John Taylor Gatto – The Purpose Of Schooling

What does the school do with the children? Gatto states the following assertions in “Dumbing Us Down”:
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.
It teaches them to accept their class affiliation.
It makes them indifferent.
It makes them emotionally dependent.
It makes them intellectually dependent.
It teaches them a kind of self-confidence that requires constant confirmation by experts (provisional self-esteem).
It makes it clear to them that they cannot hide, because they are always supervised

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  • Kevin Leonard

    They have done their job well.

  • Kevin Leonard

    They have done their job well.

    • David Howe

      Indeed. Most people seem to have absorbed nothing. School is a waiting room. I remember it was a real struggle to have my desire to actually learn something respected, much less executed. Witness the alarmingly large number of high school graduates who reject evolutionary biology and don’t understand the Constitution. Many also don’t seem to understand that we do not live in a theocracy. Culture-wide, smart people are regularly derided while good-looking idiots are worshipped.

    • David Howe

      Indeed. Most people seem to have absorbed nothing. School is a waiting room. I remember it was a real struggle to have my desire to actually learn something respected, much less executed. Witness the alarmingly large number of high school graduates who reject evolutionary biology and don’t understand the Constitution. Many also don’t seem to understand that we do not live in a theocracy. Culture-wide, smart people are regularly derided while good-looking idiots are worshipped.

      • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

        Nailed it. Let’s turn the tide back. I henceforth declare willful ignorance and cowardly acquiescence no longer be held as reverential, no matter how shiny or seductive the packaging. I’m interested in your ideas, means and methods, counterspells, rituals and enaction off and online. By Any Memes Necessary.

        TheJoyCamp.com
        TragedyandHope.com
        TheCorbettReport.com
        ae911truth.org
        TriviumEducation.com
        GnosticMedia.com

        • SoruhFrake

          The Alternate Reality Newspaper, Newspaper
          with fictive news that we wish in our deepest hearts to awaken to. News
          that empowers and speaks of how things could be today in a parallel
          universe. Show people their strength and spread messages that remove
          fear.

          Here is a personal idea of mine:
          http://catharsiopa.com/?p=2035

        • SoruhFrake

          The Alternate Reality Newspaper, Newspaper
          with fictive news that we wish in our deepest hearts to awaken to. News
          that empowers and speaks of how things could be today in a parallel
          universe. Show people their strength and spread messages that remove
          fear.

          Here is a personal idea of mine:
          http://catharsiopa.com/?p=2035

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            Love the concept! Please find me on facebook.

          • SoruhFrake

            Glad to hear it :D I sent you an add today!

          • SoruhFrake

            Glad to hear it :D I sent you an add today!

  • seanooski

    I’m interested in what Mr. Gatto has to say here, but not with that fucking music playing. Anytime I hear that shit I know that someone intends to manipulate me with my own emotions. No thanks.

  • seanooski

    I’m interested in what Mr. Gatto has to say here, but not with that fucking music playing. Anytime I hear that shit I know that someone intends to manipulate me with my own emotions. No thanks.

    • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

      The “Mozart” effect is like any power, idiosyncratically employed and perceived.

    • Ittabena

      I don’t mind it. But I went to private school, so I am not quite normal. We had field trips to see this shit. I was an altar boy too, we all were. That’s how I learned to like dry wine. The sacramental wine was kept next to the vestments you had to put on, always wondered why…

    • Ittabena

      I don’t mind it. But I went to private school, so I am not quite normal. We had field trips to see this shit. I was an altar boy too, we all were. That’s how I learned to like dry wine. The sacramental wine was kept next to the vestments you had to put on, always wondered why…

      • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

        Mind Control I tell you Mind ConTrolllLlllLLlLlLLLLLLLLL!!!!!

      • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

        Mind Control I tell you Mind ConTrolllLlllLLlLlLLLLLLLLL!!!!!

        • Ittabena

          Well, of course, but have you ever tried to kneel through a Mass in those hot vestments. The wine was welcome mind control at that moment. Huxley in action – if we can make them enjoy their imprisonment through chemical means…

          Oh, wait. You meant the music? Never mind… I am confused now, I need a glass of Fluoridated water… That will fix me up!

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            Interesting thoughts. Thank you for sharing. I imagine many shamanic and religious rituals, state proceedings or any other forms of magic show utilize multiple simultaneous means to engender enchantment.

