I have been interested in play and creativity for a long time, and have decided there is rarely that "lone genius" who advances society. Mostly it's a group/friend effort, although that group may be two or three people.
I have also been interested in various "enlightenments" for quite a while, especially the Scottish Enlightenment, which happened when Scotland was tiny and didn't have much population. Now how the heck did such a tiny population produce so many polymaths?
A few conclusions: there has to be a group of smart guys who get together (a lot of time they do it in taverns) who can discuss and discover what they want, and there has to be an atmosphere in which intellectual achievement is admired and encouraged.
Now where is that in the U.S.? No where, for the most part. Now we've got kids sitting in ranks and rows in public schools, taught by incompetent female teachers who put order and quiet above achievement. And we've got PC, which is leftist, which is female.
Even as a teen I thought the smart and creative should be identified as children, removed from environments which they always hate and sent to live with their own kind. And to be mentored by the adults of their own kind. And to see them as models. And they would be mirrors for the young, too.
A mirror, as I have written before, is when you see what the other person thinks of you, how they treat you. If you have smart and creative kids, who mostly daydream and ignore school, what is going to be mirrored back to them?
A lot of the more incompetent teachers seem to think the smart and educated are slow! And they mirror that back to them.
I've met several smart people who were told by teachers they were slow - dumb. The reality is that they were bored, daydreamed all the time, and didn't do their work.
I once wrote an article, "How Science Fiction Saved Me From Hell - I Mean Middle School" and here are some posts I culled from various forums:
"The 'teacher' actually degraded me during class for reading Steinbeck during Right to Read Week, the one week of the year they 'let' us read our own books in class. She told me to get a 'nice Romance novel'."
"I would check out books and when the librarian would see what I'd selected she'd say, that's way over your head, or for older kids. One time after being told this three times in the space of about five minutes I told her to let me decide what I wanted to read.
"I was given an IQ test in grade 9 and scored 128. Not particularly high, but when some of my teachers found out they were dumbstruck, they thought because I didn't participate in class or do my work that I was Special Ed.
"I routinely scored in the top 3% in the nation on achievement tests and once when I'd scored higher than the 'smartest kid in school' on one of the tests she had a fit in front of our entire class and told me in front of everyone that there had to be a mistake because I was 'stupid'."
"We had weekly trips to the library, I would do the same thing when I was a kid, and would get chastised about it in front of the whole class. I was so miserable in school after that, I felt like I was being held back."
"I got so bored, I used to correct the teacher in my History classes...
"I used to just read something [Science fiction or Fantasy] in most of my classes, since there wasn't much point in me paying attention apart from in Maths, where there was actually something I needed to learn."
"I had the same history teacher in high school two years in a row, and I was correcting him constantly. Especially about the Korean War and Vietnam.
"His lesson plan didn't change the second year either."
Things have gotten so bad with the public schools I see no alternative to closing them down. And it's the reason I'm such a great believer in home-schooling.
That is, if we want to save your kid.