5 Insane Private Schools You Won't Believe Actually Exist

#2. Burgess Hill School

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"Progressive" schools -- the kind that think it's a good idea to let students do whatever the hell they want to in order to "find themselves" -- are not a new phenomenon. Way back in the early 1960s there was a private boarding school in the U.K. where smoking in class (if you bothered to show up), popping wheelies on the quad lawn with your dirt bike, and dressing like third-rate Kenickies and strung out Leather Tuscaderos were all considered acceptable student behavior.

Founded by Cambridge graduate James East, who believed that "every child should first find himself, education can come later," the Burgess Hill boarding school in Hampstead, London, took permissiveness to heretofore unexplored realms of apathy. The theory was that since forbidding a child from doing something will inevitably invite revolt, that child should therefore be allowed to bring the ruckus.

After having what he considered to be an unhappy childhood himself, East was determined to "make the development of today's pupils less of an ordeal." What this meant was that the kids were allowed to curse freely, disregard proper hygiene, and study only when they felt like it. In a promotional video about the so-called "beat school," they discuss how even table manners are considered antiquated and unnecessary, while students shove wads of meat into their mouths and sloppily share their meals with a dog.

But all this sounds positively normal when you consider that pupils were encouraged to smoke, as illustrated by the boy of about 11 puffing contentedly on a cigarette in between blasts on a harmonica. We understand that this was the '60s and the dangers of cigarettes weren't as widely known back then, but the sheer tobacco consumption at this place makes one wonder if the entire operation wasn't secretly funded by Brown & Williamson. The headmaster acknowledged the situation by stating, "Kids always smoke, and I'd rather know about it than have it done in secret."

Via YouTube
No, seriously, they really, really want kids to smoke there.

Regrettably, our research department was unable to come up with any "Where Are They Now?" investigative studies, but we'd be curious to find out where Russell Brand went to school.

#1. Waldorf Schools

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If, like many parents, you're concerned that mainstream education is a cold and unfeeling machine that treats your child like a number, then you might be tempted to send the precious little one to a Waldorf school, where each child is treated as an individual. In the weirdest possible way.

Waldorf education is the largest-growing alternative education movement in the world today, and although some schools will admit it more readily than others, their system is based on a spiritual movement called anthroposophy, which revolves around things like karma, astrology, clairvoyance, reincarnation, and "advancing children's connection to the spirit world."

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"No, Jimmy, wrong spirit door! Run toward the light!"

According to Waldorf advocates, individual children should be labeled with different "temperaments" based on their physical characteristics. These characteristics can include the general build, the size of the head, and the, well, color of the skin. After the children are assigned as "phlegmatic," "sanguine," "choleric," or "melancholic," they are then to be treated differently according to that classification.

If this doesn't already sound like something dreamed up by your racist grandpa, Waldorf schools also adhere to a low-tech, anti-technology mantra. That doesn't just mean they've banned iPads -- anything requiring batteries is taboo, and the toys available are things like pinecones and faceless dolls, and anything else that would make an Amish elder grunt in approval. Ironically, some of the biggest fans of this style of education include many in the Silicon Valley crowd, who balk at the idea that a tablet can teach their kids to read. Not that Waldorf schools will teach them to read -- they commonly delay reading to the point where children cannot do so proficiently until age 9 or 10.

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"Sure, Dad, I'd love to hear you read me a story. Thanks for rubbing it in, asshole."

The philosophy behind Waldorf education was dreamed up at the turn of the 20th century by Rudolph Steiner of Austria, a crackpot who we have already mentioned due to his daffy agricultural theories that included filling cow horns with manure and burying them to please the Earth spirits. If classifying children into categories based on skin color makes you uncomfortable, it's probably because the idea came from a guy who believed that the highest state of being could only be found in the form of a Germanic or Nordic white European.

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As demonstrated by this ridiculous stereotype.

Apparently, the Waldorf system has had some successes, from claims of higher SAT scores to a decent track record for working with troubled youths. And that's fine if you don't mind your kids learning that science is wrong about most things and that you have 12 senses based on the signs of the zodiac.

E. Reid Ross does some other stuff over at RealToyGun.com.

For more stupid things you can do with your millions and millions of dollars, check out 7 Great Products for Telling the World You're a Rich Dick and 6 Pet Products That Prove Rich People Have Gone Insane.

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