We are again joined by Erika Davis-Pitre, one of our favorite people when it comes to unschooling. In our talk, we confront the pressing issues of ageism and racial disparities in education, focusing on the empowerment of students from diverse backgrounds through homeschooling and unschooling. Our journey begins with a personal anecdote—a poignant encounter with ageism involving a seven-year-old student and the reflection it prompted on systemic flaws in education.
We delve into the reasons why homeschooling and unschooling have become appealing options for many families with diverse backgrounds. Together, we uncover the impact of a curriculum primarily designed from one perspective and the stark disparities in expectations faced by students from diverse backgrounds compared to their peers.
Our conversation transcends the boundaries of the education system, venturing into the broader realm of discrimination and oppression faced by diverse communities in various countries. Erika shares powerful stories of unjust treatment encountered while homeschooling and traveling.
We also explore the insidious influence of ageism on students from diverse backgrounds, illustrating how it leads to dehumanization in everyday situations. Our episode underlines the significance of privilege not as a divisive force but as a tool for uplifting students who face injustice. Education and communication are emphasized as key tools in ensuring that our actions are not taken for granted.
In a historical context, we scrutinize the role of economic systems, specifically the consequences of industrialization and monetization on education. We contemplate how these structures have perpetuated structural inequalities and consider how homeschooling and unschooling can provide a solution.
🗓️ Recorded September 1st, 2023. 📍Romagny-Fontenay, France
▬ EPISODE LINKS ▬
Erikas Homeschool Gaming Convention: https://www.gameschoolcon.com/
Podcast website: http://theconrad.family/podcast
YouTube Full Episodes: https://www.youtube.com/theconradfamily365
Apple Podcasts: https://www.theconrad.family/apple
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0:00:00 - Jesper Conrad
Welcome to Self-Directed. We are your hosts, cecilia and Jesper Conrad, and now it's time to welcome this week's guest.
0:00:10 - Cecilie Conrad
Today we talk to Erika again for the second time I hope the second of many, because Erika is I'm her disciple. I just decided. I really feel Erika is just such a superstar within the unschooling and homeschooling community because you say things in such a sharp way, sharp and respectful. Never have I heard you ever be disrespectful or you can criticize things or people or systems without being hurtful, and that is a gift and you could cut whatever sentence and it's just shining. I like it, I love it.
0:00:53 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Oh, thank you, I'm looking forward.
0:00:55 - Cecilie Conrad
It really is true.
0:00:56 - Jesper Conrad
We need to talk every week.
0:01:00 - Cecilie Conrad
We should Totally, yeah. Okay, I'll send you an email about that. First I have to walk the Camino, but then we're coming to Mexico. We will be in the same time zone, which will help a lot, okay.
0:01:14 - Erika Davis-Pitre
You have to let me know when you're in Mexico.
0:01:18 - Cecilie Conrad
We're flying December 19th.
0:01:20 - Jesper Conrad
0:01:21 - Cecilie Conrad
Oh, october, I'm tired. The time zone thing again October 19th. We're flying, but we are coming up to LA because maybe we should just start there. Should we start there? You're doing the game conference, aren't you? In February? Yeah, yeah, we're coming up for that.
0:01:38 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Yeah, you should come. Yeah, we are Show your support.
0:01:43 - Jesper Conrad
It is our plan.
0:01:46 - Cecilie Conrad
So, with all the personal things said, we are going to do what we always do Just talk, and if you'll be so easy, we say one word and you talk for an hour and maybe say goodbye.
0:01:58 - Jesper Conrad
Yeah and sorry. I've been pondering about a subject and I asked you if we could talk about it and you said you can talk about anything. So the subject was that. Well, I'm from Denmark, I am pretty, pretty white and you have absolutely a darker skin color than I. So I wanted to ask about on schooling and homeschooling in America as a black person, because what I have been pondering on is, if you send your kid to a school, even a black school, if that's what you prefer for your children, then the curriculum is made by white, and is that? Do you think that affects the black communities choose of homeschooling?
0:02:50 - Erika Davis-Pitre
For some, yes, for others, it's a matter of being seen as a child first, and then black second People are always looking for. The black community is so varied and so diverse in experience in all kinds of things. What, what black, what a black family is looking for can't be quantified under one umbrella. There's so many different. Many, many black homeschoolers that I know, and black unschoolers that I know, are doing it because they want to provide a consistent, respectful educational experience for their kids and they don't want to have to have to break things down in order to build it back up, so they don't want to waste the time correcting. So many, many black homeschoolers are homeschooling because they don't want to have to redo or build up their kids after a negative experience.
I know for our family it was. It was just easier. I didn't have to cut through all the of the tape. There were talks that I didn't have to have. There were talks that I could have and it not be it not affect grades or their position in in schooling.
So my older two always went to school. They went to pretty elite schools. They did reasonably well. But as the years went on it became harder and harder to get that reasonable experience, and by reasonable I mean somewhat acceptable. There were always. There was always conflicts with subtle racism, subtle classism that we had to deal with. But in the beginning it was just something that you dealt with. And as my children aged, especially the older three, I begin to realize that so much of their educational experience in school was compromised that I wanted to figure out what education would look like without the compromise.
