(03e) The Three Power system in society - Schools

In a previous post, I explained how the Three Power system should work in politics, while there is always a Fourth Power to control the other powers i.e. the voters. However, this system is not limited to politics and politicians but can also be used in many other parts of society, e.g. companies, hospitals, schools, ... . Here I will explain how it can work at the level of schools.

I have a reason why I discuss this. Less than one year ago, I was a science teacher for more then one year. Often, it was a very hard time at, what people might call, a failing school. Many children didn't show any respect for the teachers, the bad behaviour of the children often encouraged by their parents as many parents disagreed with teachers. As a result, teachers came and left or became ill. Some children had the impression they could do whatever they wanted because there were no consequences (although a number of children where removed from the school). An additional problem for me was that children knew I was gay and as "good" religious persons they had to disobey me, otherwise they would be punished in the afterlife for obeying a gay person (although it was a states school, quite a number a children were religious whenever it suited them). But other teachers also suffered. And other children suffer: some were afraid to do their best because otherwise children would call them weak. Of course, there were still quite a number of children who were well behaved.

First of all, children should be encouraged to speak in the class and discuss the subject they are learning. However, this should be in a orderly way so the teacher can allow all children to say something. In a disorganised class, only those who speak loudest will be heard and the teacher can't hear the shyer children. Thus, the teacher should listen and discuss the lesson with the children. But, the teacher should also be able to stop the discussion when he/she thinks it is enough (e.g. when children try to slowdown the lesson or when they become too excited about a subject).

In cases of major disagreements between (a) child(ren) and the teacher, the child(ren) should be able to go to higher authorities to discuss the conflict they have with a teacher. This authority (the Head or his/her deputy) should listen to the arguments of the child(ren) and the teacher and the authority should make a decision so the dispute can be settled and everyone should respect the decision by the higher authority. In some cases, external help can be asked (e.g. the inspection). So, the authority chooses one or the other side (so two against one) or might find a compromise. In case the child or teacher continues to disagree, that person has the freedom to find another school that suites his/her needs.

Parents should demand good education for their children at school. They should be able to voice their concerns or ideas and discuss them with the school. But they should also agree with decisions made by the school when these decisions are in agreement with the rules of the school. Otherwise, they will undermine the authority of the school and thus the teaching will go downhill. If they do not agree with the school's decisions and can't find a majority to change the school rules then they can take their child to another school they think is fairer for their child.

Thus, Head of School (First Power with its board), teachers (Second Power) and parents/children (Third Power) should work together to improve the school and this with respect for each other. When a child is rude and tells a teacher to shut up or continuously interrupts the class then that child should be punished and when he/she doesn't change its behaviour, he/she should be sent out of school to prevent the other children starting to behave badly. Indeed, the others will notice when a misbehaving child is not punished. However, removing a child from school should be the last resort and only when all other ways do not work. May be some children should be educated in special schools on an individual basis. And also, we should upgrade professional courses as now many children study for a degree they have not the talents for but they study it for the eyes of society while these children might benefit from professional classes and as a result earn much more in future (e.g. they might like hairdressing and why not because this also involves economy).

As in politics, each Power is equal to the other Powers but individual powers are different. Indeed, the individual power of the teacher is greater that the individual power of the children and their parents because otherwise how can the teacher control a class (one against how many?)? And the individual power of the Head is bigger than that of the teacher. Of course, even when the individual power of children is smaller than the teacher's individual power, children's power should be great enough to be able to complain about a teacher and their complain should be investigated:
     * Do the children complain because the teacher demands children work in the class and do their best? Then the school should support the teacher and tell the children that the school knows best what is good for the children, even when the children don't see the benefits yet (an example from my experience: children in the economical classes wondered why they needed sciences. But when they sell things they need to understand their product, e.g. they might sell gas and then they should know why they should sell propane and not butane in winter).
    * Do the children complain because the teacher is bad and they complain they don't learn anything? Then the school should be able to replace the teacher with another teacher. This should not be done easily as it can destroy someones career (and may be the children dislike the teacher because he/she wants to teach them and not entertain them, see above). The school might ask an external Fourth Power (inspection) to investigate whether the teacher is indeed bad.

The school should allow the children to make decisions based upon majorities (and this will prepare the children for the future). E.g. the teacher wants to organise a school trip and the teacher allows the children to choose between three possibilities. The children can discuss why they want this and not that trip. But they can't choose something else as they might suggest something that has no relation with the lessons or it might be too expensive or too dangerous. However, when the children suggest something else that is useful and that is supported by the school and the parents, another (more expensive) trip might be accepted as long as the parents agree to pay for the extra costs. On the other hand, when the parents support their children to go somewhere else but the teacher does not agree as he/she finds it too dangerous then the Head of School can make a decision and when the trip is considered too dangerous, it can be refused. So, one person can stop a plan by choosing one or the other side (thus, the Head has the greatest powers as a person). When the Head decides the children can go on the more dangerous trip, and the teacher disagrees, than the Head and parents should take the responsibility for whatever happens during the trip. In case the teacher doesn't want to go because the teacher does not only fear for the children's safety but also for his/hers own (e.g. climbing mountains) then the school should find a compromise (e.g. an extra teacher). Or the other teachers or an external adviser (e.g. insurance company) might be heard, but the decision will be within the school.

Thus, three is the magic number because with an even number can cause a standstill when no majority can be reached. This sounds logical but my experience is that schools sometimes fear loosing children (and thus subsidies) or fear the fury of parents when they punish children and as a result sometimes the school turns a blind eye to children behaving badly. And out of frustration they might punish children who are normally nice and use them as an example for others what might have when they behave badly.

Don't misunderstand me, my experience is that when a class is under control because the children want to learn then it is a wonderful experience. But whenever a teacher arrives in a class with problems, only a hard hand can work, including, when necessary, the removal of the worst behaving pupils. Only when the children behave and the teacher can teach in a relaxed way, then the lessons are fun for everyone.

In conclusion
The Three-Power system can be very useful in society and very democratic as long as everyone accepts the majority and the differences between the individual powers. Everyone can make their voices be heard and whenever a majority can be found for an idea, changes are possible. But always, there will be a leader because a society needs someone who implement to decision of the majority and this to prevent chaos. It is also based upon the system "do what you have to do and you get what you deserve, otherwise you will be punished". Do you best at school and you will get a degree and chances in life, otherwise you might be (in the worst case) thrown out of school (of course, children should be helped in the best possible ways and one should always be able to give a person a second chance, but only when the person deserves a second chance because the child want to do his/her best). The same system can be used at work, but more about this later.

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