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> Shadow Schools, or: Keeping the Kids off the Damned Street!
Speed Wraith
post Apr 29 2008, 04:42 PM
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So my group has a teenaged character in it. A character that the other characters more or less dote on (except the recently burned ex-special forces guy, but he’s just generally detached), and they don’t like her being out of school. Of course, they’re also not putting her in any typical school as she’s a technomancer and socially inept from too much time in a MCT laboratory. She’s clearly a special needs child. So one of the players suggested looking into some sort of “Shadow School? for the kid; reasoning that such things must exist in some way. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this (I wish I could find my copy of Neo-Anarchist’s Guide to Real Life because that would be the only book that might cover this topic that I can think of) and have decided to put my thoughts up here for review and ideas and critique. So here you go: Education For Those Outside Mainstream Society. Have at it (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

The Low End
On the low end of the schooling spectrum are schools that are little than more cheap daycare consisting of one or two adult metahumans taking care of a dozen or more children of various ages. In general these places are a dumping ground for low or squatter lifestyle children while their parents slave at McHugh’s or sling drugs on a street corner. Little to no education occurs in a location like this, and the proprietors probably make more money off of government assistance than their clients.

Benefits: Cheap, dirt cheap. Records are rarely kept or verified.
Drawbacks: Little supervision over the children in the daycare’s custody. Prone to abusive employees or open to heavy neglect.

How the Other Half Lives
Those with money receive the best of everything, including education. Those who can afford them will often use large private schools to socialize and educate their children, as well as keeping them out of their parent’s hair. Schools of this quality range in cost, and the more expensive the school the better the classes, facilities, and instructors. In addition, a lot of these schools have specialty programs for all sorts of tastes and cultural backgrounds.

Benefits: High quality education. Secure facility and large staff.
Drawbacks: Heavy record keeping and a lot of background checks. Bribes in the form of donations can often get faculty at these schools to look the other way or let paperwork slide, but this increases the cost of the schooling to the next highest level of life style.

Shadow Schools
Some denizens of the shadows may not be able to afford the bribes to get a child into a high-end school, and working as a shadow runner can be dangerous not just for one’s self, but also for their family. That is why most major sprawls contain at least one Shadow School. Shadow Schools are hard to fully quantify as each one is unique. Almost all of them are used by their clients to keep their kids safe while working the shadows, and to discourage the children from becoming involved (or more deeply involved) with criminal activities. The education provided by these schools almost always includes basic skills such as reading, writing, mathmatics and basic computer/matrix skills. Some of them also count more advanced studies as part of their curriculum, while others teach street survival skills to the children under their care. Generally, these schools are housed in the barrens, using abandoned buildings such as warehouses, apartment low-risers and stores. Despite their locations and campuses, these schools are fairly secure. Often, local gangs or organized criminal syndicates receive free or discounted ‘tuition’ for allowing these places to operate on their turf or for protecting them outright. In addition, an unspoken truce remains in effect for the schools with the local criminal and shadow running community. This truce even extends to most corporations and local government. It simply doesn’t pay to mess with a child in these schools as the parents would come after the offender en masse.

Benefits: No paperwork/bureaucracy. Affordable with far better quality than the low-end daycares. High Security.
Drawbacks: Lack of consistency in educational standards (i.e., you might not want your children gaining criminal skills but the school may teach them as a matter of course).
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sunnyside
post Apr 29 2008, 05:07 PM
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Back in Virtual Realities they had some kind of "teachbot" agent that would teach and drop in a bunch of pro corp drek.

hat would probably appeal to the TM. But then you miss the awkward social interactions.

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Speed Wraith
post Apr 29 2008, 05:10 PM
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Yeah, I remembered that and used it in the Lone Star daycare when the characters were undercover. Of course, that software is also loaded with adverts for the new breakfast cereal Super-Nova-Sugar-Choco-Bombs (which you’ve just decided all on your very own, that you must have NOW!)
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CanRay
post Apr 29 2008, 05:15 PM
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I like the idea of Shadow Schools!

"Today, class, we're going to learn how to intimidate some dumb drekhead into paying what is owed."

