The traditions and practices of schooling are long overdue for change. This book examines the academic and social conditions that add to the unnecessary stress experienced by teachers, parents and students. Childhood is not a race. Children need time for unstructured play. Children and adolescents need a voice in how they spend their free moments. Young and old alike need time to pursue hobbies and to get involved in some of the incredibly fascinating activities that our society has to offer. Evenings, weekends and holidays filled with homework leave little time for individual pursuits.
We have been conditioned to accept the traditions of schooling because all of us have been there. However, the ways we educate the young must always be up for revision. The last decade has seen an exponential increase in high-stakes testing, the labeling and sorting of young children, the imposition of equal expectations on unequal capabilities, and the burdening of children with more than an eight hour work day.
Change will only happen when parents appeal to governments and educators by insisting on an end to these detrimental practices. We must cooperate to design a new model on which to assign tasks and to evaluate accountability. Childhood and adolescence can be a time for cultivating and nurturing the sense of wonder that we are all born with. Our goal must be to foster a love of learning that lasts a lifetime.