You don’t legally have to go to school.
Hi! I’m Dave from Boyinaband And you don’t legally have to go to school I’ll set the scene of my discovery I was faffing around on the internet to distract from the emotional trauma Of losing my fifth game of Overwatch in a row When I found myself looking up my human rights I was scrolling through to see which one the UN might consider Replacing with the right to have at least one teammate Who doesn’t run off alone and die Until I looked at number twenty six, the right to an education Particularly the third part of it “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children” And I was like ”Kind of education? What other kinds of education are there?” So I googled it and finally everything clicked How many kinds are there? Lots There are lots of other kinds of education That are not the sit down shut up learn what we tell you Schools that we were stuck with, statistically I couldn’t believe I didn’t think about it sooner It was like that moment at age eight when you pause mid boss fight And were like ”Actually yeah if you traveled to billions of houses all over the planet within one night Santa’s flesh would melt off his face from the air resistance. Does flesh melt or is it more of a burning?” I was a weird child, but that realisation hit like a ton of bricks, heavy bricks! And this is specified in several countries’ laws too For me in England, section seven of the ’96 education act Says I should get efficient full time education Either by regular attendance at school or otherwise Under the ”or otherwise” phrase in the law you can legally go for alternatives and not get thrown in jail under compulsory attendance laws And for my home slicers across The Pond in the USA Most states have their own law for what defines alternative education For instance this one in Maryland- (Generic American Eagle) Hey yo Dave, it’s pronounced ‘Mareland’ Oh thanks, Generic American Eagle! (Generic American Eagle) No problem man It’s like you have to go to school unless you’re receiving Regular, thorough instruction during the school year in the studies Usually taught to public schools to children of the same age And that regular thorough instruction doesn’t have to be conventional school And here’s one from the state of Minissouri which I just made up That looks really convincing because I made it from stringing together Random words from this word cloud I found of the Declaration of Independence People States pass absolute Laws, Right Government Colonies Among independent powers. British Justice. But hold on, what are those alternatives? Well there are a few, which fall into different spots on a continuum with Varying degrees of freedom (Generic American Eagle) Did someone say- (Dave) Yes, Generic American Eagle, but I don’t need your help (Generic American Eagle) ‘Course you do, have some capitalism One? *laughs* That’s not much capitalism at all! Firstly there’s probably the most popular one, homeschooling My parents choose what to teach, sometimes around a pre-approved curriculum And from what I saw it doesn’t often cause you to have social problems Or as a lot of people searching phrased it ”make you weird” But even further along the continuum of freedom is unschooling No curriculum, no assignments, and no testing Instead, unschooling just lets you follow your own interests And learn as you do so If you love gaming you learn to read from playing role playing games If you love sports you learn maths through looking at Statistics of the teams you support If you love metal music then RUUUU When I found out about this my brain was like Yay that sounds freaking awesome But I was like ”I don’t know man will you actually be able to Make a living doing that?” Well since homeschoolers on average outperform their counterparts in the Public schools by over 30 percentile points in all subjects, yes A considerably better one But the problem is not every parent can homeschool Some parents have full time work so they’d find it hard And some parents are dead so they’d find it really hard! So I was like if those aren’t scaleable is there a school version of unschooling? Then I found something that made me proper O_O After asking on facebook for some help with researching alternatives Someone messaged me saying they went to a Sudbury school It turns out there’s quite a few of these Sudbury schools And they are very very different to what I remember There’s no testing, no homework, no set times for lessons, no syllabus And the part which properly made my jaw drop, All the students and staff are part of a democracy Where everyone has an equal vote in decisions In other words, a 5 year old student has the same power In the school as a staff member I was like whoa I gotta know more about this So I asked this girl if we could skype The first thing I wanted to know was ”What’s it like?” Like coming from a conventional school, how is that transition? Usually if you’ve been in public schools for a while it takes you two years to Figure out that your time is really your own And that you can learn whatever you want You spend a couple days, weeks, doing nothing but reading books and watching TV, Until There’s