Too much education in Fishtown [controversial sociologist Charles Murray’s iconic working class town] consists of school authorities trying to make students do things—for their own good—that students don’t recognize as good. In that case, it isn’t really good. It has no staying power, it doesn’t shape lives. It’s just a conflict in which the authorities win for now because they have more power. But once the students are out of school, they are free to ignore the rules, for good or ill.
Where to turn? How about traditional philosophy? What have the classical philosophers always said about teachers?:
First, teachers can make clear that they do not personally wish to control students. A school is not a farm or a prison. On the contrary, teachers advise and direct students toward self-control because the freedom to lead the good life requires self-control.