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Education in America

Philosophy: you need it.

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Education in America

Postby coberst » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:24 am

Education in America

It appears to me that there are two categories of educational techniques. One focuses on creating
graduates with large databases and the other focuses on the individual creativity of its graduates.

The US system concentrates on large databases and ignores (I think not accidentally) individual creativity.

The graduates of US education are great producers and consumers and almost totally without individual creative capability. Our economic system thrives on a policy of habit, pattern and routine. The workplace wants action and not time consuming thought. Thought must be of the kind that can quickly choose between ‘True and False’ or ‘A, B or C’. Thought should be “curtailed to a minimum”; quick action must be “accentuated to a maximum”. Any action delayed by excessive thought is to be discouraged. All thought beyond “T or F and A, B or C” is excessive.

The workplace, primarily the large corporation, needs expert specialists with finely detailed pattern recognition. The most valuable employee, at any single moment, is one with a readily available menu of routines who can--after recognizing the problem pattern—quickly choose the routine that will immediately reengage the wheels of production.

Our college graduates are primed for pattern recognition and choosing routines. If the workplace detects a situation wherein the available routines are inadequate quick action is demanded to correct that situation. Our workplaces are designed to accommodate workers who follow detected patterns with honed routines. The workplace must maximize routine and minimize the need for any thought outside that which is carefully calibrated by routine. The most efficient workplace functions like a military force wherein all actions are made in response to codified routine. Even when the need arrives to replace an ongoing routine with another, this action too, is codified.

We think of the private entrepreneur as a very creative thinker who wins because of a quick and creative brain. I suspect there is some degree of truth in this assumption but it is a very small factor for success. Someone said ‘success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration’. The major element of success results from correct business pattern recognition; followed by well-honed business routines that makes success a possibility. Luck then determines who succeeds or fails. Bruit force capitalization, I suspect, is also a big factor. Bill Gates and many others attempted to develop software in the early days of the hi-tech boom. One or another of these entrepreneurs would succeed magnificently. Gates happened to be the one.

So, when all our citizens are educated to be successful in the world of ‘produce and consume’, what citizen is prepared to make good judgement in life when faced with problems with no pattern and no routines?

I have more than 16 years of formal education. Within the American lexicon I would, I think, be considered “well educated”. In my opinion, our standard college degree does not advance our education but very little. I think that it advances our training a great deal. I think this college degree prepares us for our life as a producer and consumer and does little positive to advance our ability to be what I consider to be a “good and wise citizen”.
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Re: Education in America

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:25 am

higher education in the usa is a racket, on many levels. it's a gate-keeping system. it's a class-enforcement system. it's a debt-enslavement system.

in anarchy (the only kind worthy of the name, anyway), education will be a free and lifelong gift from each to all.

as long as there's a state, the revenue it steals should be directed toward approximating a sane society, to the extent possible. one way to do that is to fund free higher education. in the usa, these funds could be redirected from the war-machine.

as long as higher education remains a pay-for system, it should be boycotted. seeking to climb that ladder of exclusivity is an act of abject selfishness. it's an attempt to gain a leg up on your fellows. it perpetuates elitism, the class system, and debt-slavery. it is damaging to the fabric of the community. it is unconscionable.

until higher education is universal, those who seek a sane society (anarchy) should offer their knowledge freely to one another, and offer to one another the means to put that knowledge to use. if the gate-keepers refuse to recognize our freely-shared education because it doesn't have their official rubber stamp, then we shouldn't recognize their authority to issue those stamps. part of the process of achieving anarchy is to build alternate institutions inside the shell of the old.

we should drop out of those spheres of 'mainstream' society which perpetuate those aspects of it that we oppose. or, rather, drop back in, to the real mainstream, where people live in solidarity; the mainstream which has been driven out of us and made to seem unorthodox, illegitimate, and dangerous.
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Re: Education in America

Postby coberst » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:12 pm

I think that the only way that our educational system will improve is after many adults become self-actualizing self-learners and thus become intellectually sophisticated enough to demand a better educational system for their children.
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Re: Education in America

Postby Maithuna69 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:35 am

From The Memory Hole:

The Educational System Was Designed to Keep Us Uneducated and Docile.

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).
The act of disobedience as an act of freedom is the beginning of reason - Erich Fromm.
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Re: Education in America

Postby coberst » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:47 am

Maithuna69

Thanks for those references!!
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Re: Education in America

Postby Yarrow » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:37 am

excellent stuff!
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Re: Education in America

Postby lplawhead » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:19 am

you guys ought to go check out John Taylor Gatto's website http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/

he was a teacher in the indoctrination service known as the state run educational system. He has some really good points from the experience of having been a pedagogue for the state who later realized what it was all REALLY for.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ogCc8ObiwQ
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Re: Education in America

Postby anarcho-humanist » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:54 am

true, i think in the end homeschooling is becoming a better choice then sending your kids to school since you can teach them what they need but when it comes to high school and university our capitalist system forces us to brainwash our kids into thinking producing and consuming is the meaning of life.
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