And so my younger two got to experience a whole different educational experience, especially the third child.
The third child is who I call my by school or because he went to traditional school.
Then he was homeschooled, unschooled, and then he chose to go to traditional high school and college, and then the youngest one was unschooled the whole time, except second grade, which is, in my opinion. And if your child wants to try school, that's kind of the best, that's the sweet spot, because they're, they'll get an academic experience and it they're still seen as children rather than as subjects and academic successes, except for when you're a black boy, because you, you, you become a man right around eight or nine. Which is another reason why homeschooling works for a lot of families is that that adulting, that aging up of particularly black boys, but black girls are experiencing it at a rapid rate as well. So there's there's all kinds of reasons why, for our family, homeschooling works, and for a lot of black, brown families it works because, like I said you, you can spend your time having a great educational experience and you don't have to qualify it by the negatives of a bad educational experience. So that's the way it works for me.
0:06:58 - Cecilie Conrad
Explain to me, just because you know, I'm from this little fairy tale country, very different from yours, yes, and I'm white and I have all the privileges in the world. What's going on for the black boys? Can I say so, so, everything even worse.
0:07:32 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Would you explain that to me, because so so so for a white boy, there's the expectation that their boys and that they'll make mistakes and they'll do foolish things, based on immaturity and a lack of knowledge and a lack of, you know, a lack of maturity.
0:07:55 - Cecilie Conrad
We're talking about something like an 11 year old. Now we're a 10 year old, just a boy.
0:08:00 - Erika Davis-Pitre
We're talking about eight year old? We're not. I'm not talking 10 or 11. I'm talking eight. Okay, like a really little boy.
Okay, yeah, that's the classic age when it's it's separated out and, from what I've heard of school districts, it's getting younger and younger it's it's a young as five and six. So a five and six year old, a perfect example. You take the drinking fountain and you decide that you're going to squirt water on people who come by. You're six or seven. You decide it's the funniest thing in the world. You're going to squirt water on your classmates for four, for a, for a white, six or seven year old. They would be.
They would be told that's not the thing to do. You shouldn't do that. They might be reprimanded, they may be said you're going to have to sit out, recess or whatever. A black boy does the same thing and it's criminalized. They're punished. Oh yeah, they're criminalized. It's like how could you do that? You should have known better nine times out of 10. They'll be written up. It's. It's a whole big process because they should have known better. Same kids, same age, even in the same class behavior, same teacher, they're dealt with vastly differently and so you're always the skin color of that teacher.
0:09:33 - Cecilie Conrad
It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.
0:09:38 - Erika Davis-Pitre
It doesn't matter because the socialization of the, the decriminalization of black boys, is universal. It's not. It's not. Oh, occasionally you'll have a black teacher that will see a black boy and recognize that it's just a boy being a boy. Occasionally you will see that, but it's very rare, because the system is set up to criminalize behavior From the start. I mean you can go online and look up YouTube videos of five year olds being arrested or five year olds being Um be having the police called on them. Um perfect example of a young girl was selling lemonade. Just, you know, on the corner, on the corner, and the neighbor called the police, saying you know, that shouldn't be permitted, and the police actually came out Instead of that neighbor being told no, a child selling lemonade is not, not criminal. They don't need a a.
0:10:46 - Jesper Conrad
He's inspired by the movies you have seen where it's done and the cartoons where it's done and it's, it's like it's okay, I feel privileged before.
0:10:57 - Cecilie Conrad
but but now this is just so bad it is. Yeah, it's hard to believe. I know that we have a community of Muslims in our country who experience somewhat the same. No matter what you do, you're brown and you wear head stuff and then therefore, you're out and many, many and many, many East Indians in your country, particularly in the big cities, experience childhood criminalization.
0:11:29 - Erika Davis-Pitre
So something that would be seen as normal behavior, even teenage behavior normal behavior for, for a white student, for a white kid is seen as the, the, the gateway to criminality In a, in a child of color. So it's it's kind of universal. The less people you have that experience it because of population shifts, the less likely a white parent or citizen or person will see that activity. The more the numbers go up, the more things are made. People are made aware because you can't avoid seeing it. So in very in most places in the world I'm not even saying the US in most places in the world, black and brown children are criminalized at a very early age. The boys will be boys sentiment, you know, girls are are given grace.
That sentiment is is not the same for white kids versus kids of color. It just isn't and it's it's in every country in every situation. It's just really, really sad and a tough nut to crack, even in the world school community. When you're traveling with children, you have to be careful how they're seen. You have to read the, read the room, so to speak, and make sure that your, your child, is not going to be penalized for the color of their skin, and it's not just in the United States. We've had many, many conversations at world schooling summits about how different children are treated differently in different countries. So it's it's, it's kind of you know, it's it's less than at home and I think a lot of the less is your you're not paying attention as much because you're having all these new experiences, but when you're, when you're settled and calm, you can see the differences. So it's yeah.
0:13:48 - Jesper Conrad
And it's unfortunate. Yeah, no, no, no, no, but it would, then it's a, I mean, it's a really helpful thing to then, as you say, if you homeschool your kids so they don't have those experiences, so then be allowed to just grow up as humans and and and be a family.
