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Thursday, May 3, 2012

The War on Kids

Are public schools becoming more and more like prisons?

That’s what the documentary “The War on Kids” says.

Based on interviews with educators, medical professionals, students and sociologists, the documentary, which received a limited film festival run in 2009 and is being released this week on the Documentary Channel, paints the picture of an increasingly authoritarian and paranoid school system that is failing its students, stripping them of their civil liberties and constitutional rights.

“Kids have no voice. Everyone pretends to care, but it is never true, and it’s the children who are being blamed for all the failings in the education system,” filmmaker Cevin Soling told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “People do not learn when they are in such an autocratic environment.”
The story moves on to examine the impact of "zero tolerance" policies and efforts to over-medicate kids. The naysayers raise two arguments: (i) the documentary is based on anecdotal evidence; and (2) it offers no solution other than getting rid of the public school system.

Based on my experience with the public school system, not only does the filmmaker's thesis ring true, but schools are particularly harmful to boys. From the low numbers of male teachers, to the insistence that students sit quietly for hours--through the use of drugs, if necessary--and using teaching styles that favor girls, it is not only a war on kids, but a war on boys.

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