Saturday, December 15, 2007

Petty bureaucrat centrally plans recess.

One local school principle has basically abolished recess for students. He is endowed with all sorts of theories about how to socially engineer young people and mould them into the shape he wants and recess is something he doesn’t particularly care for -- at least not the traditional recess.

He has banned students from playing tag, kickball, soccer and the like. Why? He doesn’t think students should be allowed to play anything where there are scores. It might hurt someone’s feelings. And he doesn’t like the idea that play was unstructured, that it didn’t have a central planner telling the children what to do and when to do it.

This loon is Mark Johnson of Oakdale School in Montville, Connecticut. Parents inundated him with complaints after he started his social engineering experiment with their children so he relented a bit. He will now allow kickball provided that the children do not keep score.

Johnson sounds like some chic, lame brained, trendy Lefty. He tells people that he doesn’t like games that encourage competition because competititon is conflict. The children should learn to cooperate. Of course in real life the competitve market is one of cooperation all the time. What irks the central planners is that the cooperation is done without them.

Kids play games and they play games with each other. That requires them to cooperate. A baseball game with two teams requires numerous children to cooperate. Without that cooperation they can’t form teams and play the game. What is irking this bureaucrat is not that there is no cooperation but that it is uncontrolled. He is upset because he is not directing it. This is the mindset of the bureaucrat/politicians -- the belief that others absolutely “need” them. In reality we’d be better off with them 99% of the time.

He says that when kids play on their own, without his control, “kids are made to feel badly.” His solution is to make all of them equally miserable by forbidding them from playing games they like. This man is Nanny run amok. He told the New York Times that kids can still move about -- how nice of him! For instance they “are free to walk the grounds with the school nurse” -- god forbid they walk the grounds without a nurse in tow! They can “sing in the chorus” or “pick up liter”. Pick up liter!!! His childish version of the Gulag includes having the kids labor.

Johson, with all of five years experience as a petty bureaucrat, wants to undo a tradition of hundreds of years. During their free time children play. And they play quite spontaneously. They don’t need the moronic class of petty officials to structure their play for them. If it is structured it isn’t play. Johnson just drones about how: “We’re really responsible for what kinds of people these kids will be...”

What kind? Apparently he thinks the kind of adults they should be are those who look to central authority to structure every facet of their life. His view requires people who obey and don’t think for themselves. His view pushes the idea that people are incompetent and inherently bad. They need an expert to order them about and keep them under supervision.