”If you want to enslave people you have to remove their ability to reason and recognise contradictions.”
Education is a very individual matter. The method and content of schooling is the point of focus here as is the difference between schooling and learning. My own schooling supplied sufficient grounding for me to follow my chosen career, however not until I reached my forties and as a result of personal circumstances, did the bigger picture, not being taught at school, become apparent.
I had been ‘aboard a fast train’ to ‘material achievement’ having no time nor inclination to notice the ‘scenery’. Upon nearing the buffers of my perceived ‘success’ I felt empty, unfulfilled and very unhappy – so began my search for alternative answers.
Why had my schooling not made me aware of the bigger picture or of essential life skills explained in the Self Development section? What had I actually been taught at school, and who had decided on the curriculum? So started my research.
History of Schooling. Today’s western world schooling system has been in place for well over a century when the state made it compulsory to receive an education. Its pretext being to release children from child labour and provide tools for bettering their adult lives.
We have already seen that todays world has been in the making for hundreds of years. Over the centuries elite families, banks and subsequent corporation’s have spread their web of ever increasing power and influence. Their effect on our schooling systems has been immense, starting with the adoption of the ‘Prussian Educational System’ in the 1800′s.
New Yorker John Taylor Gatto, unlike myself, has 30 years of teaching experience. His list of achievements include:-
- Planning and bringing about the most successful permanent school fund-raiser in New York City history.
- Placing a single eighth-grade class into 30,000 hours of volunteer community service.
- Organizing and financing a student-run food cooperative. Securing over a thousand apprenticeships.
- Directing the collection of tens of thousands of books for the construction of private student libraries.
- Producing four talking job dictionaries for the blind.
- Writing two original student musicals. Launching an armada of other initiatives to reintegrate students within a larger human reality.
After being awarded best New York teacher three times as well as best NY state teacher, he quit! He was the New York State Teacher of the Year when ‘it’ happened. An accumulation of disgust and frustration which grew too heavy to be borne finally made him quit. To test his resolve he sent a short essay to The Wall Street Journal titled “I Quit, I Think.” In it he explained his reasons for deciding to wrap it up, even though he had no savings and not the slightest idea what else he might do in his mid-fifties to pay the rent. Gattos story is fascinating as are his books which give a rich history and insight to US / western world education. Here is a short documentary on Gatto made while he was still teaching.
After writing his newspaper article he received dozens of invitations to give lectures all around the world. ‘His first book ‘The Underground History of American Education’ outlines the new purpose of schooling, i.e. to serve business and government which could only be achieved efficiently by isolating children from the real world, with adults who themselves were isolated from the real world, and everyone in the confinement isolated from one another. Only then could the necessary training in boredom and bewilderment begin. Such training is necessary to produce dependable consumers and dependent citizens who would always look for a teacher to tell them what to do in later life, even if that teacher was an ad man or television anchor.’
‘His second book ‘Weapons of mass instruction‘ focuses on mechanisms of compulsory schooling which cripple imagination and discourage critical thinking. Here is a demonstration that the harm school inflicts is quite rational and deliberate. The real function of pedagogy is to render the common population manageable, remove the obligation of child care from adult workers so they are free to fuel the industrial economy and to train the next generation into subservient obedience to the state.’
I attach a recent interview with Gatto on his book ‘Weapons of mass Instruction’ which is a great introduction to his work. His voice is not the easiest to listen to but its worth it.
John Gatto clearly explains how we have arrived where we are through years of a defective schooling system. Obviously the US is not exactly the same as the rest of the western world however his observations are relevant.
I attach the link to a complete set of his videos. AGAIN PLEASE DO NOT be put off by his slow lethargic accented speech or the quality of the video, this man has a very BIG MESSAGE.
Since the 70’s, when I was at school, it would appear that the ‘indoctrination process’ has gained speed, as has just about everything else.
Some of the conclusions Gatto reaches are :-
* That at school we are indoctrinated to believe a standard vision of the world. UNFORTUNATELY it has nothing to do with the real world. A world of corporative elitist controlling our politicians, our food, our health, our finances, our privacy, and general well being.
