A response to the prompt, “What is school for?”

What is education and why do we need it?

As a hu(e)-man woman coming from a white Anglo-Saxon background, I grew up in a “privileged” town, or so I thought. Our public high school, had some good teachers but no advance A.P. classes; there was no homework assigned on computer. We did have Latin, Greek, and many languages. For most, not all of my education, I went to public schools including college and medical school. Despite my ~lack of college prep class focus, I got to practice for 28 years as an allergy physician.

My story of being a mainstream W.A.S.P. statistic, ends right there. My family was dysfunctional – my mother was bipolar who expressed her frustrations with harsh words and whippings; in her eyes, being a girl, I was no-thing but meant to serve (men).

 My father was a chauvinist philanderer – typical for his day,- though loving in his way. My parents divorced physically when I was eight; but not before my mother deceitfully kidnapped us to the opposite coast when I was five. Objectively I “lost” everything of tangible importance – my father, dog, home, even my only doll. You could say, I was traumatized – and learned not to attach to anyone. You could say too, losing that “love”, I felt I was (must be) unlovable. My self esteem registered quite low -but I could trust in data and rules- at least as applied to my ongoing community. To my mother however, I was a lost cause. She was very tempermental and taught me to walk on eggshells).

By the age of ten, I was a constant runaway. After being arrested for trespassing (sleeping in a public building), I was put into foster care at age 14. By 16, I was fully emancipated and living on my own.

For me school was always a haven. I loved science and math. I could see hypocrisy in everything else- though I gained a lot from reading foreign classics- stories about lives lived utterly different than mine. I read all the Russian literature I could get my hands on (Solzhenitsyn had just started publishing). Reading was encouraged at home -it helped me stay out of trouble too.

Since I have an inquisitive mind, I didn’t need much from teachers – other than they like what they are teaching! Their zeal encouraged me. I could relate to their passion, as it was. I usually sought out the most rigorous ones by reputation. In retrospect, my intense seriousness probably helped my classes be more settled than some other classrooms I’d heard about.


What we sow today, we reap tomorrow. As a nation we claim we want happiness and prosperity for our populus. It is said education is our stepping stone to a better future– and that “knowledge is power”.[1] If you want to “break the cycle” of folks being caught in their labyrinth, you’ve got to give them something else to consider besides their family’s environment.

As a country inculcating today for our future healthy communities, it makes sense for basic education to provide seeds for what tools we might need. Our com-munity (arming together), requires a focus on the highest goods for the plurality.  You could even say, the highest and greatest good for all beings – which always includes the individual. Learning how to communicate well, should be a first priority.

In astrology, how we as personalities communicate is predicted by the sign on the 3rd house cusp. For me that’s Capricorn, whose keywords include “structured” and “masterful”, as well as fearful, cold, limited, and rigid. My personal planets are there too. With Mars there, I want to communicate and with Venus nearby,how I communicate is my ‘beauty’ or attraction’.if you will. For years, I satisfied this writing notes for patient charts after extensively interviewing them.

Early on, we learn our basic skills from our families of origin. By mirroring those around us, we communicate physically, mentally, emotionally – even E.S.P. telepathy) to get our “needs” met -anything we feel we are lacking for our (material) integrity.

Not only does every child have a different third house cusp, we each experience our families differently – usually because of birth rank order or gender.  Likely this begins at around three months of age. (Though, as the mother of two boys, I feel qualified to say their differences were palpable even earlier).

Within the context of our family, we learn how to communicate so we “feel” safe and whole. Recall that “feelings” are the result of neuro-chemical hormones released when our receptor self (eyes, ears, nose, skin) are triggered by learned associations. These are taught both by positive and negative enforcement. During the 50s, Dr. Spock recommended spankings, maybe soon there’ll be clicker training.

Other than being with our “happy” parents and sibs in our “den” – which creates a tangible sense of wholeness in the body, our physical feeling of being safe and content is more the absence of fear (adrenaline =fight or flight), than from any external structures[2]

It is clearly shown by multiple psychological studies, folks ‘learn’ new things that might otherwise seem “abstract” (to them), when their reptilian brains can be at rest. Otherwise they are stuck in rote behaviors.

Also, when adrenaline is frequently used as stimulus, cortisol levels rise -sustained, the adrenal glands enlarge to keep up with demand, tending to a state of over-responsiveness.

