I have lived just over 3 years in the USA. As a foreigner in the USA’s traffic, one thing stands out tremendously! The Yellow Bus, or the school bus. I was living in Williamstown, Massachusetts, somewhere halfway on a mountain with beautiful views, nature, Mt. Greylock, the Appalachian trail, organic farming, a very well off college nearby, some primary, secondary and high schools around as well. As the town was so small I usually needed to drive either to North Adams or to Pittsfield for whatever shopping or entertainment.
I usually avoided driving around school hours as what I found very annoying are those school buses. For all the non-Americans: Children are moved from home to school and back by bus. I think everyone has at least seen them in movies. They stop in front of the house so the parents either can see the child getting on, or, is next to the bus itself. Then the bus makes it route to school and at the end of the day the same way back again. Instead of some bus stops so that the kids can walk or bike a bit, no, of course not, the buses stop hyper regularly and the parents either are at the bus or have a visual on their kids coming out. It is not only stopping each time the bus stops when you’re driving behind it, but, you also have to stop when a bus is stopping at the opposite side of the road! Flashing red lights, a stop sign at the least to make the traffic stop. So, it is not only stopping for the bus in front of you but also for the bus ahead of you. Schools are large, many kids at the same place, centralized somewhere out of town. I cannot recall a school central in a town or suburban areas or close to residential areas. Somehow, usually, they are far out, meaning loads of buses going literary in all directions and all at the same time!
Have you any idea how frustrating it is to wait? I’m already not good at waiting in the first place but still..
Being a teacher myself, or having been is more accurately, I am really wondering what the Yellow Buses are teaching the kids, parents and maybe the society at large, or better, what is not being taught what should have been?
I very much would like to have an answer to this question: What is the product, or result, when kids are being moved and supervised for the majority of the day throughout their most formative years, rather than move themselves?
In the average middle class household in the USA, both parents need to work to make ends meet. Both of them at least 2 jobs. There is no paid parental leave, no paid maternal leave, no guarantee that the job still is there after a holiday, the minimum wage in many states still is $7.25 an hour, big distances from home to work, irregular hours, a large competition to get jobs so there is a high pressure keeping your job. The costs of living are high, especially proper healthcare, housing and college/university.
The above already forces parents to put toddlers or younger in daycare till they are old enough for going to school. Meaning, they aren’t at home and don’t spend that much quality family time. When the kids are able to go to school then they go by that bus for around at least 12 years (!!!!) in a row! As I said, many schools aren’t near their own neighborhoods so there isn’t a connection with their own community. Then, they are supervised all. the. time! Sitting in the classroom, less and less physical education, having to be calm at break time, bodies stuffed with junk food and sodas and at home they have to make loads of homework. All the time they have to do what is being told and the physical and mental space to take any own initiative is very limited.
Besides that, the entertainment industry is photoshopping models, everything has to look good, feel good, smell good, and be good. It is way off if you cannot identify with the image on how things has to be and please, do feel bad about it!
Tell me, where is the touch between fiction and fact? Where is the connection between school and society? How can kids possibly connect what they have learned and real life when they hardly ever come in touch with real life in the first place? How can they use the (social) media as a proper source of news when also that part of the media has nearly become one gigantic big entertainment bubble in which they even don’t know themselves what is fact and what is fiction? Do see the documentary “Outfoxed” to see where I am coming from. It is from 2004 and much have changed since. And, how can they release their abundance of energy and willingness to learn into something positive?
The product of captivity of the yellow bus is the USA as it is today. Following, non-critically thinking, patriotic, nationalistic sheep who live in a constant unconscious fear. Nearly blindly believing everything that is coming at them from above in the ‘group’ they belong. No sense of what actually happening in the USA and especially not what is happening in the world at large and what really are the big issues of our time and times to come.
AmericanS, the people themselves are great, no comment about that at all, I really enjoyed my time there, their hospitality, their generosity, and their willingness to help. During the fundraising campaigns I’ve been doing there, canvassing, I am most compelled to the extraordinary generosity, openness, and friendliness of the Muslim-American/Arab-American community in Dearborn Michigan.
It is the system and the opinion making machine I am against, which affects everyone, especially the ‘marginalized’ such as the Muslim-Americans and the anti-Muslim rhetoric that is happening now, among a bazillion other topics.
USA, free yourself from that captivity, Open up and start moving yourself by biking!