0:14:13 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Well, they don't. They don't have, they don't have as much of those experiences and you're alongside them when they're having them. But even as homeschoolers, we have those experiences A good. A good example of it is there was a conference that we were at. Oh gosh, it's been. It's been many, many years like maybe, goodness gracious, he's old.
0:14:41 - Erika Davis-Pitre
There was a conference, yeah, Hi, sorry to interrupt the podcast. My name's Martin Cook and together with Jasper Conrad, I've created the Better Dad Institute. We're proud to invite you to our first workshop in October. Please visit BetterDadInstitutecom forward slash workshop to learn more. And now back to the podcast.
0:15:14 - Erika Davis-Pitre
There was a conference oh gosh, it's almost, it's almost 20 years ago where we arrived at the hotel after many, many people had checked in and were settled. We, we arrived at the hotel, we literally parked the car and my son jumped out and ran, ran ahead of us because he could see some of his friends and so I had called out to him you need to come, get your bag, kind of simple. And he goes, I'll be right back. I just want to see who's here. And he runs in and I, I get, grab a bag and and follow him, because it's what you do. He was, he was 12 or 11 or 12. And I'm, I'm, I'm walking in and he is, one security person has his arm on him and the other one is pointing at him and questioning him. And I'm like what's going on? And they turn around and they say to me you know, we've said repeatedly not to play with the elevators. And I said we just got here. How was he playing with the elevator? And they said they said no, no, he's been. And I said no, he hasn't. I can even show you the rental car receipt saying the time we left the airport he hasn't been here.
And then I started to get angry and I'm like what the hell is going on? And I got really loud because I wanted, number one, everyone around us to know what was going on and number two, I wanted him to know that I was going to be big and bold, not reasonable and calm. And I said, number one, get your hand off my son. And number two, take me to your supervisor, because this is ridiculous. Yeah, and just as we were going around the corner, more security were coming because they heard me and they said what is the problem here? And I said the problem here is one of your comrades had their hand on my son, accusing him of something that wasn't possible. And they're like what do you mean? It wasn't possible. I said we just pulled up. The elevators are deep in the hotel, they're not even near where we were.
I said it isn't possible that he was playing with the elevators and I want to know why the assumption was made that he was. And everything got quiet, because there's not a lot of black people and there are three or four families, and so everything got quiet and all of a sudden I hear these feet coming and it's the manager. And the manager knows what's up and the manager knows, by the way, I'm speaking, I'm an intelligent, resourced person. And so he comes up to me and he says is there a problem? And I said I'm sure you heard that there was Wrong answer, wrong question. And so he looks at his staff and he says what's going on? And they said we repeatedly asked him not to play on the elevators. And I said and I repeatedly told them that we just arrived, so we weren't the people playing on the elevators. And I want to know why it was assumed that he was.
And the manager looked dead at me and said I must apologize. I think an assumption was made that shouldn't have been made. I said right answer, right answer. And I expect compensation for this slight. And he says absolutely, absolutely, we will, we will take care of this. And I said oh no, you're going to take care of it now, not will now. You're going to take care of it now because my son experiences now. He's not experiencing 20 minutes from now, and he didn't experience it yesterday, he experienced it now. And I want the solution to be now, because I want him to learn to stand up for himself and to not be afraid to speak to inappropriate transactional experiences. Do you understand what I'm saying? Yes, I understand perfectly what you're saying.
And so he was apologized to, given a certificate so they could buy something at the gift shop, and they gave us a night free of lodging in compensation for the flight. And I wrote a letter to corporate and got another apology, got another coupon for whatever. And I said, more than anything, I want your staff to be trained not to see race as their indicator of criminal activity, especially when it's a 12 year old boy who looked more like an eight year old, because my children are kind of small. I have a big personality and I'm a big person, but my children are not. My sons have always been slight and small for their age, so it really looked ridiculous. I mean, it really looked ridiculous. But and I have to preface this by saying my son is more Jesper's complexion blue eyes, black, blackish hair, so it wasn't even a brown.
They really had to reach for it because he's he's quite fair and white and blue eyed and it doesn't escape this. The criminality, this assumption may that, no matter who you are or what situation is, the first thought inkling, especially for security and people in power, is criminality. You're, you're, you're setting yourself up, and so it's, it's, it's. It happens in all instances and all communities and all settings. It's not just school, although school has a unique way of reinforcing negative stereotypes and taken as normal. So a lot of, a lot of black home schoolers and unschoolers. The first layer of that assumption is removed because you're around caring people, but you still see it in good people and our friends. We've we've had uncomfortable conversations with many of our friends because they make assumptions that were the good ones, and that doesn't help either.
That you set us aside because you know us versus really breaking down local structures of assumption that are so. Hi, it's me Martin.
0:22:21 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Cook again. Our goal with the Better Dad Institute is to wake the world. A better place, One dad at a time. So come join us in October. See the dates at betterdadinstitutecom. Forward slash workshop. If you use the code self directed then you'll get 10% off the price. Hope to see you there.
0:22:48 - Jesper Conrad
I was thinking about the curriculum as well In schools. I think that might also be slightly turned.