(Elevated cortisol directly affects the body’s fertility (revving cortisol production takes away from DHEA- a steroid building block used for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone)- another topic altogether -but not irrelevant.)


Switching gears again, dreaming of a functional self-sustaining community[3], we must support our market place economy.

The market place is where we buy what we ‘need’ and ‘want’. Usually this is food, clothing, building materials, medicine, and entertainment. All of these are essential and we usually leave home to get them. Each component of the market place has its own story or “how” it got there- and ultimately was created by someone else’s hands.

If you want to free people from their family’s cycles of crippling Kalpa (karma-induced poverty), you must let them experience doing something different. Using words isn’t enough. During their early education, let a child chose a hands-on skill that appeals to them to make tangible creation. Provide ongoing options at every grade level. At least and even if, they go to university, they may have developed a hobby for later, which you never know, can be spun into their gold, and relieve stress.

Let middle schools offer sewing, cooking, art, shop- let the student pick (fostering their autonomy).  At least if they have an essential skill, it can be a fall back when times warrant.

Lastly for those things we keep buying, they can and should be ~ recyclable and self-sustaining, as humans themselves are.


Of course to get even an essential job, one needs to be able to do simple maths, like how much a week of minimum wage will bring them in a week, month, and year, let alone how to shop.

Maybe algebra shouldn’t be ‘required’ for artists, negotiators, and poets- though if stakes were lower, they might relax and find they like it.

Additionally all should be able to understand a basic contract (and when they need outside help). May they be by twelfth grade, at least proficient in reading basic terms. In my high school, we studied the stock market instead. Now I have to hire a lawyer or at least peruse a dictionary to understand the vocabulary in the clauses (and still really don’t confidently understand terms like “annuity” “indemnity” etc.). Bad contracts could be reviewed as school projects.


The main purpose of science is to teach about our health and the measurable world around us. Most adults I know whether they went to public or private school, don’t understand science basics like where specific organs are in the body or that mitochondria are inherited by mom- let alone meiosis and mitosis (until they get become infertile or get cancer). To me the science lover, this seems out of grace.

Looking longitudinally, stimulate curiosity for science by planting ~pea gardens when young- later study the same plant under a microscope, and then research with a science project and study its properties when they’re advanced. Let the artist make sketches.

Life learning naturally builds on itself, why not emulate the process?

Kids should learn that the body has natural shifts with the tides. Everything changes.  You most certainly are what you eat. Let “sex ed” be age and sex- appropriate. Boys don’t need to learn in middle school about girls periods.

(There is no reason to focus on sex itself – sex is a surrogate for intimacy.

Families without intimacy create the need for physical (and often inappropriate) affection. When having children is a yardstick of success (such as in the Catholic  or Baptist traditions), or the child comes from a family with young mother, subconsciously, this is her fallback. For her, status is achieved with having babies as long as these ‘rulers’ are relevant, For traditional working families, more children of course meant more hands to do work and chores.

Let kids have access to information but don’t stuff it down their throats. Some kids know they are “different” from their peers as early as four. May there be counselors to reassure them they are perfect- exactly as they/we are all in the image of G-d.

There is no reason my third grader has to learn about oral sex! Sure with our emphasis on sex as taboo (as is sensationalized by our advertising and Hollywood media), they get extremely mixed messages. Talking about it reinforces it as a reality.

Sex is an integral part of a committed relationship, and should be honored as such- instead of perverted.


Likewise if you want to reduce domestic violence, stop teaching violent physicality. Team sports don’t have to be so aggressive as injurious. Teaching boys how to use physicality against an opponent (another human) encourages reductionist thinking. Martial children (mostly Aries), from martial parents (more Aries), are being favored at the expense of others- this reflects the deep-seated violence currently informing US culture and policies.

Focusing on winners and losers, especially in terms of strengths and weakness, how can we not keep considering life this way?

Did you know as a practicing physician in Virginia, I had to fund a head-injury cache? Already then, it was ~$450 a year to pay for some imbecile’s choice not to wear a helmet or use his head for butting. This is institutionalized stupidity.

For that reason, get rid of contact sports altogether. A real sense of Freedom doesn’t come from driving fast (that’s just adrenaline fix).

