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Educational System designed to keep us docile......
 

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Educational System designed to keep us docile......


The Educational System Was Designed to Keep Us Uneducated and Docile
BY: Sardar - sardar@spiritone.com


Date Published: 2006-07-30

It's no secret that the US educational system doesn't do a very good
job. Like clockwork, studies show that America's schoolkids lag behind their
peers in pretty much every industrialized nation. We hear shocking
statistics about the percentage of high-school seniors who can't find the US
on an unmarked map of the world or who don't know who Abraham Lincoln was.
Fingers are pointed at various aspects of the schooling
system-overcrowded classrooms, lack of funding, teachers who can't pass
competency exams in their fields, etc. But these are just secondary
problems. Even if they were cleared up, schools would still suck. Why?
Because they were designed to.

How can I make such a bold statement? How do I know why America's
public school system was designed the way it was (age-segregated, six to
eight 50-minute classes in a row announced by Pavlovian bells, emphasis on
rote memorization, lorded over by unquestionable authority figures, etc.)?
Because the men who designed, funded, and implemented America's formal
educational system in the late 1800s and early 1900s wrote about what they
were doing.

Almost all of these books, articles, and reports are out of print and
hard to obtain. Luckily for us, John Taylor Gatto tracked them down. Gatto
was voted the New York City Teacher of the Year three times and the New York
State Teacher of the Year in 1991. But he became disillusioned with
schools-the way they enforce conformity, the way they kill the natural
creativity, inquisitiveness, and love of learning that every little child
has at the beginning. So he began to dig into terra incognita, the roots of
America's educational system.

In 1888, the Senate Committee on Education was getting jittery about
the localized, non-standardized, non-mandatory form of education that was
actually teaching children to read at advanced levels, to comprehend
history, and, egads, to think for themselves. The committee's report stated,
"We believe that education is one of the principal causes of discontent of
late years manifesting itself among the laboring classes."

By the turn of the century, America's new educrats were pushing a new
form of schooling with a new mission (and it wasn't to teach). The famous
philosopher and educator John Dewey wrote in 1897:

Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for
the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right
social growth.

In his 1905 dissertation for Columbia Teachers College, Elwood
Cubberly-the future Dean of Education at Stanford-wrote that schools should
be factories "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed
into finished products...manufactured like nails, and the specifications for
manufacturing will come from government and industry."

The next year, the Rockefeller Education Board-which funded the
creation of numerous public schools-issued a statement which read in part:

In our dreams...people yield themselves with perfect docility to our
molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and
character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we
work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try
to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of
learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors,
educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great
artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians,
statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is
very simple...we will organize children...and teach them to do in a perfect
way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

At the same time, William Torrey Harris, US Commissioner of Education
from 1889 to 1906, wrote:

Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to
walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is
not an accident but the result of substantial education, which,
scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.

In that same book, The Philosophy of Education, Harris also revealed:

The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless,
ugly places.... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty
of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external
world.

Several years later, President Woodrow Wilson would echo these
sentiments in a speech to businessmen:

We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another
class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forego the privilege of a
liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual
tasks.

Writes Gatto: "Another major architect of standardized testing, H.H.
Goddard, said in his book Human Efficiency (1920) that government schooling
was about 'the perfect organization of the hive.'"

While President of Harvard from 1933 to 1953, James Bryant Conant
wrote that the change to a forced, rigid, potential-destroying educational
system had been demanded by "certain industrialists and the innovative who
were altering the nature of the industrial process."

In other words, the captains of industry and government explicitly
wanted an educational system that would maintain social order by teaching us
just enough to get by but not enough so that we could think for ourselves,
question the sociopolitical order, or communicate articulately. We were to
become good worker-drones, with a razor-thin slice of the population-mainly
the children of the captains of industry and government-to rise to the level
where they could continue running things.

This was the openly admitted blueprint for the public schooling
system, a blueprint which remains unchanged to this day. Although the true
reasons behind it aren't often publicly expressed, they're apparently still
known within education circles. Clinical psychologist Bruce E. Levine wrote
in 2001:

I once consulted with a teacher of an extremely bright
eight-year-old boy labeled with oppositional defiant disorder. I suggested
that perhaps the boy didn't have a disease, but was just bored. His teacher,
a pleasant woman, agreed with me. However, she added, "They told us at the
state conference that our job is to get them ready for the work world.that
the children have to get used to not being stimulated all the time or they
will lose their jobs in the real world."


John Taylor Gatto's book, The Underground History of American
Education: An Intimate Investigation into the Problem of Modern Schooling
(New York: Oxford Village Press, 2001), is the source for all of the above
historical quotes. It is a profoundly important, unnerving book, which I
recommend most highly. You can order it from Gatto's Website, which now
contains the entire book online for free.

The final quote above is from page 74 of Bruce E. Levine's excellent
book Commonsense Rebellion: Debunking Psychiatry, Confronting Society (New
York: Continuum Publishing Group, 2001).

 

 
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