0:23:00 - Cecilie Conrad
Probably, not slightly.
0:23:01 - Jesper Conrad
0:23:04 - Erika Davis-Pitre
No, not slightly, it's pretty.
0:23:09 - Cecilie Conrad
That's what it is. And then we're trying to some some. Some forces are trying to change that, but maybe we should just break it down to zero and start over and like people make their own curriculum and see what makes sense for them to learn.
I think of course we can't relate, really being from a white country, fairytale Denmark but in a way there are similarities to the ageism problem that I find my children find very offensive, and it's it's nothing compared to. You know, I know Right, but it is something that has some similarities to when, just because you're 11 years old, you can't be trusted to understand what's going on. And just because you're a child, it's so clear. When we walk into, let's say, museums, we're just at the Tate Gallery to see William Turner paintings and you have these custodians in the corner. And when I approach a painting and look closely because I want to see how the brushwork is Sure, sure, sure, like this it's like a few centimeters from no problem. If my kids do the same, they're like almost running over, grabbing them because they don't trust children to be able to paint Correct. It's not the same, but it's similar and I know how much that pisses off our children when they are being treated differently just because they're shorter or younger.
0:24:43 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Yeah To not imagine, imagine if you have, imagine if you have that. So the assumption that you don't know anything. And the same child. The assumption is you're older, you should know better, so you're, you're classified a child On top of each other.
Yes, so there's, there's a lot of oppression, is known by everyone. Everyone has a piece, something that is is othered. Everyone has it, even the richest person oh they're, they're not as well educated. They have a lot of money but they're not as well educated. So we're going to talk down to them. Or a child where you're young and or you're old, you're they. There's age discrimination. You, you won't understand that. You're old, I'm. I'm experiencing that, the invisibility of being older. And then the immediate I'm seen, for my skin color, as a criminal. So I'm following in the store but I've never helped because I'm old. So it's like, and I won't get a good sale out of her, so it's like I want the person who follows me around to help me to actually to actually put me first in the line to get me out of the store.
I mean, I want the convenience of having a person following me around for help. So I almost want to go up to security and say, will you hold these bags? Because if you're going to follow me around the store you might as well be useful. You know those those kinds of things. It's, it's, it's incredible. I'll go up to a counter with all of my packages, wait in line, and then the person behind the counter will point to the person three people behind me and say, can I help you? And I say damn. In those instances I always say damn, damn.
I wish I was at the bank. That's where I want to be invisible so I can walk into the vault, get the cash and leave. I don't want to be invisible at the cheese mongers. I don't want to be invisible at the department store. I want to be invisible at the bank, so it can work. You know it's, it's, it's a.
It's an interesting dichotomy, but you're right. Any kind of slight oppression based on someone's ideal of you versus you, the actual person, any dehumanization is, is felt In such a particular way and it can either make you very sensitive to oppressing others or it can make you de sensitive to oppressing others and it make you angry. And the next time when I'm at that age, I'm going to be the one that stops the child from getting close to the page because it was done to me, or I'm going to make sure I don't do that because it was done to me. It's it's, it's the level of empathy and education and communication that makes it so that that stops. Like I've been told very often, if I'm in a place and there are, there are children present I almost become childlike. I, I, I get to their level and find out how I can use my height, age and experience to elevate their experience and I show them the way. So and I and I talk about it, I don't just do it and and they're the benefit I let them know I don't have to do this, but I choose to do it because I want you to have an elevated experience like I'm going to have. So letting the younger generation know how you can use your privilege to help others is just as important as using your privilege to help others. If they don't know what you're doing, it's for naught. So I always try to point out to two to two young people that I'm helping to old people, that I'm helping to anyone that I'm using my particular privilege and who knows what it is because it changes. I let them know. This is how it's done, this is how we community build. I think there's a lack of communication by good people. I think good people just do the work and they don't explain what they're doing and so therefore it's taken for advantage and for granted versus it's it's enveloped by our community.
Like I've been to Denmark several, several times, I love the country. It reminds me so much of where I grew up that in Stockholm you can Seattle's planet kind of like Stockholm there, very much straight lines, you know where you're going. The second you get somewhere, you almost guide it by GPS to go to the right way, whereas in Denmark you meander a bit but it's still a very cohesive meandering. There's purposeful, very few dead ends. There are very few ways you can go wrong in the major cities. I don't know about the small towns, but in the major cities there's no, there's very little oh gee, where am I? You basically can find your way around Seattle's a lot like that because of the hills and everything you really try to avoid. You really try to avoid the grid that takes you up hills and all this stuff. I'm talking as an older person, but when I'm in country, when I'm in Scandinavia, we don't have hills in our country.
Yeah, exactly, it's a Seattle dream.
0:30:35 - Cecilie Conrad
It's a dream when you're a little bit older than me, you know it's no hills, it's all flat, it's everywhere.
