Property is Theft: A Political Economy of Legos in One Classroom

Okay, that title is a bit ridiculous, but check out this article
"Why We Banned Legos" from The teachers didn't ban Legos permanently. They just took them away for a few months while getting the kids to talk about how they could share and build with Legos more fairly, instead of a few kids dominating the toys or excluding other kids. I admit, it seems ridiculous, but the way this is dealt with in most situations is not for kids to talk about power and ownership and rules. It's just a teacher or parent exercising power by demanding the kids share, and micromanaging the situation. Some kids learn to share, and other kids learn that they can boss people around when they become as powerful as a teacher or parent.

There's also a response from National Review Online by John J. Miller, making the kind of irrelevant accusations that you'd expect about these "latte-sipping" teachers. Miller either skimmed the article too quickly or he's being intentionally misleading.

[In their] new Lego regime, there would be three immutable laws:

* All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures. But only the builder or people who have her or his permission are allowed to change a structure.

* Lego people can be saved only by a “team” of kids, not by individuals.

* All structures will be standard sizes.

You can almost feel the liberating spirit of that last rule. All structures will be standard sizes? At Hilltop Children’s Center, all imaginations will be a standard size as well: small.

For one thing, the teachers did not impose those rules. The kids came up with those rules after discussions. For another thing, Miller seizes on this rule about "standard sizes" as if it's some horribly Stalinist policy. To me it sounds like the community of kids developed their own playtime zoning ordinances, the kind commonly accepted in communities all over the US (except maybe Houston).


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