Retired San Francisco school teacher Tom Berg discussed why he believes the public school system is highly problematic. Children (particularly C, D, and F students) are being dis-empowered, having their spirits squelched, and turned into slaves, he said. There was more freedom in classrooms in previous decades, but starting with the No Child Left Behind program, there has been more emphasis on test scores, and conformity, Berg commented. "It was getting to the point where we didn't even have freedom to speak our mind at all-- we were given scripts," to teach from, he lamented.
This focus on standardized curriculum sends a message to kids that "you're going to be in a highly competitive society, and have to fight your way to the top. And you're going to have to be either a really good athlete or a really good people pleaser," and if you don't succeed at this "you're going to have to work at Walmart for the rest of your life." Berg shared details of seeing a secret report shown to him by a Superintendent who was quitting. It detailed the economic aspects of education since 1957, and predicted that the need for low-paying, low-skilled jobs would mushroom by the millennium.
In a sense, the American education system serves to create compliant social classes that serve the military industrial complex, he argued. But rather than terrorize students into submission, we should help them discover their "cosmic superself," and to develop their passions and talents, such as through apprenticeships, Berg shared.
Brain Growth & Exercise
First hour guest, Prof. Bart Kosko talked about surprising new studies that correlate physical exercise with the raising of children IQ's. Exercise pumps more red blood cells into the brain, he noted, and sections of the brain related to memory and decision making can actually grow larger in children with higher fitness levels.