0:30:44 - Erika Davis-Pitre
It's like. It's like I moved from Seattle to Connecticut, which is very flat, very, what they call mountains, we don't even call hills and then I moved to San Francisco, which is, you know, the hill capital of the world. I mean, I feel like I should be yodeling every time I leave my house. The hills are so high. But what I've noticed about the Scandinavian countries is there's a lot of assumptions made of empathy and kindness. There's a lot of assumptions made by by gains and by Swedes, that it's kindness first, is empathy first, it's community first. And that can be a good thing and it also can be a curse, because the assumption that you're going to conform is very strong and powerful. So along with the empathy and the more humane comes the assumption you're going to do it the way it's always been done. And if you want to change things up because everything can be improved If you want to change things up, you're seen as an interloper, a disruptor of progress, and by progress I mean, we've done this for 500 years and we're going to do it for 500 more. And if you want to do something different, you need to leave Instead of saying, huh, let's embrace something new and make what we have even better. It gets to be a little difficult to confront what always was.
So you have a lot of expats from Scandinavia that are all over the world simply because they didn't want to conform to what always was and they want to bring that level of being able to forge their own path, being able to do their own thing somewhere else, and for the better. In a lot of the communities the Scandinavians are in, it's for the better. It improves everything that we're doing. But, on the other hand, you have this dichotomy of we're ideally special and important, but we can learn from the people who can't live in that system.
What do you desire to be better? How do you desire to make it better? We can learn from countries that are successful at taking care of their citizens and giving their citizens a proper education and an opportunity to branch out, because anytime you leave your country for another country to live, it tells me your country prepared you well for going out on your own, but also, too, it lets me know that growth in your instance can't happen there. So what needs to change? So you want to leave, not, you have to leave, and I have a lot of expat friends from all over the world that say I had to leave because I couldn't do this, this, this, this this. I couldn't live this, this, this, this. So it's all. It's all. It's all because of some.
0:33:59 - Cecilie Conrad
We're sitting here in our van in France Because we had to leave. We had to leave, at least for a while.
0:34:09 - Erika Davis-Pitre
But that leaving needs to be understood because it's helpful for the rest of the world to understand. There's no ideal place. It's always participation, it's always choice. If it's none of that, it doesn't matter how ideal the place is. There isn't a choice to express yourself in the way you want to and you're encouraged to grow in the way you need to grow. There's room for improvement, even the best places. There's always, there should always be introspection. There should always be thought how can we be better? No one should be able to rest on their laurels.
0:34:53 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Are you a dad who's committed to being the best parent you can be? Do you find yourself navigating the intricate maze of fatherhood and wishing for a roadmap? Look no further. The Better Dad Institute presents the Focused Fatherhood Workshop, a transformative two-hour experience designed to elevate your parenting game. Visit wwwbetterdadinstitutecom. Forward slash workshop and if you use the code self-directed, then you'll get 10% off the price. Hope to see you there.
0:35:26 - Jesper Conrad
No, and we today, earlier today, we recorded the podcast which will be the one people can hear the week before this one with a wonderful man named Randall from UK who are acting for the on-schooling and homeschooling movement in UK. Wonderful fellow and with him we had a long talk about family, how, for him, on-schooling and homeschooling is about setting family first, and not there is this. Families have been broken apart by the school system in a way that is starting to. I'm starting to understand it on a deeper level, I think now, and that is I would love to hear your thoughts about homeschooling and on-schooling and the families.
0:36:25 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Well, you have to go back to the 1840s and the Industrial Revolution and the capitalization and the monetization of everything. Because before the Industrial Revolution what was monetized was pretty much rich versus poor. So the poor people were in survival mode and they basically were monetized by the upper classes. So your worth was based on what you could grow, what you could provide for the upper classes Not even the royal, let's take them out, just the upper classes. So you have the landholders and the landowners and you have the workers. And the worker grew enough crops to feed its family, and then what was left over was monetized so that they could get seed to grow crops. They basically it was hand to hand them out. It wasn't I'm going to grow this so I can buy a farm and set myself up for whatever.
Then the Industrial Revolution happens and all of a sudden everything becomes a commodity, everything is monetized, including children, and so the school system was set up based on that monetization. So you come into the school system. They first decide if you're going to go past fourth grade and then past eighth grade and to university, whatever. That's decided very early on by family standards, by your quick wit, by your ability to impress someone. If you go all through your life and you don't impress that person at 4, 6, 8, 10, the die is set and you're going to either be a worker or you're going to be a manager of workers, or you're going to elevate yourself out of your class situation. But they made sure that elevation was difficult by schooling. So they told you very early on what you were capable of, irregardless of any kind of personal experience with you. They looked at your family structure, they looked at what your father and grandfather did and they decided for you this is what you're going to be. Your monetization level was this and your expectation of improving your lot was nil. Maybe it was 2%, maybe it was 5%, maybe it was or maybe you have a spark. You found somebody who believed in you, that was upper class and they pulled you up. Everything was based on that monetization.
Now, come into the 20th century, the industrial revolution is starting to wane and that's why we had wars, by the way, to thin the herd and to make things scarce. The education model didn't shift. We were still labeling, classing, preparing people for different tracks Once the industrial revolution got to the point where we were producing much more than we needed to consume. It's been the last almost 100 years where everything is grossly overproduced. There is no real need in the world. There is no real need in the world. There's enough food being thrown away to feed everyone in the world three times over.
