When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for young people to dissolve their bonds with an education system, seeking the dignity and opportunity entitled to them as humans, a decent respect to the parents, educators, administrators, politicians, policy makers, philanthropists, and other sundry adults who develop, implement, and enforce this system requires that they should attempt to explain this phenomenon.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all young people are created equally diverse, that they are endowed by the Universe with a unique genius and the unalienable right to Learn, Socialize, and Pursue that Genius. That young people rely on adults to secure these rights who derive their power over young people without their consent. That whenever an education system becomes destructive of these ends, young people withdraw their consent in multitudinous forms to signal it must be altered or abolished, and a new system established, founded on principles and organized in a way that is most likely to ensure their Safety and Happiness.
Education systems should not be changed for minor or passing reasons. And young people have no choice but to suffer in loco parentis rather than rise up against decisions made for them. But when a long train of policies pursuing the same objective develop an intolerable education system, young people, deprived of the right to throw off such system, respond in ways that harm themselves and destabilize the system as well as the future of society. Such has been the patient suffering of young people. The history of our education system is a history of repeated indignities and usurpations, all pointing towards the establishment of an absolutely standardized process. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world:
- It limits play, a most wholesome and necessary element of human development
- It segregates young people by age depriving them of the opportunity to learn from and teach each other
- It imposes a standardized curriculum on equally diverse people
- It uses applied behavioral science to alter behavior
- It measures achievement with a harmfully narrow ruler
- It deploys untested teaching methods on developing minds
- It invades privacy with increasingly sophisticated technology
- It deprives young people of an equal voice in their own education
- It makes funding dependent on the adoption of homoginizing standards
- It restricts unfettered socialization, the most natural of human activities
- It labels young people with life-long indelible marks of achievement and behavior
- It frustrates intrinsic motivation through the use of external manipulation
- It teaches young people to value external rewards rather than an activity for its own sake
- It establishes expectations based on narrow definitions and faulty assumptions
- It obstructs the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills
- It prevents the unique genius of every young person from reaching its full potential
- It perpetuates social and economic inequality
- It pits young people against each other in a quest for the ephemeral rewards of “success”
- It abandons young people who are unable to navigate the system
- It transforms teachers into bureaucrats and disciplinarians
- It hinders development of the very skills education should foster
- It creates “failures” through testing which breeds shame, resentment, depression, and anger
- It treats young people as defective and unfinished humans until they finish school
- It inculcates anxiety through relentless examination
- It instills fear through the unbalanced weight of authority
- It is indifferent to the individual hopes, dreams, and passions of each young person
- It rewards those who excel at testing with illusive promises
- It sows confusion with shifting standards, expectations, and pedagogical methods
- It denies young people the dignity of having a say in their own lives
Young people have petitioned for change in ways only those without a voice are capable: But their repeated petitions have been answered only with repeated injury. Adults whose character is thus marked by ignoring such pleas by the innocent are unfit to develop, implement, and enforce an education system.
Young people have not failed to warn those in charge: They have warned them, in their ways, of attempts to extend unjustified and unnatural control over their bodies and minds. They have reminded them of the circumstances of their miraculous birth and early development when they learned to walk and talk without intervention. They have appealed to their parental instincts and unconditional love, and have reminded them of their own childhood in an effort to disavow these usurpations which inevitably sever the bonds between generations. But the adults have been most unconscious to the voice of justice and of the ties that bind. Young people must, therefore, surrender to what is without abandoning hope.
We, therefore, the young people, appealing to the unknown laws of the Universe, do solemnly publish and declare that we are free individuals bestowed with a unique genius destined to develop and unfold in ways nobody understands or can predict; that we will always eventually dissolve our bonds with education systems that frustrate our free natures; and that, as natural learners, have the right and ability to pursue our own interests in our own way without unnatural or unnecessary interference. And for support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of Universal truth, we mutually pledge to each other our commitment to a new birth of freedom in education that unlocks the potential of our being, and that an education system of the young, by the young, and for the young, shall one day live across the earth.