"You're including KIDS in this?"

"They got to learn sometimes. Now, if you move his arm like this, it's very painful to the shoulder and elbow, but won't cause any major bruising..."

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"

"What about kicking him in the shins?"

"Very good question, Mandy..."

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"

"Shut up. You should have paid up, now you pay this way. Kicking in the shins is only a temporary hurt, whereas this will linger for days. In fact, if you do it wrong, or right, it can come back as a dull ache whenever it rains..."
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Leofski
post Apr 29 2008, 05:28 PM
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We have our own little technomancer girl with her own box of social interaction issues (some of which involve incoming fire and bullets), but the nice guys in our party are not really the type to look after small children so we fobbed her off on our fixer's girlfriend. J.D, my technomancer face, takes some part in her education, but since he doesn't know a great deal that isn't related to technomancy or crime, he tends to stick to the technomancy.

I can't see the idea of shadow schools per se. It just doesn't make sense to me since low end state schools are going to be approaching that level anyway. In terms of actual criminal education, it's back to the traditional methods; self-taught skills, a mentor for skilled and knowledge intensive crime jobs like forgery, in-gang group training and making it up as you go along. Note that these are distinct from the application of a "civilian" education to criminal work.
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Speed Wraith
post Apr 29 2008, 05:39 PM
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Well, the best reasons to send your kids to a school like this are less educational and more security/privacy related. I'm certain that public education doesn't exactly exist anymore; at best they're sponsored to death by some corporate entity, and therefore practically propaganda camps and at their worst they're wholly owned by the companies they've been outsourced to. A good lawyer might be able to claim extraterritorality on school grounds by the company owning the school and be able to use the kids as guinea pigs for whatever they want. Also, thanks to DNA, it wouldn't be hard to track down parents and relatives of the school children, compare them to persons that the corporation has an open file on and blam-o, now you have a kid being spoon-fed corporate claptrap while being fed some new drug and pending hostage status. The folks on the streets are paranoid, many have been burned by powerful organizations, they need a place that they can feel their children are safe.
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DocTaotsu
post Apr 29 2008, 05:39 PM
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I really would like to work a The Diamond Age style Book 'O Uber Learning into my game. The idea of an advanced tailored learning system makes my transhumanist gland tingle.
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Blade
post Apr 29 2008, 06:16 PM
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You can add some "Class of 1999" schools! Complete with killer cyborg teachers!
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Tarantula
post Apr 29 2008, 06:24 PM
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QUOTE (Speed Wraith @ Apr 29 2008, 09:42 AM) *
(i.e., you might not want your children gaining criminal skills but the school may teach them as a matter of course).


The pun kills me. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/rotfl.gif)
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stevebugge
post Apr 29 2008, 06:30 PM
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Another source of free or low cost education would be the various policlubs and organizations. Before being exposed for being a bunch of Bugs the Universl Brotherhood did a good recruiting business by running schools and clinics. It stands to reason that Human kinds with the right traits could get a free indoct er education from the local chapter of Humanis or the local Orcs from O.R.C. Anyone with an agenda knows the value of recruiting kids at an impressionable age to be their foot soldiers.
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last_of_the_grea...
post Apr 29 2008, 06:37 PM
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Don't overlook the oft forgotten local church. They often have daycares, though they have an altogether different propaganda than the corps. Still, as churches want to appear benign, they might take in little Sociopath Jr. for free.
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Speed Wraith
post Apr 29 2008, 06:38 PM
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Yeah, excellent point. I need to expand my article to focus on public education and poli-education (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) Though for now I need to focus on the stuff my players need more (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) As for the churches...I'm thinking a lot of Shadow Schools would probably be affiliated with them, maybe even start from a simple congregational Sunday school base. Other churches would fall into the poli-club section as they'd be indoctrinating the students on dogma, etc.

