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Wiz Kids go to Jail

This information is designed to help society become aware of the negative impact the current education system has on 30% of our teenagers and how alternative education methods can rescue many. A one education system for all is not feasible, it does not meet the needs of teenagers who walk away from the system.

Wiz kids are put in jail because they refuse to conform to passive classroom learning environments. Because the education system labels them FAILURES, they turn to criminal activity to be recognized.

Every young teenager wants to learn, be recognized, be somebody and excel. If they can't do it in the classroom, they will find another outlet, usually one that leads to self-destruction.

For intellectual teenagers, the education system inspires a vision, helps them discover their natural talent, offers opportunity to develop it, and then helps them find their first job, thereby, helping them to fulfill their desire to excel. The system does NOT do the same for non intellectuals. The education system labels them failures because they cannot master academics like intellectuals. These students are told they are failures 5 times a day, 5 days a week for as long as they can remember. Through self-fulfilling prophecy the system is proven right.

Failing students are not allowed to take vocational courses, subjects many could excel at, because high schools require students to have a "C" average or above in academic subjects. In other words, students with mechanical or technical natural talents are not given opportunity to develop these skills, they are labeled FAILURES and many fight back. The following is a composite of true stories.

  1. A young teenager is a wiz on his home computer, but is not allowed to take computer courses in high school. To prove to the education system he is not a failure he hacks his way into a corporation's database, copies credit card numbers then post them on the internet. He is caught and goes to jail. The news report says "he was not very bright because of his bad grammar and failing grades in school." This begs for questions:
  2. What is intelligence? Is this something that is ONLY acquired in the classroom and ONLY during our youth?
  3. How many high school computer instructors have the skills to hack their way into to someone else's database? High schools do not teach computer hacking. If the teenager didn't learn it in school, how did he learn it?
  4. This student can learn anything he wants without instructors. Because computer technology changes by the week, self-education skill is the requirement of a good technician. With fast changing technology there is no time go to back to the classroom to updated skills, in fact, by the time instructors update themselves and offer it in the classroom the technology is obsolete. Businesses that keep up with changing technology cannot depend on classroom education; the lag time is too great. Employees must be able to educate themselves as new technology comes on the market. Businesses are seeking this type of person, but the system puts many in jail because they are in conflict with classroom environments.
  5. High school dropouts also write computer viruses. This is a form of revenge for being labeled a failure. It takes a great deal of knowledge and skill to write a program that enters someone's computer and wipes out their hard disk. Combating viruses is now big business.
  6. Society needs to recognize students' natural talents and adapt learning opportunity to it, not punish them because their unique talents and learning methods are not in harmony with the system.
  7. Another outlet for classroom labeled failures is to join street gangs. These teens are highly intelligent, ambitious and motivated, but they reject classroom learning environments. In street gangs, they have opportunity to develop positive self-esteem and be somebody among their peers. This leads to self-destruction, but the image is highly appealing compared to the failure labeled placed on them in the classroom. My web page goes into detail.
  8. Every 13 year old has a desire to excel. When they are repeatedly told they are a failure, this conflict builds stress that has to be dealt with. A way to kill stress is to turn to drugs. By accepting the failure label and proving it with self-destructive actions, they remove the stress/conflict in their young life. Self-fulfilling prophecy takes over.
  9. When I was a teenager, I wanted to learn all there was about the maritime world. My parents keep telling me to get those stupid ideas out of my head. My adventurous lifestyle became a lifelong conflict with them. They had their own ideas of the interest I should have. Many teenagers in this situation just lose interest in everything, their ambitions killed by their parents. Their new goal is to be a super FAILURE.
  10. Then there are high school dropouts who, on their own, discover their natural talent, develop it, and live successful, productive lifestyles. If the education system analyzed the success secrets of these people and offered compatible training such as, "How to Succeed Without High School," many more high school dropouts could live productive lives. Many have done it, so why not teach how they did it before they leave the system. This is achieved with self-education concepts and projects.

The point is, our society can no longer afford to have a "one education system for all." With academic base education, there will always be a 30% high school drop out rate no matter how much money is spent, because not everyone can learn in passive classroom environments. This is a fact of life. Project based education, with academics as a byproduct, can lead many of the 30% into productive skills and lifestyles.

Every 13-year old wants to learn, be recognized, be somebody, and excel. To keep these desires headed in the right direction, the education system must adapt to the teens needs, not create laws that pressure them to adapt to the system. It is a known fact that 30% will not or cannot adapt and will walk away form from the system. There needs to be alternatives!!!

About the Author

My resource on street gangs is based on a seminar I attended titled "Understanding The Gang Mentality" by Deputy Richardson, Richland County, SC, Sheriff's Department Gang Task Force. It was held in Columbia, South Carolina, USA, December 7, 2001. At the end of the lecture I was so shaken I had to sit in my car and calm my emotions down before I could drive home. No lecture has ever had an impact on me like this did. I think what got to me was, these same gang members could be living successful productive lives if they had learning opportunity in non classroom environments such as teams. Street gangs are team learning environments that engage in crime. A team is an education powerhouse, what they learn depends on the goal of the team. If the system offered alternative goals, then the system could inspire the direction of many teenagers.

Society must become aware of the need for alternative education. Political powers will only take action to implement alternatives when society demands it. Email is a powerful promotional tool that can spread awareness and inspire action. Feel free to forward this outline to interested persons and organizations. I have sent it to editors of newspapers and youth advocates, you may do the same.

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