Great column on the education system by David Brooks today.  Although he doesn’t identify it as such, he’s critiquing modern & postmodern education, and especially its bad effects on boys:

The education system has become culturally cohesive, rewarding and encouraging a certain sort of person: one who is nurturing, collaborative, disciplined, neat, studious, industrious and ambitious. People who don’t fit this cultural ideal respond by disengaging and rebelling.

Note that the educational values he identifies are exemplary, the best of modernism and postmodernism.  But they are developmental. They can not be instilled too soon.  First children must develop healthy tribal capacities (deep contact with nature and community), warrior capacities (physicality, assertion) and traditional capacities (obedience, virtue).  Only then are they ready for ambition and collaboration as they are taught today (and some may never be ready).  Too many schools — and parents — rush the process.

Schools have to engage people as they are. That requires leaders who insist on more cultural diversity in school: not just teachers who celebrate cooperation, but other teachers who celebrate competition; not just teachers who honor environmental virtues, but teachers who honor military virtues; not just curriculums that teach how to share, but curriculums that teach how to win and how to lose; not just programs that work like friendship circles, but programs that work like boot camp. The basic problem is that schools praise diversity but have become culturally homogeneous. The education world has become a distinct subculture, with a distinct ethos and attracting a distinct sort of employee. Students who don’t fit the ethos get left out.