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**The problem with "choosing" school, even part time, is that the school
itself is an

environment that is highly coercive and demeaning to learners. So you "pay a
price" for

that kind of "teaching" whereas in other places we've taken lessons (like
acting school, sax lessons, learning to shoot rifles, vintage dance) we have not
felt that same kind of coercive and condescending context that overbears, like
it does in the public school.**

Sometimes you don't even have to enroll in school part time to be exposed to
the negative context. When Patrick was eight he joined a wrestling team
through our park district, for kids ages 5 to 12. It met in the high school
wrestling room in the evening. One night while we were there the assistant principal
of the high school came in and searched all the student's wrestling bags,
announcing before hand "If you have anything in your bag you shouldn't have, let us
know before we search." Several of the boys announced they had candy in their
bags, causing the principal to laugh, as she didn't think of candy as
contraband, although the coach did. It was clear to the kids that they either
consented to the search or they'd be unable to remain on the team because they would
no longer be allowed in the high school. None of the adults sitting around the
room had their possesions searched, and nothing was searched but the
wrestling bags. The reason given for the search was "fairness", because the high
school had recently instituted bag searches at the entrances during the day for
students. Patrick and I had several long talks about this afterward, why the
school didn't trust kids, the pointlessness of the wrestling bag search, how since
the students know what will be searched in the mornings it's unlikely to keep
anything out, why they didn't search the adults possesions, and probably a
lot more that I've forgotten. We've also had to deal with the "no hats" rule
and sometimes other parts of a very convoluted dress code.

I couldn't have made school look that bad if I'd tried. It is apalling to my
kids just how badly kids are often treated in the schools that are supposedly
there for their benefit.

Deborah in IL