting students. Hopefully that will change.

    • @Brandon Enos,

      Good luck with that. Many don’t succeed very well at that. Look at John Taylor Gatto and the reasons he left the school system. Partly because it is a system and it doesn’t like stand out teachers. So the stand out teachers just can’t last. There are some good ones that last in government schools, I think there is one that even writes for LRC. It isn’t the teachers that are bad, it is the system that make them bad.

      As Stefan Molyneux says, you can try and change the mafia from the inside out, but you aren’t going to be able to change it because that would be contrary to what the system truly is! (that was a really bad paraphrase).

      • There’s definitely truth to that. It’s really sad. I can’t speak for all colleges from personal experience, but I can speak for mine and can speak on second-hand information handed down by professors.

        The college professors teaching the next generation of teachers are sick of the current system. So many negative comments all the time about the system and the “old ways” of teaching. I am learning a lot of innovative teaching techniques that they’ve been really shifting towards the last few years, maybe a decade now?

        The problem is, between standardized testing, and teachers with tenure or who have moved on to be administrators, in charge of curriculum, funding, etc, new teachers being taught these methods and bringing in innovative ideas aren’t lasting in the public school system or, if they do, it’s because they “sell out”. Now, there are some “good” districts and schools out there, but they’re rare in the public school system and, honestly, I don’t know how to improve it (I mean, I know what needs to change, just not how it can be gone about with the current system so dug in…much like congress).

  28. Rhetoric
    1. The art of speaking with propriety, elegance and force.
    2. The power of persuasion or attraction; that which allures or charms.
    -Webster 1828

    I had such high hopes reading the show notes, and it was banal. I am not sure I would even call the points made during the discussion ‘anecdotal.’ It was a conversation of pure rhetoric. I find that completely ironic since they brought up the term, and the fact that it is seen in such a negative light.

    The shows that get more nuts and bolts are Jack’s strong suite. Jack has many episodes that I would regard as good quality “home education” lessons. Maybe a few episodes with deeper details of teaching methods, tools, curriculums, etc. would be in order. Is it survivalism? I would say yes, if you consider the many shows on different aspects of permaculture ‘survivalism’ (which I do).

    I will listen to some of Mrs. Lynn’s podcast to reconsider my first impression. This one just came off flat, and it had a few tin-foil hat moments IMHO.

  29. Thank you for this great interview. My wife and I have been struggling with the desire to sever our children from the government indoctrination program, and bring them into a loving, caring environment (us) vs the stigma of homeschooling. We went ahead and ordered Laurette’s book which has opened our eyes to the possibilities of personalized education, and the vast number of our friends who have chosen to personally care for their children’s education.

    • stigma of homeschooling?? One, who cares what other people think. Two, once you get involved in homeschooling, it’s the stigma of public schooling that’ll keep you there.

  30. Just heard the interview today! We begin our home learning adventure about 1980– 4 children, all the way through…I agree with all she said!! I want to learn more about the Alternative Learning Adventures to find out if it’s something I can start in my community.

  31. I’ve yet to meet a younger American who liked his/her high school experience (in public schools). At best, they didn’t hate it. That should tell you all you need to know.