Mitochondria do like activity- about every 20 minutes- if we as mammals are anything like wolves who stop and play even when they’re fighting. Again, if school is to provide a blueprint or framework for healthy future, let kids learn lifelong sustainable activities that use the body bilaterally (like walking, jogging, dance, Swiss-style parcourse, and martial arts). Then let them learn to still themselves with meditation.

While everyone wants to be a star, it turns out not all black boys want to be athletes (!) . Some even get asthma to prove it. Let a body get them out of stuff – maybe they’d rather be reading a book.

(The front cover of my trade magazine the Journal of Allergy and Immunology, had a cartoon picture of what people with asthma would rather be doing. All were people of color and depicted with extreme stereotyping – a boy dreaming of playing sports, a young woman dreaming of being on computer, and older woman with broad-based gait (code for chronic alcoholic) dreaming of being abed. Talk about subliminal messaging for doctors who treat them?!)

Why should sports be the ~only place for kudos and clapping. Or why have such high stakes kudos in school in the first place?! None of that actually serves dreams for the future, instead I’d wager it creates egoic complacency (or simmering sense of resentment, when one is brainwashed (actually programmed) by friends and family they were the “best” –and didn’t get “due” rewards). Then body soma really feels cheated. Do we as educators really need to be fueling feuds?


Teach kids the benefits of, and provide, a plant-based diet. This would vastly improve everyone’s health. For example kitchari- a dish of legumes and rice, is a staple in India. It is dirt cheap and nutritious; has few allergens and is acceptable to every religious group (no beef or pork). Without meat, we aren’t ingesting the results of factory farming and concentrated persistent organic pollutants.

Why not provide a kitchari for our school lunches, along with seasonal vegetables, instead of processed foods loaded with residual chemicals?! Serve fruit at 10 and 2. (The body likes to digest things one-by-one- plus gives an opportunity for one body to stretch after a couple of hours of classroom time).

This digestible meal won’t fatigue – so afternoon (postprandial) classes aren’t such a waste of time for a sleepy individual.


For history, let the individual research their own story- and that of someone else that doesn’t look anything like anyone in their family. Let them become surprised (and delighted) by an “other-looking” individual, as their human qualities engage with each other. If you want to break stereotyping, it is done one-on-one – and with accounts like, .

Books are written by the victors- and the men who were taught to read and write. So any history book you buy, is bound to be subjective and incredibly skewed toward their experience and point of view. This point of view is uniquely unhelpful to our middle class of any stripe.

Texas currently dictates classroom textbooks due to the size of their orders – with large runs, they cut costs- making their point of view most affordable for school systems across the rest of the country. As a nation, do we really want our children to be inculcated in their bigotries?


Shifting the emphasis of history, providing training for basic hands-on creating, and demonstrating healthy exercise and diet, will guide and encourage 95% of people to become “better” selves. This provides options for feeling better they never would have considered and gives them a chance for more autonomy. With less ongoing suppression, as in telling each kid they must fulfill a specific curriculum before graduating so that they spend undue energy checking a box that is completely irrelevant, they will be vastly more productive too!

When you let the middle class thrive, even support it monetarily, your society’s bottom won’t need to be so deep. Remember, according to the laws of correspondence, what you ‘speak’ to, you get more of. By focusing on the impoverished, we facilitate co-dependence – and dis-ease.

For those who feel otherwise excluded from the “white” man’s  life- as seen on TV, this is a true stepping stone.

There will always be those who wildly succeed, or fail. If we only speak to those demographics, especially during a time of apparent limited resource, we weaken the middle. Looking at our titans today, many of them didn’t even finish college (such as Zuckerberg and Gates).  

How can you straight-faced tell a child college is necessary when these outliers are so publicized?

The thing is, as Heisenberg proved, even animate objects (including us humans) are ultimately probabilistic electron clouds (and subject to our hormones and biome chemicals).

Furthermore, as energy beings, we are 100% the embodiment of our astrology (as planets are gravitational beings- and we are the physical manifestation of their boson fields).

Like photons, we are both particle ad waveform. Have you ever watched a human shift their whole affect in seconds to become someone else entirely – I have, with my parents who say nice things one minute, then are another (scary) person altogether in the next); or perhaps me, when I had PMS.

 Like the photon, when we are measured by outside ‘rulers’, our infinite selves ‘collapse’; we start wanting to do more or less of the thing measured. This creates cycles of craving and aversion (focus) at the expense of one’s much broader set of possibility. Recall any given lineage has 100,000 million years of mammalian evolution guiding it. Skills and genes don’t get turned on unless they are called into being -as they are “needed”.