So it's been determined throughout. All the excuses they give for hunger, it's just bullshit. Okay, to just be blunt, it's just greed-based, it's monetized-based. I'm not going to give away my product. I'd rather burn it, destroy it, trash it than use it for good.
Because the capitalistic system, the monetization system, won't work if everybody's satisfied, if everybody's well-fed, if everybody has a place. So how do you reinforce that? Through education. So you say that there are good schools and there are great schools. You say there's good opportunity, there's great opportunity, and you monetize being a criminal.
That's what's happened in the United States. We've monetized our prison system. We've monetized our justice system. The more criminals we have, the more people in prison we have, the richer that class of people gets and we don't educate against that class. As a matter of fact, we educate to perpetuate the prison system in the United States.
So everything has been criminalized, the most simplistic things that 50 years ago were handled as just bad behavior. And you stay after school and you work it off with a crazy, maniacal teacher, it's now criminalized. If you are a truant, if you skip school, it's a criminal offense, not only for the child but for the parent. We've criminalized so many things that were naturally handled by the family and we've enforced impossible conditions on families. So we require all the adults in the household and anyone close to adulthood to work outside of the household. We don't provide for or even encourage someone to be the keeper of the family and someone else to be the monetized person that brings in the income. That's almost impossible. In many places in the world, if not most places in the world, it's very, very difficult to have someone that's the keeper of the family.
And so what has happened is education comes in and decides and professes to be that familiar structure that in generations past was your grandmother, was your aunt, was your mother or your father or someone in your family or even the neighbor, and it was local and it was close and it was very, very human. We've gone from that to a system and a process of educating based on the dehumanization and based on you being a product rather than a human, rather than a person who belongs to a family. So in some instances, school education was and still is for many, many people in the world, that ticket out of an oppressive system. But for many, many others, it's the exact opposite it's the ticket into a place where they're dehumanized. So, trying to find that balance, the young women in Afghanistan that want to go to school is just positioned against the young Danish child that just wants autonomy so that they can grow up with their family intact. And we have those two images bumping up against each other. And what's taking advantage of that difference is the folks that want to maintain oppression and oppressive systems that monetize everything, and they're happy to see us looking like we're working at cross purposes, when in actuality it's the same purpose, which is humans, their humaneness being honored.
And we're, we can homeschool. We can take out, pluck out, you know, 10, 11% of the population of the world and give them a world class, first nations educational experience. I can, I did that for my kid, you're doing that for your kids. But what will be the real effect? What will be the real effect if we don't reach out beyond ourselves and say I want something better for the kids that can't be homeschooled, because there's hundreds of millions of kids that will never have the opportunity that our kids have. So how do we improve the world so that even those that don't have that opportunity still are in a humane environment? So I get I get a lot of flack because I'm all about education on all levels, not just homeschoolers, unschoolers.
I would love it if the whole world was unschooled. I think a lot of our problems would be solved. I think a lot of diseases would be cured. I think a lot of things that are wrong in the world would be righted by unschooling. I absolutely believe that, because unschooling for me is taking your talent, your propensity and just going as far as you can with it, and I think with that kind of encouragement a lot of things would be solved.
The reality is most people are going to go to a bricks and mortar school or no school at all. That's the reality. Most people will be educated in this rudimentary, oppressive manner or they will have no education opportunity at all. It seems to be that's the way of the world. And as long as you know, what is it? 48 people, 48 people in the world have 90% of the wealth. As long as that's a thing it's going to be very difficult to extract ourselves from a system that is absolutely failing us the world over.
It starts with this imagination of borders. It starts with telling people you can't live here if you're not this person, you're not this citizen, you weren't born here. It's all so ridiculous. This planet is so small. It made sense 200 years ago when it took you a month long or two month long voyage to get somewhere else. But if I can get on a plane and in 10 hours, be some completely on another side of the planet, we need to start talking about. How realistic is it to tell people you're in an undeveloped or underdeveloped place and you have to stay there, even though the developed places took all your resources to create they're?
0:47:27 - Cecilie Conrad
0:47:29 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Yeah, I mean I do understand, but I like saying I don't understand, because maybe one person, one more person, will listen because they can tell me. I'm always saying, if you want to know what someone knows, have them teach you what they know. Let them be your teacher. Not you teach them, but let them teach you and you'll find out what they know and what they don't know, and what their propensities are and what they are.
I would really like someone to explain to me, like I'm in kindergarten, why, if you're in a country that was a colony of another country, why you can't go to that country and claim citizenship and claim participation, because they exploited your country for generations, for centuries. You should be able to say, oh, I was a part of Italy or Portugal or Denmark or whatever. I was a part of this system of colonization. They took the resources and they develop their countries quite nicely. I think I should be able to come. I should be able to come and try my luck.
If your answer is no, you're poor, you don't speak our language, you don't look like us then I think those people should be allowed to go to that government and say we need our resources back, not those exact things but a monetary. You can support us for 200 years at X, y, z number of dollars and cents. We can build up our infrastructure so we can build our schools and build our farms and build our roads and our energy systems and all of the things that you took 200 years to do with our resources. I say you give us the same amount of resources and the same amount of time to develop our play. Then you have an argument. What happens is, whenever the resources come to these places, guess who else comes? We're seen as expats in Mexico. In Mexico, americans are seen as expats. A Mexican that wants to come to America is seen as an illegal immigrant. But Americans go into Mexico. Oh, that's smart retirement planning. That's a great thing to do.
