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Decentralized Education

A Systemic Solution to Mental Health Problems and Violence in Schools

I have learned more with a laptop and my own curiosity than I ever did in the public school system.

Regardless of our respective stances on gun control and other issues, we all want our children to be safe, period. It is easy to focus on our differences regarding how safety can be improved but it is important to reaffirm that regardless of our political leanings we all want a safer world for all concerned.

If we peel back the layers of commonalities and patterns in terms of school shootings it is easy to focus on various factors that school shooters seem to have in common. A lack of a stable family environment, having been bullied themselves, mental health issues, and being on psychotropic drugs like SSRI's have all been shown to be common factors.

I want to suggest that rather than focusing too much on specific issues, we tackle the problem at the root in a more profound and meaningful way. Many clients I speak to have reported that the worst times of their lives have been in the public school system. 

Looking back, I remember how oppressive and restrictive it was to sit in class after class day after day while competing against friends and classmates and at the same time trying to enjoy being a kid.

The idea I want to suggest here is that we begin to decentralize education as we know it and empower individual families and kids themselves. Homeschooling is an obvious alternative, but the financial realities of many families mean that both parents are often too busy to provide quality home education.

Treating public school like free daycare seems like a tempting option for many parents but we are now at a crisis point where we need to expand our thinking and take back our power and sovereignty as communities, families, and individuals.

Children by and large are very self-motivated in terms of learning, given a healthy environment and the right kinds of support. The public school system has been largely criticized as being skewed towards different learning styles and focusing heavily on certain subjects.

What happens when a student who is naturally gifted in art and music is forced to go through a rigorous curriculum focused on math, English, and science? How many students with difficult home environments and lack of family support are prematurely diagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability and medicated at a young age?

Students that have a tough time adapting to the one-size-fits-all school system can often find themselves withdrawing from their classmates and perhaps falling into bullying either as a perpetrator, victim, or both. Since there are so many students from different backgrounds lumped together under a restrictive curriculum it is inevitable that problems will develop.

Since many students today are so tech savvy it makes sense that learning should adapt accordingly, if we are able to move towards a more decentralized model of education. The biggest obstacle is that parents are often forced to work long hours and are unable to help their own children in terms of their own unique skills and aptitudes. 

Interestingly, we are at an age where it is increasingly possible to work remotely from home as well thanks to ever-advancing technologies. Jobs that required a commute to an office in the past can gradually be phased out and parents may increasingly be able to work from home much more often. 

When families are able to be together more often they can move forward in a way that is much more effective than how we have seen in overcrowded schools. If parents are able to streamline their work lives they will be better equipped to provide and supervise self-directed learning to their children through the aid of online learning tools and more play-based interactive methods.

I have been privileged to offer counseling services to individuals and families, emphasizing how the modern world needlessly splits families apart to everyone's detriment. A healthy family is the core of healthy societies; being able to take back our sovereignty over our children and their education is a huge step in creating a healthier world.

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