this moment we call it ”Bored is good” Whenever you’re bored that’s when it really hits you what you wanna do It’s all self directed That whole idea just fascinated me So it’s literally nothing mandatory? There are things that are mandatory You are required to sign in and sign out everyday Because there are state requirements that you have to be at school for a certain amount of time And you’re required to do a chore Each day And you can choose to opt out of a chore By paying a certain amount of money Wait what, like, real money? The really nice thing in my mind is that there’s a free market So students can bring in popsicles and sell them To the other students Which is, I used popsicles as an example cause that was a very successful business I sold popsicles for a while The student would buy those bulk kind of popsicle stick things That you freeze And he would sell them for 25 cents And he earned a lot of money at 7 years old And so before he did that he had to put the motion into school meeting So he had to go that week and then he had to go next week Because all motions receive two readings So that is also learning time management skills, planning skills, paperwork skills So in a Sudbury school this 7 year old gets experience in applying For permission to do business and being an entrepreneur If the same 7 year old tried that at my school then he’d be given detention And learn that being an entrepreneur gets them punished Now at this point my brain was like Hang on, this sounds a bit utopian I remember one of my bullies at school he’d had been even more of a douchebagel If they had no system in place to control him So I showed my brain this article about Ian Mikardo high school A school in the eastern of London for boys who’ve been deemed unteacheable (Voiceover) The most difficult boys in Britain (Woman) He got in fights, hated the teacher (Boy) Shut your mouth before I burn your face These are kids who have serious behavioural problems Some of which are among the most troubled in the country And all of which have been expelled from previous mainstream schools And how did they control these kids? Well they don’t (Woman) We don’t have rules We don’t physically restrain We want the boys to learn self control Before they adopted the ”no punishment” policy All of the students from the school ended up in prison Guess what percent ended up in prison afterwards 0% None of the students have gone into custody in 7 years In fact 97% of the students have gone onto further education, employment or training So how the hell did they do that? That’s an insane percent of people to take out of prison and into the work force Well instead of trying to force them to come to lessons and work like a normal school They give them responsibility over their own actions Giving the kids that responsibility and freedom helped literally Some of the most difficult kids in the country open up and take steps To being financially independent So there are alternative schools that can benefit even the most aggressive people By being less controlling But then I had the thought ”I bet these Sudbury schools are expensive private schools It probably costs their parents to send their kids there” And I was right, the annual fees for day pupils’ around 4000 to 9000 pounds But then I had the thought ”Well how much does the government spend on each pupil’s education in normal schools?” So I lost three more games and I looked it up Around four to nine thousand pounds The average across England is around four and a half thousand And it’s around that for other countries too I found this study saying these countries on average spend just over 9000 dollars per student So unless I’ve missed something which is entirely possible I’m not an expert I’m just a rapper jeez I don’t know If these governments wanted to they could choose to implement an alternative system And they wouldn’t be paying any more than they currently are So are there any other schools like that which the government does fund Without us having to organize a massing campaign to change the system Come on man it sounds like a lot of wooork Kinda There are charter schools Schools that receive government funding but don’t have the same system as conventional schools I was having a really hard time trying to pin down what exactly they Do differently until I found this video (Voiceover) When I heard some parents talking about charter schools I was all ears One woman says ”I’ve heard charter schools are fantastic but they’re impossible to get into” And then another one says ”No way, don’t you read the paper they’re all fronts For stealing government money” And then this dad chimes in ”Oh come on, supposedly they have really high test scores but they’re insanely strict” Ug, heh, I needed to find out for myself Wait hang on a sec, ug? (Voiceover) Ug, heh, I needed to find out for myself Hey voice actress lady I think- I think you mean ”ugh” (Voiceover) Ug, heh What are you a caveman? (Voiceover) Ug All the other hunters in the tribe were saying there were bison nearby But ug I needed to find out for myself! What were we talking about? Oh charter schools They can be anything from your child working at