The more we are measured, the more we flatten. Then our passion has fewer routes to be expressed.

Young children are literal. When you tell them (or another child nearby that they somehow resonate with (or against), a story (the teacher’s judgment), they believe it in their body. What we teach seems real and is the basis for fixed beliefs. It took 64 years to undo some of mine.

It turns out in the astrological chart, the fifth house cusp (from the ascendant) predicts the nature of our joy and creativity. These are things that naturally make us happy and feel like we are thriving.  Sure call it the “flow” state; Maybe I was in one earlier today while writing; if you measured, I had some elevated endorphins.

When a subject in school resonates, it will naturally be “easy”. With these subjects, a child will thrive. This is witnessed to those in his or her environment. Anything that is “fun” can be spun into a job later (our sixth house) and impacts how our “boss” experiences us (cusp of 10th house- our star of Mid Coelum).

In astrology the 6th house represent work and chores we must do for our healthy integrity. Typically in the family, everyone does ‘chores’ so a parent (our first one-on-one relationship- the cusp of our seventh house and who is also our first boss, is ‘happy’[4] (enough).

This can feel like servitude, because it is. We ”must” feed ourselves a (good) diet, honor hygiene, and help out according to our local community’s needs as well as our abilities in order to be in physical integrity. Since this isn’t what we want to do, we feel it as obligation. We might even pay someone to do it. Turns out there is usually someone who really doesn’t mind at all, or might even enjoy it for themselves. (Please don’t call them “losers” because they like what you don’t, instead be grateful.)

Ideally the parent picks a chore according to their child’s means. The “boys” get more big muscle tasks; “girls” more fine motor. The astute parent realizes children have natural preferences, and may (or may not) cater to them. Sometimes they get rotated regardless of ability. How can you really like or dislike a thing, if you don’t do it?

How those one-on-one interactions go, how they are communicated, tends to inform what a child chooses later for further enrichment (the ninth house is ‘how’ 7 communicates what they value).

Skills we learn doing chores (as duh, everyone wants to do them well enough to please their one-on-one boss but get done ASAP so they can go back to having fun being ‘creative’), so in time, we tend to streamline efficiency- can one day, if needed, be parlayed into income. Maybe it’s distasteful, but we are good at it.

At the karate dojo, kids clean up after themselves. Why not add some service to school too- there are so very many jobs to do? Being at school IS a privilege in and of itself.

As we learn to manage knowledge productively, school increases individual freedoms, choice, and responsibility relative to an earlier self.

We become privileged compared to those in our lives who might do otherwise. To honor our circumstances, it is not too much to ask for kids to respect honor and dress codes to protect the common welfare of local others. (I wrote an essay about modesty you can read here)

Also how we “care” for our tasks provides the foundation for what we might like for further studies- the ninth house of higher learning, is the fourth house from 6.

As the 6th house (work, chores, servitude) finds its opportunity to be useful according to the values of our one-on-one relationships, (8th house), what we as personalities (our ascendant) choose for higher ed (going beyond the basics of just buying stuff in the marketplace), is predicted by the ninth house.

Notice the ninth house is the 3rd house from the seventh’s cusp- and is how our personal partners specifically highlight  and (oppose) our basic self  with their communication of their values (that later either tax or reward as inheritance-the 8th cusp reflects the values of our close partner).

These partners are necessary for our inspiration (or rebellious desperation) – as our 11th house (our sense of being in humanity, wishes, and inspiration, is the sixth from 7.[5]

Currently with our emphasis on S.T.E.M., (which I personally love and still find as  oasis of emotional respite from the confusion and pain in my life), we are creating a future of engineers and technology whizzes. No surprise this reflects our federal budget being 52% military and 18% medical- now they need jobs.

By promoting S.T.E.M., at the expense of all others, we are leaving most of population out, maybe even more than ~60%.  This serves the medical complex well.

Furthermore, promoters of S.T.E.M. are the miners- and those that want to use the minerals and resources which the miners extract. Controlling nonrenewable resource, they have a vast amount of wealth – along with the bankers who skim off them.  Together they “pay” for all those tech programs in school. This is unsustainable – minerals (formed over eons) of aren’t replaceable, and currently aren’t even recycled.

