What satirical points are made on the subject of education in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?
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Ever hear the saying "I never let my schooling interfere with my education"? Much like this saying, the school system in To Kill a Mockingbird is portrayed cynically. For instance, Scout's teacher, Miss Caroline, scolds her for knowing how to read before coming to school, claiming that Atticus does not know how to teach. It seems as if she is more concerned with her lesson plans and less concerned about the well-being of the students. No teacher should be angry that a student knows how to read ahead of schedule!
Also, Miss Caroline does not seem to understand the culture of the town and her students, since when Scout explains that a Cunningham will not take anything for free, Miss Caroline slaps her hand, instead of trying to understand. School is supposed to be a place where a student can grow intellectually and emotionally, but Scout does not have that experience the first year.
Consider the object of ridicule that Miss Fisher and her new-fangled ideas are - the role-reversal that occurs when she is the crying child and Scout and one or two other children take charge and 'educate' her - the contrast with Miss Blount, much more traditional and effective as an educator...
Where do the children learn? Not in school for sure, except indirectly, as in the chapter about democracy and the rise of nazism in Germany and the way Scout really learns the meaning of hypocrisy. They learn so much more outside school from a huge variety of characters and episodes - Mrs Dubose, Dolphus Raymond, the Missionary Circle, Braxton Underwood, the mad dog incident, the visit to First Purchase, the harsh lessons Dill has to learn from his own parents... Harper Lee seems to be saying that school education is the minor part and that the real world is where real learning takes place.
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