Anyone have any thoughts on pricing these things out? I was working on pricing them based on lifestyle ratings, but hadn't come up with specific numbers yet...
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stevebugge
post Apr 29 2008, 06:44 PM
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Costs aren't always money. Your local Catholic School may provide education for free in exchange for donated manual labor or help in the community. A policlub may expect that it's students will help with things like spreading their message or showing up to events to make the crowds look big. Some organizations may just want your body to host an insect spirit.
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weblife
post Apr 29 2008, 06:51 PM
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VR Schools is probably common. Shut off the kid using the override and hand him over to the cyber-nanny for a few hours pr. day. Healthy and safe. Now wheres my beer, there's a game on the trid.
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nezumi
post Apr 29 2008, 06:56 PM
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Broadly, we have two categories, SINless and SINned...

SINless has a range, based on available resources (both financial and other). The most common is probably, well, none. Imagine Oliver Twist and you're on the right track. Half a step above is whatever the local gang will give you. 'If Bobby has 10 yer BTL chips, and burns out 8 bein' a chiphead, how many caps yo put in 'is ass'? Half a step beyond that you'll have volunteer organizations; churches, community groups, home-schoolers and honest teachers who, for whatever reason, are working here. Finally, as has been mentioned, there are some sort of tutorbots which will work, presumably with either a trodenet or datajack. I have to assume these are quite valued, however. But ultimately it'll come down to community 'teacher' or home-schooling.

Of course, if you have a SIN, of course, both of these ideas are looked down upon. I'm sure there is quite a publicity campaign as to why home-schooling is dangerous and non-regulated community teaching is ineffective (really not too different from what we're seeing now). Most SINned kids will go to public/corporate schools, however the very rich will have access to special, sheltered, charter schools, self-contained communities built from the ground up to support learning in a creative, supportive environment. This will be augmented by at-home lessons from dedicated tutors. In other words, only the very rich and the very poor get home-schooling and community-based teaching, everyone else is stuck with the 'one size fits all' corporate/government-run public school.
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Leofski
post Apr 29 2008, 06:56 PM
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QUOTE (stevebugge @ Apr 29 2008, 07:30 PM) *
Another source of free or low cost education would be the various policlubs and organizations. Before being exposed for being a bunch of Bugs the Universl Brotherhood did a good recruiting business by running schools and clinics. It stands to reason that Human kinds with the right traits could get a free indoct er education from the local chapter of Humanis or the local Orcs from O.R.C. Anyone with an agenda knows the value of recruiting kids at an impressionable age to be their foot soldiers.


Hey! Teachers! Leave those kids alone!

Its worth noting that there are large numbers of organisations that benefit from providing subsidised education to the masses. Governments and policlubs have obvious incentives to supply education, but corps have reason to provide education below or at cost outside of their own domains for the same reason. If a corp is providing cheap, good education in the area, there's little PR that comes close to being as good, they can headhunt the most promising students.

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Nightwalker450
post Apr 29 2008, 06:58 PM
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VR School, or put forth funds (bribes) to get them into a private school. As a runner these would probably be my options. I think private school would be better because it provides a nice cover, and if your student befriends some upper society people they'll help cover up any misdeeds so it doesn't scar Little Susie's perfect record.

I just think it'd be great to be a teenage shadowrunner, and going to a private school during the day. I want to do this for a character concept.

Unfortunatly my Technomancer is 19 (and missed out on the last few years of his corporate sponcered education), but why does it seem Technomancers are always the ones in school? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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Leofski
post Apr 29 2008, 07:07 PM
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QUOTE (Nightwalker450 @ Apr 29 2008, 07:58 PM) *
VR School, or put forth funds (bribes) to get them into a private school. As a runner these would probably be my options. I think private school would be better because it provides a nice cover, and if your student befriends some upper society people they'll help cover up any misdeeds so it doesn't scar Little Susie's perfect record.

I just think it'd be great to be a teenage shadowrunner, and going to a private school during the day. I want to do this for a character concept.

Unfortunatly my Technomancer is 19 (and missed out on the last few years of his corporate sponcered education), but why does it seem Technomancers are always the ones in school? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)


Because on average they have the best mental stats of any character concept (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif) . And the link with Otaku means people tend to view them as younger than other archetypes.