0:50:00 - Cecilie Conrad
That's a great thing to do.
0:50:04 - Erika Davis-Pitre
It boggles the mind. As long as it's the oppressive country developing in oppressed country, it's all good. You should be happy to have our money, you should be happy to have our money. But if it's in the reverse, and they're bringing something of value, they're willing to work in the fields, they're willing to invest in businesses, they're willing to be here and contribute, all of a sudden oh, that's a horrible thing. It just boggles the mind. In the 21st century, which still treating migrants, treating people who want to live other places, as if they're pariahs, versus if the ruling class wants to go anywhere in the world, it's a boom, it's investment, it's all these great things. It's like okay come on.
Come on At the same time. We just can't get away from those clandest structures of who belongs and who doesn't belong. The great American experiment, which to me is just on the preferences of not being anymore because there's so much rampant misinformation rampant just out and out lies of what it is to be an American. I'm hopeful that we can pull ourselves out of the spiral, but I'm not convinced. I'm hopeful which is like a dream, but I'm not convinced, because we're so busy looking at what's great, just like in Denmark. There's so many great things about Denmark, but if you're not looking at what's not great, the great things won't last long. You've got to have your eye on what makes it hard to be here, what makes it hard to raise a family here, what makes it hard to be an individual here, what would make it better? How can we improve ourselves? The minute you sit on what's good, the bad just falls over you, because they're always looking for opportunity.
0:52:27 - Jesper Conrad
For example, denmark is praised for the social security system and all that. But one of the things I see is that by having such a secure country, it also makes it not my problem when my family members something happens to them. When my parents are old, they have money and there's a nursing home that can go through it, all paid to the taxes, which actually makes me not wanting to care. I do not want to take care of them because I've been raised in. It's not your problem when they grow old, it's the society's problem when they grow old.
0:53:15 - Cecilie Conrad
But even our parents are raised in that culture and they think that they shouldn't bother us. I just got noticed today that my dad had been in the hospital the past two weeks. No one told me until he came out. Yes, just because it shouldn't be my problem. I would very much like to know that.
0:53:35 - Erika Davis-Pitre
But the dehumanization of womb to tomb health. Underlying all of that is the dehumanization. It turns people into commodities. Of course I went to the hospital, I could go to the hospital, I had good care. Why, should you know? That's my business. That separation, that dehumanization Everybody sees it with children, but no one sees it on the other end, with adults. And it starts with children being a part of rather than belonging to. And when I say that people are like, what do you mean? I said being a part of something is easy. I can put rocks in a pile and they're a part of the pile, but belonging to something is completely different. I'm going to care about what happens when you belong to me. If I'm a part of something and everything has been conveniently taken care of and you've been convinced because you have high taxes and all this social care, you really are free to be yourself. No, you're not. You're free to be yourself as long as nothing's wrong, as long as you have no need, it's all great. But how many years You're?
0:54:54 - Cecilie Conrad
free to be yourself, as long as you do it within that structure of the way you can be yourself.
0:55:00 - Erika Davis-Pitre
It goes back to what I was saying about, goes back to what I'm saying about systems that we admire everywhere. All systems have flaws. Once you remove the humanness of the system, once you take out the humanity, all you're left with is the commodity, and no human will always fit in that form. As long as you're healthy, well able, filling all the blanks, it seemingly looks like it works, except no one's ever, always in that spot. You either have a grandparent, you have a parent, you have yourself, you're going to fall into need, and then the system really shows itself.
0:55:51 - Jesper Conrad
But, erica, and now I will place the future of the world on your shoulders.
0:55:59 - Cecilie Conrad
Erica for president.
0:56:00 - Jesper Conrad
Erica for president.
0:56:01 - Cecilie Conrad
The universal thing? No no. It wouldn't work.
0:56:04 - Erika Davis-Pitre
It wouldn't work.
0:56:06 - Jesper Conrad
No. All that power, yeah, no, no. But the question is, Erica, seeing the problems. That's a good thing. It's the start of the waking up, part of my de-schooling seeing and understanding it. But then we should also talk about how do we re-humanize, even on small scale? So what are your suggestions of what we can do?
0:56:36 - Erika Davis-Pitre
So for me personally, on a small scale level, on a couple hundred people on Laney's World School Family Summits, the intimacy of those five days, the ability to talk to people from different places whose goal is to be world citizens and to participate in the world, not just in their little pocket of joy or whatever, but actually to move around those are perfect examples of giving people the opportunity to have the means, because that's who we're talking about, where change is going to come from, I'm sorry. People that have means raising, people that have means to look at these things, these structures, and try to break them down. To me, that's the only way it's going to happen. It's not only people who are impoverished and they're being crushed by the systems, but the people who can relatively move with ease, Even after all that I've talked to you about. On the large scale of things, we have a successful family. People are doing what they can do to survive. They're not wildly rich. They're not thriving. At times Sometimes there's a struggle In comparison to most of the world. We're golden. We can travel, we can do what we need to do and what we want to do If people of means start getting together to expose themselves to other people of means to see.
