61. Education As A Helix Sport: The Underground HIstory of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org
Education As A Helix Sport
Here's a principle of real education to carry you through the moments of self-doubt. Education is a helix sport, a unique personal project like seatless unicycle riding over trackless wilderness, a sport that avoids rails, rules, andprogrammed confinement. The familiar versions of this are cross-country skiing, sailing, hang-gliding, skateboarding, surfing, solitary mountain climbing, thousand-mile walks, things like that. I think of education as one, too.
In a helix sport the players search for a new relationship with themselves. They endure pain and risk to achieve this goal. Helix sports are free of expert micromanagement. Experts can't help you much in that moment of truth when a mistake might leave you dead. Helix sports are a revolt against predestination.
Bringing children up properly is a helix sport forcing you to realize that no boy or girl on earth is just like another. If you do understand this you also understand there can exist no reliable map to tell you all you need to do. Process kids like sardines and don't be surprised when they come out oily and dead. In the words of the Albany Free School, if you aren't making it up as you go along, you aren't doing it right.
The managerial and social science people who built forced schooling had no scruples about making your kids fit into their scheme. It's suffocating to the spirit to be treated this way. A young lady from Tucson wrote me, "Now that I'm nearly 25, 1 can hardly remember why I began to be afraid to go to school." I wrote back that she was afraid because her instincts warned her the school business had no use for the personal growth she sought. All pedagogical theory is based on stage theories of human development. All stage theories of child rearing talk in averages. The evidence before your own eyes and ears must show you that average men and women don't actually exist. Yet they remain the basis of social theory, even though such artificial constructs are useless to tell you anything valuable about your own implacably nonabstract child.