That said, my TM left school before he was in his teens, the rest is self-taught.
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Ed_209a
post Apr 29 2008, 07:42 PM
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QUOTE (Speed Wraith @ Apr 29 2008, 11:42 AM) *
Shadow Schools
Some denizens of the shadows may not be able to afford the bribes to get a child into a high-end school, and working as a shadow runner can be dangerous not just for one’s self, but also for their family. ... It simply doesn’t pay to mess with a child in these schools as the parents would come after the offender en masse.

The only school in Seattle with a PTA that has it's own fixer. (probably also a parent.)
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CanRay
post Apr 29 2008, 07:47 PM
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QUOTE (Ed_209a @ Apr 29 2008, 02:42 PM) *
The only school in Seattle with a PTA that has it's own fixer. (probably also a parent.)

"Folks, we're supposed to be responcible now, so, Joey, put the Deepweed down."

"Awwwwwwwwwwww, you're harshin' my buzz!"

"Now, onto today's topic: Autoshop Classes. Mr. "Crusher" Malone?"

"OK, while I'm happy that all the kids are overly eager to start in my class, honestly, our chop shop can't move that many stolen cars at once, so I'm going to have to space out the course curriculum with hotwiring, registration switching, and hacking the DMV with the help of our volunteer, Miss DataWyrm. I know, I know, this seems harsh, but we can't have all the kids boosting cars at once. And Damien, I'm sorry, your kid still failed last year, he did a CarJACKING, which is under our course on Intimidation, no Autoshop."
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Speed Wraith
post Apr 29 2008, 07:51 PM
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You guys just gave me an interesting idea for payment on those schools...Parents should be involved (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

Also, I'm waiting for CanRay to do the dialogue from the class field-trip... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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SprainOgre
post Apr 29 2008, 08:46 PM
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I really wouldn't forget about public school. I think the school from Akira when I think this. Also, you might see the return of the "one room school house." A few teachers, more idealistic then most (or ones that got bucked by the system), decided to start their own school, just a bit off the map. Set up in a few rooms in an abandoned building, or the lobby of an apartment building, trying to give everyone a good, reliable, well rounded education, not saturated by corporate propaganda.

However, with the bulk of Shadowrunning happening at night, I the oddball/random skills the lots of runners have, I can see a "community education project" springing up here and there. Something I've lifted from Cybergen. Outside of the corp zones, building and neighborhoods pitch in to raise the kids as a community. Results very, but usually there's some form of adult, with AR assistance, supervision about. Generation Gap (for Cybergen) had some decent info on corp school and the youth in them.
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Wesley Street
post Apr 29 2008, 08:48 PM
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Wouldn't some version of community homeschooling make sense for the SINless? I'd imagine that Barrens communities would use tribal or Wild West-style methods of oral, print or cheap electronic teaching methods for their children. No formal, education board-approved structure... just teach what needs to be known through repetition or apprenticeship.
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Speed Wraith
post Apr 29 2008, 08:52 PM
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QUOTE (SprainOgre @ Apr 29 2008, 04:46 PM) *
I really wouldn't forget about public school. I think the school from Akira when I think this.


Any chance you could explain about that? I'm still putting notes together, so any insight would be helpful. I tried to watch Akira once a long time ago and found it tedious and boring...I know that fans are rabid about how great it is, but I just didn't get it...it was pretty, I remember that much. To each their own (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Wesley Street
post Apr 29 2008, 09:05 PM
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QUOTE (Speed Wraith @ Apr 29 2008, 04:52 PM) *
Any chance you could explain about that? I'm still putting notes together, so any insight would be helpful. I tried to watch Akira once a long time ago and found it tedious and boring...I know that fans are rabid about how great it is, but I just didn't get it...it was pretty, I remember that much. To each their own (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)


If I remember and interpret correctly, Kaneda, the protagonist, and his buddies were enrolled in a government sponsored technical college. It was more like a prison as the facilities were poor, the discipline was physically harsh (typically Japanese) and few of the students cared about what they were learning. They were there because they had committed some sort of petty crime and the government sought to "redeem" them by teaching them skills that would make them useful in the labor market.
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