13 June 2011

FORTEENTH

A.  An argument:
Fury said to a mouse
That he met in a house
'Let us both go to Law
I will prosecute you.'
Said the mouse to the cur:
'Such a trial, dear sir,
With no jury or judge
Would be wasting our breath.'
'I'll be judge, I'll be jury,'
Said the cunning old fury,
'I'll try the whole cause
And condemn you to death.'
B.  Imagine an elementary school in which the grumbling of the children against their teachers reaches a critical mass, and a rebellion takes place.  The students are convinced that the old teachers were ignorant and incorrect and that the student body can educate itself more effectively.  So, once the teachers have been sent packing, the students begin to "play class" in the rooms.  Some of them elect instructors from among the tallest and smartest of their classmates, others allow each student to study as he will according to his own whims and ideas, and others descend into total chaos.  But even among the more structured classrooms, over time, the educational standards prove to be deformed.  When disputes arise, there is no way of settling them without an adult authority.  Order is maintained in a rough parody of classroom activity, in which important rules are lost, and other arbitrary customs elevated the status of law.  Reading becomes the turning of pages, teaching is making squiggles on a blackboard, etc.  Compare the products of such an education to those taught in a normal school.