the computer at home To a big brick and mortar school where the kids wear uniforms And some where they even go to school on Saturdays And everything in between Everything in between? What does that even mean That’s like the least specific piece of crap Ugh goddammit this video wasn’t gonna tell me what they were Ug, I needed to find out for myself! There are lots of other totally different types of charter schools with varying degrees of freedom Like ug lady mentioned, there was an online version of normal school Which turned out to be significantly worse than a regular school for students’ maths and reading scores There are specialists schools like once that focus Mainly on teaching music or something And there are montessori schools Dammit I’ve heard of that where did I hear that Oh yeah Kanye Kanye West He once used this line (Kanye) And I was thinking about starting out my own school A montessori Which he then went on to rhyme with monastery Christ that is some next level slant rhyming Eminem would be impressed But let me clarify one thing I’m the king of education for rap, Kanye Step off my niche you little beast *airhorns* That’s how you do slant rhyming Apart from celebrity endorsements Montessori schools have a few distinctive aspects to them There’s mixed aged classrooms Instead of being told what lesson to do Students can choose what to do from a list of options You’re allowed to move around the classroom as much as you want To me it comes across as kind of a halfway point Between the complete freedom of Sudbury schools and the scrictly structure standard schools …Stricly structured standard schools Strictly structured standard schools Strictly structured standard schools Yes! So some of these systems sound freaking awesome But the skeptical part of my brain started to wonder if they actually had evidence Saying how they work compared to normal schools Cause parents don’t only send their kids to school because they think it’s the law Unless they suck So why do parents send their kids to school? That conversation might go something like Daddy, why do I have to go to school? To get in a good university Why? To get a good degree Why? To get a good job Christ Billy can’t you just let me read the paper And go play Call of Duty like a normal 7 year old But- Not another word till I hear some head chops That’s it no son of mine will be a bloody failure Good degree, good job Parents want to ensure their kids are financially secure So, are people more financially secure in conventional schools or alternative schools? Well that’s difficult to measure for Sudbury schools since all the ones I could find are private schools Which messes up the data of it People with parents who are rich enough and thoughtful enough to send them there Will probably make more money anyway However, I did find some really interesting stuff for charter schools Ug Now this study was done on hundreds of schools So it looked pretty solid And it said charter school attendance increased annual earnings by over 2000 dollars 12.7% higher than for comparable students who attended a traditional high school But yeah an over 2000 dollar increase That’s like how much in English money? A bank? But are these people becoming useful things like doctors and engineers Or is this just where all the arty people come from Like the former Sudbury school student who designed some of the Coolest album covers ever, called… Storm Thorgerson? Wait, is that his real name? Holy crap it is His parents took a look at their adorable baby boy and thought ”Aww he looks like a STORM THORGERSON” Jesus Christ are you serious He gets Storm Thorgerson sounding like a Norse superhero And I’m stuck here with David Brown sounding like a tractor Well it turns out a higher percentage of graduates do go into art So hopefully we’ll get more of this But also a higher percentage go into computing, maths, education, social services and healthcare So from the looks of things conventional schools mean you’ll make less money And society will have fewer doctors and scientists So now the conversation might go Daddy, why do I have to go to school? So you can learn things But I don’t need to know most of those things for most jobs Bloody hell it’s not about the specific topics it’s about teaching you how to learn, boy Did some sort just kill you What do you call people who kill you, son? Do I have to? It seems pretty homophobic Yes you bloody well have to, grab the headset You fa- Fantastic point but do normal schools teach you to learn better than alternative schools? Well do you remember that thing that teachers used to say that some people Are visual learners, some people are auditory and some are kinesthetic So some people learn concepts better when shown through pictures, Others do better hearing, get explained and the rest have to make something to get it? Bunch of crap. Not true at all 93% of teachers think it’s true, multiple studies have proved it isn’t Also, lecturing used in schools all over the place is a lot less effective than active learning Like taking part in something which teaches you rather than just listening to it In one study it increased exam results by 6% Just by