    • seanooski

      The thing is, they are just laying it on too thick. The words ring true and are quite powerful in themselves. Really, there is no need for the scary, depressing music. Just give me the story and I’ll feel about it what I feel about it.

      • Kevin Leonard

        you are shooting the messenger,

        throwing the baby out with the bathwater,
        cutting of your nose to spite your face, etc.

        focus on the message and not the massage

      • Kevin Leonard

        you are shooting the messenger,

        throwing the baby out with the bathwater,
        cutting of your nose to spite your face, etc.

        focus on the message and not the massage

        • seanooski

          Oh, I watched the video, a while back, actually. Gatto is right on. I just tried watching today and found the maudlin soundtrack off-putting.

      • Kevin Leonard

        Here ya go. I liked the presentation, but here is the message unadorned.
        http://www.wesjones.com/gatto1.htm

        • seanooski

          Thanks!

        • seanooski

          Thanks!

        • seanooski

          Thanks!

  • TheTruthShallSetUsFree

    The public school system in particular teaches conformity more than anything else. It is also set up in such a way that a majority of students are turned off by the idea of education, frequently leading them to have no real thirst for knowledge. Students study because they want good grades (as opposed to actually wanting to learn, or really retaining much information), which is really just them yearning to please authority figures. I think we all know that much of what is crammed into children’s brains is either irrelevant to their future or patently false. The education system attempts to create consumers that go with the flow and don’t question authority. Unfortunately, this is usually successful.

    • kowalityjesus

      There are teachers who are smart/excellent enough to see through this and deliver a worthwhile lesson plan for their students. I had a teacher who complimented my siblings and I for “not playing the GPA game.” Facts and subjects exist that are yet irrelevant to your future but still worth knowing e.g. most mathematics. I know what you are saying and it is at least partly true, but I think it is also patently cynical.

      I don’t appreciate this video’s pathological use of passive voice: WHO is dumbing the schools down? WHO is setting up this contrived network of doom? “the government,” “aliens,” and “God” are not acceptable answers. If its the Department of Education, Ron Paul.

      • mannyfurious

        I like your post, but I think you’re missing a major point. Gatto isn’t criticizing individual teachers. He’s criticizing the entire system. This is why “Education Reform” will never work on a macro scale until the entire system is blown up and something better is put back into place. This is why we continue to spend more and more money on education and continue to spend more and more time trying “fix” things and none of it ever works.

        I don’t think Gatto is a Marxist, but I do believe part of what he is saying is that capitalism ruined how people are educated, which in turn has turned us all into a bunch of unfulfilled zombies, waking up every morning to do eight hours at a soul-sucking prison and listening to whatever our “supervisors” tell us because that’s all we’ve ever learned to do. We traded in our freedom in order to make a little more money. And then we wonder why none of us are happy.

        Your question about “WHO” is doing it is excellent. In the past, when this system was being created, it was all those “industrialists” who created the system in the first place. These people needed a docile workforce that followed the orders of “management” without much resistance. That’s what this system does, and that’s all it does. Now, some people might argue that it is these same kind of people who keep “dumbing the schools down” but I honestly think we’ve just gotten to a point to where everyone accepts this model of “education” without question. And it is all of us WHO are ruining the whole idea of education in this country. Having been exposed to Gatto’s work in another thread has absolutely been a revelation in the most literal, meaningful sense of the word. As a former teacher myself (I taught for 2 years after completing my undergrad), I knew something was wrong about what we were doing, but I could never put my finger on it. Hell, the whole time I was in school, including grad school, I had this suspicion that I was setting myself up for mediocrity, but I could never pinpoint why. Now I know.

        • kowalityjesus

          is this “now I know” a difficult one to explain and/or ends up sounding trite? perhaps a reference through which I can share this “now I know”?

          The question of an ideal education is like the question of “what is the best food?” There is no such thing; although there are clearly great foods and lousy foods, each has an appropriate nutritional application per individual. Perhaps Americans are suffering from a monolithic diet.

          I did pick up a clearly totalitarian trend as I was going through middle and especially high school, I fear the “total control” ideal is much worse still for the kids today.
          Yes the social environment of this compulsory schooling sets the tone for society, and I can feel its shallow echoes wherever I go.

