I am not Dr. Seuss

E is for "Education"

in The Alphabet of Bad Ideas

Ah, yes, the new parents! Let me be among the first to congratulate you on your fertility! I assume you've reviewed the pamphlets? Excellent, excellent. Then you already understand how our program works, and why it is so necessary to society's continued function.

Do I see some unanswered questions lingering in your expressions? Ask away; I'm happy to provide you with the information you're looking for.

Why must we cram your child into a small, stuffy classroom and discourage them from expressing themselves in any unique fashion during what are arguably the most creative, curious, exploratory years of their life? Oh my, where do I begin?

For starters, rules. Rules are what keep society running smoothly, you see. It stands to reason, then, that the most important lesson a young mind can learn is how to follow those rules. To teach them this lesson, of course, we've strictly taken a hands-on approach to learning. We've put special care into crafting all sorts of ridiculous, indefensible rules that serve no purpose but to test your child's capacity for following those rules without question!

You see, at first we tried to teach children to follow important rules, for safety and general happiness. We found an inherent problem with this approach, though. Children, lacking the ability to identify that which is truly logical and justified, can hardly be expected to follow only those rules backed by actual logic and justification. Thus, we decided that the best way to work around this ever-so-minor issue was to teach them that all rules, no matter how senseless, must be followed!

Ah, you're curious about our schedule? Well, we've divided up each child's day into roughly eight hour-long sessions. It's a well-researched fact that all proper learning happens in hourly blocks. Our teachers have found that children who claim to understand a concept in less than an hour are liars, and children who demand more than an hour to research any particular subject are either stupid or trying to get out of their other classes.

You've heard of Ivan Pavlov, I assume? Yes, yes, the two of you both seem quite well-educated. We've actually set up a system of bells throughout our classrooms, and find that ringing the bell to distract each child from what they're doing and prompt them to move on to a completely unrelated topic at the end of every hour really instills the fact that what they've just learned is unimportant, As a bonus, it reinforces the value of those rules we talked about earlier!

How are these hour-long classes run? Oh, of course! I could talk all day about the benefits of having an adult stand in front of twenty or thirty students and tell them how to solve problems. Originally, we tried confronting students with challenges and letting them come up with their own solutions, but we found that these solutions were often wrong, so we had to put a stop to that. Rules, again, you see: it's important that every student learn the one proper way to do things. This way, when a student is wrong about anything, we're able to tell immediately that they're unintelligent, unsuited for the adult world, and able to be cast aside with the rest of the garbage.

Oh, no, no, I'm sure your child will be just fine. Just make sure they do their homework when we send them back to you, to reinforce the idea that nothing, especially not their happiness or personal development, is more important to you than their education.