We have the same commonalities. We have the same flaws in our systems of governance. We have the same flaws in our system of family structure. Let's get together and set some examples out in the world. Let's talk about and then recede where we go talking to other people about our experiences.
Yeah, two million people are not going to be able to attend a World School Family Summit, but if those 200 or so, 400 or so, 600 or so people, they get together for the five days, they go back where they come from or go back to where they're going and see that and say, oh, there's another way to do this. And here's what I learned talking with this person from Singapore or that person from Australia or that person from Morocco. Here's what I've learned talking to them because I have real life, lived world experience, not what I'm being fed through the media, not what I'm being fed through TikTok or YouTube, but I've actually spent time, broke bread, watched the family structure and how it works and doesn't work, live, in-person, real-time, how I've had this conversation with you because I met you. See what I'm saying, that actual, live, human contact.
We have to encourage that and Zoom helps, but we've got to get out of the fantasy of getting it in sound bites. It takes time to develop, couple of days to feel comfortable talking with somebody on a real life basis. I'm unusual, you're unusual and you could strike up a conversation with someone and feel comfortable extending that conversation beyond. Most people aren't comfortable doing that. And recognizing that most people need time and an innocuous event so that they can be distracted by the event if the communication doesn't work, recognizing that that's how a lot of people operate, is the first goal to seeding these ideals out in the wild, out with different structures.
1:00:33 - Cecilie Conrad
I think that what you're saying is really important. It only takes a few people to make a big change. Absolutely, it's true. You said that Lainey's World School Summits really brings people together from everywhere to talk about how can we live a life of freedom, a meaningful life, where things make sense and we have respect and kindness. We're contributing Exactly. We can be part of something bigger than just doing what we call it.
1:01:04 - Erika Davis-Pitre
I also think it was important because they're doing work with teens, which I think is awesome and really important. But I also think that the familiarness of the family summits is very important, because people got to see grandparents with their family. They got to see family structures. Most things that efforts for improvement of our societies are based on age, gender. They're all separated out. It's very rare that you attend something and it's the whole family. The kids have an opportunity to bond with other kids, but they also get to see other parents bonding with their children. They get to see the whole family structure outside of you guys in a bus or the people in hubs all over the world. They really got to see people that were doing this as a vacation or that were doing this full time as world school or they were dipping their toe in to see if it's something they could do. That was so important for the young people to see all these different options outside of their own family and outside of what's normal. It was so healthy to be able to see I had so many young people come up to me and say you were really helpful with this.
I like to talk about that, but what I like most is you don't have kids and you're here. You're not here as somebody's grandma, you're here as a world citizen that wants to be seen and wants to see how the world is developing. For the next generation, I want to be the seed of the tree I never see. That's really hard to get at these days. Everybody wants to see the fruit before they contribute. Is it fast growing corn or is it an oak tree? Are you an acorn or a corn kernel? Most people like to be the corn kernel because they see their progress at the end of a very short time. I'm an acorn. I'm planting seeds for trees I will never see the shade of, I will never experience, but hopefully my further generations and even if there's no further generation, if the further generations of the world see my acorn, my tree, my effort, even if they never know my name I don't there is no greater glory for me. So I'm hoping that we all can reach out and give whatever we can give To changing structures and systems that don't honor the family and don't honor our humaneness.
I'm hoping we can change. I'm hoping we can change the world by homeschooling, unschooling, world schooling. I'm hoping we can change the world. I'm hoping, even if the desire is only to watch us, there's change in those in watching the YouTube's, the podcast, even if you never leave your home because of financial, family, whatever circumstances. Knowing that this exists, knowing that this is possible, that has to be. A part of all that we do is showing people the possibilities, because that's all I'm doing now in the fourth, fifth, sixth act. I can't even keep track of how many acts I've had. It's amazing to me how quickly time flies. I say this to every person that has a young person in their home the days are long, but the years are short. You will not believe how quickly I mean. My youngest will be 31 in a couple of weeks and I remember when he was drooling.
1:05:32 - Jesper Conrad
1:05:33 - Erika Davis-Pitre
1:05:34 - Jesper Conrad
1:05:35 - Erika Davis-Pitre
He needed me for everything. And now it's like let me get a phone call Every once in a while.
1:05:44 - Jesper Conrad
Just let me find a wife. Yeah, yeah, erica, it's about time. So I would say it has been such a big pleasure and I think we again should continue the conversation.
1:06:00 - Cecilie Conrad
1:06:01 - Jesper Conrad
Because we need more Erica. We need to do our little part in putting some water and sun on the A-con so it can grow strong.
1:06:14 - Cecilie Conrad
I appreciate it. And some of your time. That image of the oak tray really gave me some hope. I'll take that with me. Last time we spoke, what I still have like an echo is the kindness talk we had, and I want to think about what I do with more hope because, you're right, the impact is reaching far and sometimes you just can't see it here now. So I'll think about my kindness and my oak tree and then we'll talk again.
1:06:45 - Erika Davis-Pitre
Yes, absolutely Absolutely. Thank you for having me.
1:06:51 - Jesper Conrad
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