A high school senior named Matthew Paul Dollar sent me a long letter detailing his experiences in public and private schools. (His family moved a lot, and he went back and forth between various schools.) I agree with this part:
Two buzzword concepts in modern mis-education are “subjective” and objective” thought. The trend in not teaching students the dates of historical events is a huge mistake. “Educators” claim that they want to encourage creative, “subjective” thought instead of “objective” fact regurgitation. But I have found that without dates, I cannot fit historical events into context or recognize their relationships with each other. Without a strong foundation of factual objectivity, I am not capable of formulating rational, creative and subjective thoughts. If I do not know the facts for myself, but am just taught to interpret subjectively, then I will always be subjected to regurgitating somebody else’s subjective interpretation, and will interpret nothing in a “subjective” way. (If I have misused the word “subjective”, it is because the word has been so overused that it barely has any distinct meaning.)
He left public schools in Rye, New York to attend a boarding school, The Masters School, in Dobbs Ferry, NY.
Being at Masters has been a wonderfully refreshing experience. The teachers are experts in the material, and there is a mutual respect between teacher and student. In Rye, the teachers fought me tooth and nail to keep me out of advanced courses, but I have since been able to see that there is nothing special about AP courses; there is no danger of bruising your brain from taking one of these classes. The danger comes from not taking advanced classes.
. . . The reason people say “everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten” is because the public school system barely teaches anything beyond a kindergarten level. They avoid the introduction of new topics, and drag out kindergarten through all of elementary school. . . Right now, our schools function more as minimum security prisons, than institutions of education.
He’ll be an aeronautical engineering major at UC-Irvine in the fall.