* WE ARE NOT taught / encouraged to develop our life skills, children’s time is taken up remembering facts and figures to be later regurgitated using pen and paper memory tests. They become reliant on a teacher to set the way forward which carries forward in later life where ‘Sir’ is replaced by bad behaving celebrities, magazine editors, newscasters, ad men etc.
* Children are conditioned to fit into certain pre designed ‘holes’ where ‘misfits’ are at a disadvantage.
* They are encouraged (coaxed) to think the same, thus dumbing down self expression, free thinking and problem solving, which they carry into adult life.
What I have noted in the UK is that children and parents alike are led to believe the ‘recognised’ education system is the ‘be all and end all ‘to future ‘success’, expressed through an emphasis on constant academic achievement, entrance to the right schools and universities etc. After this academic success is achieved, we are then told that a ‘successful’ life revolves around career positioning, debt management and pension planning.
Those who are able to ‘arrive’ to the ‘promised land’ with its materialistic trapping will become the all important highest form of consumers, and although these high flyers / grafters are more likely at a later date, to ‘read between the lines’ as to the bigger picture they are unlikely to follow their consciousness for the risk of loosing all they have strived for.
In the meantime many of those who didn’t quite ‘make the grade’, are often dispirited and dumbed down through their schooling experience topped up with inane TV soaps, reality shows, glossy magazines, serving out weekly portions of celebrity highs and lows for them to dream about or relate to. These ‘schooling misfits’ are left to become members of the massive club of unemployed or ‘enslaved’ workers. Fighting to find significance in their lives, bring up a healthy family, find a (worth while) job etc., while the storm clouds gather to take their worldly possessions once debt takes it grip. Not much to look forward to !
THE GOOD NEWS
Not going to university or even dropping out of it IS NOT , as we are led to believe, the end of the world. Some of our greatest inventors and entrepreneurs did not excel at school, people such as Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Bernie Ecclestone, Philip Green never went near a university (See London Standard article). Microsofts Bill Gates, & Paul Allen were college drop outs as was Steve Jobs. The Apple founder Steve Wozniak did not finish university.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel
IF YOU ARE NOT academically orientated, or don’t fit into your schooling system, this DOES NOT mean you are any less of a person. It DOES NOT mean you can not be successful in your private, personal or public life.
The fact you are reading this IS A GREAT START!
IF THIS IS YOU go straight to ‘Self Development’ and start reading or listening to people like Tony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Jim Rohn These guys provide invaluable insights on how to make the best of your life, irrelevant of your past and current circumstances.
And if your schooling is going well …GO FOR IT. There are excellent schools where teachers make massive efforts to overcome very difficult obstacles. Understanding the bigger picture and your own self development will just further increase your chances for SUSTAINED SUCCESS AND FULFILMENT in adulthood.
There are of course hundreds and thousands of teaching professionals dedicated to doing the best for their students, inviting them to think for themselves and to find their vocations in life. In fact it is a magical profession to help the younger generations prepare for the future.
However just like professional waiters at a top restaurant , if the kitchen is passing them sub standard fare the outcome will always be substandard. Teachers are given the material to teach and the standards to reach; they too are part of a system.
A system designed to, teach the box standard versions of history, economics etc. (a history written by the victors and adapted by those currently in power), based around the students ability to regurgitate data in exam factory environments, deterring free and alternative thinking , stifling individualism, neglecting character building and communication skills, whilst being void of any understanding as to the real mechanics of today’s world.
If you relate to this content and feel you deserve better than your current ‘lot’, recognise it and re educate yourself. Compared with earlier generations we are extremely fortunate, we have at our fingertips more information in a day than our grandfathers had in a lifetime…
…so there it is there is NO valid EXCUSE not to change your life if you think schooling has failed you!!
I finish with a fantastic resume animate which was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award.
It provide an articulateexplanation as to how our education system does not better our human experience but works perfectly for an agenda of globalisation and centralised global power.