Perhaps you heard the other day that Jaden Smith, son of actor Will Smith, sent out a tweet that stirred up a hornets nest of criticism. Take a peek:
"School Is The Tool To Brainwash The Youth."
"If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society."
Jaden Smith is 15 years old, and if we take the comments at face-value (who didn't hate school at that age?), they are easy to dismiss. But let's ignore face-value for a moment and assume he knows exactly what he's talking about. He has, apparently, reached the same conclusion many of us have who suffered through public school, who found that when we questioned authority, were told we were behaving inappropriately. When I say "question authority" I don't mean we were doing anything particularly "wrong" in the usual sense. Maybe we were writing conservative editorials in the school paper, or writing essays in English class that went against the established narrative. Maybe we wrote that popular culture and the growing trend of "if it's true for you, you shouldn't be judged" was corroding our nation. Maybe we refused to write about something else, even when enough teachers complained to the point the principle invited you into her office for a chat.
Of course, you can't be given detention or expelled because you wrote something teachers disagree with, especially since they had no cause for doing so (you didn't use profanity, didn't attack a religious or ethnic group, etc.). The only thing you did wrong was not write what they were telling you to write. Why the fuss? Because other students were reading what you wrote, especially the school paper editorials, and maybe there was a danger that others would convert to your way of thinking.
One reaction to Jaden Smith's tweet pretty much sums up all of the responses I looked up: “He has such a huge group of fans that really look up to him,” Us Weekly reporter Jennifer Peros told ABC News. “So this isn’t really the example you should really be setting.”
Exactly. Heaven forbid that young people actually question what so-called authorities tell them.
Now, we do need basic education. No question about that. But after so many "they never taught me that in school" moments as an adult, I have come to realize that school really wasn't there to teach me anything except conformity. And when I didn't conform, I wound up having to explain myself to an authority figure who thought she knew better, yet was in the untenable position of being an educator telling me not to think and explore other ideas.
If you can break away from the collective group-think of modern education, as Jaden Smith suggests, you might actually stand a chance of truly learning something.
And what drives Jaden Smith's point home is a new text book that, basically, rewrites the entire Constitution, and is aimed at "advance history" students. Brainwashing 101.
We used to say, "Don't trust anybody over 30," which was fine until one turned 30. And then it became, "Don't trust anybody." Especially teachers.
Teachers are the new sacred cows. They are not to be criticized in any way and if you do, you are tarred and feathered. I have little respect for a collective industry that follows progressive policies and passes those policies onto kids in the name of "education." I know many teachers, and they are good people. I like dating teachers because when you do something wrong, they make you do it over again. But the good ones are a drop in the bucket compared to the juggernaut of the educational industry that has a death-grip on your kids' necks.
You know what I've also learned after 38 years on God's green earth?
Sacred cows make the best burgers.
BRIAN DRAKE is a broadcaster in California and the author of The Rogue Gentleman, a thriller in the tradition of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor. Follow him on Twitter.