changing that Even the students who got 100% went up to 106% That’s unbelievable! I’m lying So at this point I think it’s reasonable to ask the question If schools don’t know how people learn, then how the hell can you trust them to Teach you how to learn? So lets take a look at alternative schools Remember when Bill Gates made stupid amounts of money? Some of that money was put into a study to find out how flexible learning enviroments Compared to traditionally structured classrooms They made gains in maths and reading over the last two years that are significantly greater than A comparison group from regular schools Alternative schools often give kids responsibility over their own learning Normal school teaches you that you will be told what to learn That’s not how adults learn things that work at all In real life you have to take initiative to find out how to do things better instead of waiting for the answer Well you don’t have to but you also don’t have to wash your hands after using the toilet But don’t be gross do it ew It’s kinda like that quote We ask 18 year olds to make huge decisions about their career and financial future, When a month ago they had to ask to go to the bathroom And some of them don’t even wash their hands ew -Adam Kotsko So now the conversation might go Daddy, why do I have to go to school? So you can learn things But Adam Kotsko said- Kotsko? Sounds like a bloody Russian to me, don’t listen to him Daddy are you a wacist? Yes. Why, aren’t you? No Ah I should’ve expected as much from a bloody Welsh half-breed God I hate your mother Well back to the point, why do I- School teaches you to be an upstanding citizen, boy Learn to be a decent member of society (Dave) This is another really important one Learning stuff like democracy, laws and how to take informed and responsible action to improve society Well as I said quite emphatically before I was never taught was laws there are, I was never taught what laws there- Alright, calm down emo A lot of people are not being taught these things And for those lucky few who are, it’s being taught to them in a conventional classroom With no practical application Though to be fair how could you teach the justice system in a practical way Set up a judicial system run by children Yes. Our judicial system is run by students The head of the judicial system is a student and it’s a position that I held for a while And we do have fights, we do have bullying And the consequence will totally depend on how the students come to the JC And how they handle the aftermath of the fights That’s incredible, but what about when things get serious? We do have suspensions and expulsions And the way that works At the schools that I have seen and attended That goes to school meeting and everyone in the school has a chance to go yay or nay To suspend or expel the student Hang on, the kids decide who’s expelled? So expulsions are not all that common But we had a student who was continuously coming to school on drugs He was breaking rules, well he was on drugs I mean all the expulsion meetings are gut wrenching And long and I mean these are people that we care a lot about You know he was a nice guy he was friendly he had friends at the school After about a 4-5 hour long meeting In which you had students ages 8 or 9 through 18 who sat there for that entire time At the end of that meeting we did vote to expel him And everyone was crying You know, teachers, students Crying? I can remember when a kid got expelled from my school and were just like ”Lol one less idiot druggie chav” Can you be more respectful mate? We’re in difficult economic circumstances It couldn’t be more different in the Sudbury school This kid had the whole school caring about him and it hurt them to have to make the choice they did Who’s going to be more prepared to take part in society? The kid who’s felt firsthand how their vote contributes to the future of other people, Or the kid who can recite 4 keywords that will pass in the exam he’ll forget about the answers to in a month’s time So at this point we’re at Daddy, why do I have to- Yes okay I get it, well it teaches you social skills, what person ever became successful without Knowing to be considerate of his fellow man? Uh, Hitler? Apart from the Fuehrer No one? No one Precisely Well at current, loneliness levels are rising worldwide Which might indicate social skills are not being taught very effectively But let’s think about it A current school teaches you to be afraid of people higher in the hierarchy than you They have more power than you so you can’t challenge them In a Sudbury school kids grow up equal to adults so they’re much more comfortable sharing ideas with them I found a paper where someone analyzed the Sudbury school specifically looking to see Whether it affected social intelligence and found it was noticeably higher A big part of the confidence comes from what Sudbury schools call their secret weapon Age mixing Sorry Kim it’s not a deadly secret weapon Putin, no, really, it’s not deadly it’s just a metaphor (Putin) It’s pronounced Pootin Sudbury schools believe there are huge advantages to allowing different ages to mix And the paper