Kids today are naturally wired to be on the computer – yet when you put homework on it, the get little done between email, Facebook/Snapchat, and messaging  pings. One of my sons with “ADHD” didn’t and doesn’t function well at all when he goes on-line.

A young adult now, he’s addicted to Tetris and shooter games. His 20-something demographic is not rare. With his choices to have a bad diet and be sedentary, his inflamed brain short-circuits – a lot.  He gets very angry often. Like his martial father, he doesn’t communicate well, and he has several (legal) guns at his disposal allegedly for protection- but uses them to intimidate too. IMHO, his prognosis is guarded despite all the bounty he’s been blessed with–he is materially and emotionally well supported, and natural beauty that surrounds him.

May it be so, that school offers by example, some alternate solutions for similarly frustrated youths. Why not do some role-playing, so he can ‘see’ from another’s perspective? Let them read a script. How you can blame them to resort to bullying tactics when our entire media is awash with it – even and especially caricaturing our world leaders as if that’s an effective way of governing?[6]

(There is no reason the class whiz can’t make a little extra money, a pittance, helping teacher correct papers.)

Using the school budget to provide laptops and access, which then becomes outdated after a couple of years, uses lots of electricity, requires constant retraining after programs update, and then to provide security of all types from hackers, drains dollars from other more useful and important programs that would better serve a bright future.

Let computer application be naturally taught with their higher education of choice.

 People are really fine without constant contact of the attention-draining internet . With it’s virtual passion, it actually depletes our own. The body soma lives vicariously- “believing” a thing is real already, and so it ~gives up.

Anyway, the writing prompt was “what is school for?”, I hope you find my thoughts provocative or at least give some food for thought.

[1] Power is defined as the rate of work down in a certain amount of time. The one who can work harder and longer, tends to achieve; “winners” are often hard workers. Working hard at what you love, isn’t hard at all! In fact you will naturally excel at that – which will be obvious to those in your environs.

[2] Bringing the somatic body into jail-like buildings is (subconsciously) experienced as a loss of freedom- even if you paint it with primary colors. Especially when your parents themselves can’t see education’s importance -when it hasn’t benefitted them (that they know of) the natural impulse will to be detached as soon as possible.

[3] Self-sustaining communities yes do exist, go visit any “third” world country not under immediate manipulation by robber baron rulers and you will see contented peoples- many more than I’ve ever seen here! Yes they are constantly working, but so aren’t we all?

[4] Wanting happier one-on-one relationships, we are embodied on this earth in order to grow our spirits of love, like dogs wanting to please a master, we want to do more of what our beloved one-on-ones ask of us.  By seeing success for ourselves, we can do things differently.

[5] I know astrology is complicated, but it is SO useful. I learned how to do my chart when I was 14 using logarithms. Learning about it as a teenager in the throes of intense emotional crisis, I could suddenly understand – my life was no accident (at all) after all.

Our individual birth chart is our energetic blueprint for our waveform of self. From there, planets keep moving, making aspects and testing as they transit the sky.

There are twelve houses. Each ‘house’ portrays another facet of our human incarnation. Each house leads to the next as well. 1st house is personality, 2nd is material values, 3rd is how personality communicates and 4th is our lineage’s foundation as the basis for our waveform’s integrity, and so forth. How each house is experienced by the individual is reflected in how we are programmed to ‘think’ about it’s value – and is reflected in the nature of the next two houses.

For each house, there are strengthening and mitigating factors – depending on it’s rulers (every sign has one or two ‘rulers’ which may or may not be ‘comfortable’ doing whatever that house stands for- depending on where it ”normally” is posited). From aspects the planets make (whether challenging or ‘easy’) as well as relationships, whether they are first, second, third , …12th, to the other houses we ‘get’ to participate in life as it comes to us.

[6] It is fascinating to study the charts of our world leaders; many have very interesting planetary signatures – that you won’t find in any classroom- but loads of in prisons.

By Dr. Jen Wyman-Clemons, MD

Dr. Wyman-Clemons treats the body, mind, emotions as well as spiritual wellness using tools described by established teachers and authors and her own experiences as she experiences an ongoing sense of (loving) energetic intrusion (possession) since 2019. She has ~thirty years of clinical experience as an allergy and internal medicine physician (ABAI, ABIM) has completed requirements to practice as a yoga teacher, USUI Reiki Master, and astrologer.

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