John Taylor Gatto
What does the school do with the children? Gatto states the following assertions in "Dumbing Us Down":
1. It makes the children confused. It presents an incoherent ensemble of information that the child needs to memorize to stay in school. Apart from the tests and trials that programming is similar to the television, it fills almost all the "free" time of children. One sees and hears something, only to forget it again.
2. It teaches them to accept their class affiliation.
3. It makes them indifferent.
4. It makes them emotionally dependent.
5. It makes them intellectually dependent.
6. It teaches them a kind of self-confidence that requires constant confirmation by experts (provisional self-esteem).
7. It makes it clear to them that they cannot hide, because they are always supervised.
Everything we thing about schooling is wrong: J T Gatto
Part of your thesis is that the true purpose of compulsory government schooling is conditioning, conformity, rows of chairs, routine, bells. Jerry Mander, author of the Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, uses the phrase ‘form is content.’ The form of public schooling is its content.
… habit training and attitude training is imposed by the structure. Alexander Inglis, around the First WorldWar, wrote a book, it’s very, very hard to get, called “Principles of Secondary Education”.
The first is to make people predictable so that the economy can be rationalized. You can do that if people are predictable. Yet, history has demonstrated over and over and over again that we’re not. So the very first purpose or goal of institutional schoolings is to make people predictable.
Darwin was a big influence, but it’s not the Darwin that is sold in school text books. It’s not the fellow curious about nature. It’s a fellow absolutely certain that animal trainers and plant breeders had discovered the operational truth of human life. Darwin’s “Descent of Man”… was immediately adopted by the managerial classes of the planet. You had to find ways to lock up the evolutionarily retarded, to waste their time and set them against one another.
John Calvin says clearly that the damned are many times larger in number than the saved. The ratio is about twenty to one. There are too many damned to overwhelm with force. So you have to cloud their minds and set them into meaningless competitions with one another in ways that will eat up that energy.
Spinoza …1670… had a huge influence on the leadership classes of Europe, the United States and Asia… “Tractate Religico Politicu”…it was nonsense to think people were damned or evil because there was no supernatural world. He also said there’s an enormous disproportion between permanently irrational people who are absolutely dangerous and the people who have good sense. The ratio is about twenty to one. Spinoza actually says that an institutional school system should be set up as a ‘civil religion’… everyone read Spinoza, all over the planet.
He said we need a ‘civil religion’… to eliminate official religion, which he says is completely irrational and dangerous. And two, to bind up the energies of these irrational twenty to one and to destroy their imagination.
Johann Fichte in Northern Germany in 1807, 1808, 1809, where the very first successful institutional schooling in the history of the planet, was established… in his famous Addresses to the German Nation, that the reason Prussia suffered a catastrophic defeat against Napoleon at Jena was because order was turned on its head by ordinary solders taking decisions into their hands.
University of Leipzig in the 1870's… the Father of Behavioral Psychology, Scientific Psychology, Bill Helmvoight… every college presidency of any significance in the United States, with the single exception of Cornell, is awarded a Prussian PhD. Every department head had a Prussian PhD
The subject is schooling and all the unexamined assumptions schooling imply, such as - to be removed from your family, your neighborhood, your traditions, your church, whatever other source you have and be placed in the hands of total strangers who you come to see are, all from bottom to the top, flunkies. They’re all interchangeable. None has any original ideas. This qualifies them as guards, to see that the training is imposed as it was designed.
Television and school – they do exactly the same thing in slightly different ways - even the wonderful stuff… – both being abstractions retard the capacity for that critical examination.
“Wealth of Nations.” You’ll see that in the first 15 pages he says that peasant children are quite as capable of sitting at the policy table and making high level decisions as the Duke’s children.
… the mind’s capacity to create and invent. Television undermines this capacity. The collapse of descriptive language undermines this. If you don’t use it you lose it Real education is not knowledge based. Real education is the unfolding of this capacity.
Back in the sixties an anthropologist, Carlos Castaneda, published a series of best sellers, supposedly about his apprenticeship with the Yaqui Indian shaman, Don Juan in Northern Mexico. The shaman said the key to everything is to always see death sitting on your left shoulder, this hawk or this raven watching you.
:Everything We Think About Schooling Is Wrong! An interview with John Taylor Gatto | Touch The Future:
Against School: John Taylor Gatto
H. L. Mencken, who wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not ‘to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. ... Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim ... is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States... and that is its aim everywhere else.’
Orestes Brownson, the hero of Christopher Lasch's 1991 book, The True and Only Heaven, was publicly denouncing the Prussianization of American schools back in the 1840s. Horace Mann's "Seventh Annual Report" to the Massachusetts State Board of Education in 1843 is essentially a paean to the land of Frederick the Great and a call for its schooling to be brought here.
James Bryant Conant - president of Harvard for twenty years: 1959 book-length essay, The Child the Parent and the State… that the modem schools we attend were the result of a "revolution" engineered 1905-30.
Alexander Inglis's 1918 book, Principles of Secondary Education, in which "one saw this revolution through the eyes of a revolutionary."
1) The adjustive or adaptive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority.
2) The integrating function. This might well be called "the conformity function," because its intention is to make children as alike as possible.
3) The diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student's proper social role.
4) The differentiating function. Once their social role has been "diagnosed," children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits - and not one step further.
5) The selective function. This refers not to human choice at all but to Darwin's theory of natural selection as applied to what he called "the favored races."
6) The propaedeutic function. The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers.
Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University, said the following to the New York City School Teachers Association in 1909: "We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."
In the 1934 edition of his once well-known book Public Education in the United States, Ellwood P. Cubberley detailed and praised the way the strategy of successive school enlargements had extended childhood by two to six years, and forced schooling was at that point still quite new. This same Cubberley - who was dean of Stanford's School of Education and Conant's friend at Harvard - had written the following in the 1922 edition of his book Public School Administration: "Our schools are ...factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned .... And it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down."