        • kowalityjesus

          is this “now I know” a difficult one to explain and/or ends up sounding trite? perhaps a reference through which I can share this “now I know”?

          The question of an ideal education is like the question of “what is the best food?” There is no such thing; although there are clearly great foods and lousy foods, each has an appropriate nutritional application per individual. Perhaps Americans are suffering from a monolithic diet.

          I did pick up a clearly totalitarian trend as I was going through middle and especially high school, I fear the “total control” ideal is much worse still for the kids today.
          Yes the social environment of this compulsory schooling sets the tone for society, and I can feel its shallow echoes wherever I go.

        • Negro Libre

          I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I realize that Gatto represents neither of the three sides of the American political dialectic: Capitalism (Thesis), Communism (Anti-Thesis) and Welfarism (Synthesis.) One could say he’s a libertarian, but that word is essentially vague, because Milton Friedman and Noam Chomsky qualify as libertarians. I’d say it be closer to call him an anarchist, but that is equally as vague as calling him a libertarian.

          I would say he’s for autonomy plain and simple, but there’s no political ideology in our system that promotes that because, autonomy infers that local governments, families and individuals are capable of ruling and governing themselves, which basically puts all those phd academics and government ran agencies out of jobs. In other words, autonomy is anti-systematic and anti-management. Autonomy is also anti-nationalism, which almost all those ideologies are not.

  • Tchoutoye

    Alexander Inglis’ book Principles of Secondary Education (1918) is available here:

    http://archive.org/details/principlesofseco00ingliala

    (archive.org is temporarily down for maintenance right now, but should be back up soon.)

  • Tchoutoye

    Alexander Inglis’ book Principles of Secondary Education (1918) is available here:

    http://archive.org/details/principlesofseco00ingliala

    (archive.org is temporarily down for maintenance right now, but should be back up soon.)

    • salviad

      Thanks for the link.

  • Ittabena

    Yeah, gotta love Mr. Gatto’s work. Actually bumped into him through one of Russ Kick’s books long ago and had to read his book.

    For those of you who don’t know he was Teacher of the Year two years for New York City and Teacher of the Year one year for New York State.

  • Ittabena

    Yeah, gotta love Mr. Gatto’s work. Actually bumped into him through one of Russ Kick’s books long ago and had to read his book.

    For those of you who don’t know he was Teacher of the Year two years for New York City and Teacher of the Year one year for New York State.

  • BuzzCoastin

    I hated school and everything about it, but surprisingly never dropped out
    I was more than indifferent student and
    even now I’m not sure how I passed enough courses to gradjiate
    I was told I’d never amount to anything without a degree

    years later I became a big success in Korprape Amerika
    I discovered that they needed people like me to open new markets & new ventures
    and they needed the well schooled to do the paperwork
    I had more than a few Harvard MBAs working the Excel stuff for me

    • echar

      That’s hilarious and sad.

    • echar

      That’s hilarious and sad.

      • BuzzCoastin

        it’s only sad for those below the top 2% of their class
        the top 2% were my bosses
        from the usual breeding grounds
        Yale, Harvard & Chicago

        I’ve worked with lots of people with MBAs & PhDs from the Ivy schools
        usually, their awareness is constricted to a small set of concepts
        this constriction provides those unencumbered with concepts
        the ability to provide “insights” & ways to exploit the situation for profit
        or at least, that’s how I used to use that ability

        • echar

          The way I see it, corporations wouldn’t be so bad if they would stop treating the people on the bottom like shit. This goes for the model laid out by Gatto as well.

    • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

      Wow!

      • BuzzCoastin

        my reaction exactly
        when Nameless BigCo offer me the Big Job
        the first time I declined
        I didn’t think I’d fit in with Harvard & Chicago types
        and they said, “Yer good!”
        they bumped the salary offer up another 25% and add a VP title to the offer
        once inside
        I realized I was a fox among chickens
        except for some of the guys at the very top
        they were wolves

  • echar

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

  • echar

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.zoboprepublic.wordpress.com/ zobop republic

    What does this have to do about the Education Gap between Black & white students? Or is it all kids of all races getting dumb & dumber?

  • http://www.zoboprepublic.wordpress.com/ zobop republic

    What does this have to do about the Education Gap between Black & white students? Or is it all kids of all races getting dumb & dumber?

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