While many people today may simply dismiss what Banfield said, it is impossible for me to dismiss it. As a personal note, I happen to have dropped out of high school at age 16, and took a full-time job as a messenger delivering telegrams for the Western Union telegraph company. But the law required me to also spend some time in what was called a “continuation school.”
It was a time-wasting farce. I informed the teacher that the law could force me to be there, but it could not force me to participate, and I had no intention of participating. I was indeed angry “at the stupidity and hypocrisy of a system” that used me like this. Fortunately, Western Union had its own continuation school for its messengers, and I transferred there, where I learned to type, a skill that would be of some value to me in later years—instead of being used to justify some teacher’s job in a public school.