Friday, January 6, 2012

If school hurts, why do it?

John Taylor Gatto exposes the fraud and nonsense that is public education. In this essay he details the inefficacy of 12,000 hours of "instruction" and (if you read the link) reminds us about what really matters in life:
A lot of things don't matter that are supposed to; one of them is well-funded government schools. Saying that may be considered irresponsible by people who don't know the difference between schooling and education, but over 100 academic studies have tried to show any compelling connection between money and learning and not one has succeeded. Right from the beginning schoolmen told us that money would buy results and we all believed it. So, between 1960 and 1992 the U.S. tripled the number of constant dollars given to schools. Yet after 12,000 hours of government schooling one out of five Americans can't read the directions on a medicine bottle. 
After 12,000 hours of compulsory training at the hands of nearly 100 government-certified men and women, many high school graduates have no skills to trade for an income or even any skills with which to talk to each other. They can't change a flat, read a book, repair a faucet, install a light, follow directions for the use of a word processor, build a wall, make change reliably, be alone with themselves or keep their marriages together. 
It's worse than that. Gatto explains how this system is a "failure" by design. It's true function is not to educate, but to overthrow the capitalist system:
Our economy is basically centralized in 200 corporations who are totally dependent on government privilege. These corporations require the government to stamp out any competition that emerges, and they require the government to pick them up when they stumble and fall, and bail them out with public funds. 
There's no competition. There hasn't been since the end of the second World War. And as I implied earlier, the plan to destroy capitalism was announced by Carnegie and company back in the 1890s. They said that only stupid people and fools competed. That competition was a huge waste of energy and profit, and that there was room for anyone who wanted to play ball. They said that the democratic populace of the country was getting in the way, so the populace was going to have to be put out of commission. These statements were made quite openly. But no one paid any attention. 
Then these ideas were written into legislation.
This essay was published 8 years ago! If anything, things have only gotten worse (except for the rise of the homeschooling movement).

Don't get started reading Gatto! If you do, you'll be led from one essay to another until you understand why our government schools don't educate. Here's what he said 22 years ago (read the link, if you dare):
I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my twenty-five years of teaching - that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. 
This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very hard, the institution is psychopathic - it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to different cell where he must memorize that man and monkeys derive from a common ancestor. 
Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the state of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted - sometimes with guns - by an estimated eighty per cent of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880's when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard. 
Now here is a curious idea to ponder. Senator Ted Kennedy's office released a paper not too long ago claiming that prior to compulsory education the state literacy rate was 98% and after it the figure never again reached above 91% where it stands in 1990. I hope that interests you.
He concludes:
Experts in education have never been right, their "solutions" are expensive, self-serving, and always involve further centralization. Enough. Time for a return to democracy, individuality, and family.