also mentioned that these social skills combined with the aforementioned responsibility To be part of a justice system means students are mature enough to stop bullying of their own accord Super important considering when it comes to normal schooling, bullying in more common In schools than out of schools Intentionally or not, the current school system is literally improving students’ anti-social skills And perhaps one of the most understated but important things we expect of school Is we want students to be happy So does normal school do this better than alternative school? Well aften googling ”school makes me want to” Probably not From the looks of things you’re less likely to hear a conversation like Ah, Billy, how was school today? I’m a caring father now Yeah it was great dad yay I had so much fun and I learned all kinds of useful things Well that sounds bloody marvelous Than you are to hear Ah, Billy, how was school today? I told google I want to die Compared to that, this one questionnaire of Sudbury school students blew my mind When a group of graduates were asked ”Are you glad you attended a Sudbury school Rather than a more traditional school?” 56 responded yes, very, 11 said yes, moderately 2 omitted the question and none responded ”no” So there’s a lot of reasons why the current system isn’t good for getting jobs, Being a citizen, being socially skilled or even being happy But even with that data it’s gotta be difficult for parents to make that kind of choice With so much social pressure to stick to the normal system I couldn’t help but wonder, how do those parents actually make that decision to send their kids to an alternative school? So I asked the girl from earlier and she put me in touch with her parents I wasn’t certain it was a great place to be, I wasn’t sure how it was gonna work for her We ended up, what’s it called, proctoring one of the college entrance exams And she agreed that she would take the exam every year So she took the exam when she was an 8th grader And did well enough that she could’ve gone to the local community college So for me that was part of that relaxing and knowing that it didn’t really matter After we did she’s been in circle school for a year with absolutely no formal classes She took that same test and did score three points higher (Dad) Out of like, 20 points or something So it’s a significant difference with absolutely no formal classes The other circle school staff were pretty clear with me that that was a coercive thing to be doing To my child You know that’s not trusting her to manage her own education And she didn’t take the test again until she was ready to start going to college, so What about the other parents at the school? A fairly common one is adjusting to not getting report cards So as a parent what you know about what’s happening at school is what your child shares with you And that’s pretty different It’s like what I know about my neighbour is filtered through what they tell me about themselves, you know I don’t go to their boss and say ”How’s my neighbour doing?” It’s just part of being a respectful member of society I tried to keep this video fun so it’s easier to get through But when it comes to what to do about all this, I’m just not sure. It’s incredibly difficult and frustrating There are some people who will just be stuck because they can’t afford it Or because there aren’t any alternative schools nearby and that sucks But for those other students If their parents are willing to listen and treat them with respect Even when their school does not They might be able to join a system where they’re happier and better prepared for real life It’s ridiculous that there aren’t more studies done on this It was so hard to find the little data I could for this video But my strongest feelings were explained really well by that girl’s dad Who happened to be a teacher who ended up changing jobs to work at the Sudbury school I was teaching physics so I had kids that were 17 or 18 years old But because it’s a mass produced system they had to get my written permission to go to the bathroom Where else in adult society does that happen? The only place I can think of is prison There’s a profound underlying disrespect inherent in that system And it’s not the fault of the teachers, it’s not the fault of the administrators It’s not the fault of any particular person or group in the system It’s the system itself The way the institution was set up is profoundly disrespectful to children And they don’t learn very well in that system I felt that disrespect and I saw it in my students’ behaviour At least the ones who were most awake and aware More scary was the incredibly intelligent well-adjusted students who didn’t even notice That they were being disrespected I just can’t believe how many people are forced into a system that’s possibly Damaging their employability, health and happiness Look how many people commenting on this video had no idea there were alternatives legally available So if you want to help, all I can suggest right now is to talk to people about it If school won’t teach them there are other choices, you can instead Cheers for watching and have a nice day