Originally published May 11 2008
So-Called Education Intentionally Dumbs Down Americans
by Heidi Stevenson
(NaturalNews) As Mike Adams' wonderful analysis of the current state of the world shows in "The Biofuels Scam, Food Shortages and the Coming Collapse of the Human Population" (http://www.naturalnews.com/023091.html) , something is deeply wrong in America and the world. It's as if the vast majority of people have given up. Given up caring. Given up thinking. Given up common sense. Given up everything but gluttony.
But why? What has brought us to such a state? Could it have just "happened"? Or was it intentional? To call it intentional, it's necessary to demonstrate planning. Fortunately, John Taylor Gatto, who was once named Teacher of the Year in both New York City and New York State, has explained what happened, when it started, and why.
Perhaps you were like me as a child. You loved learning. You'd spend hours and hours studying something of interest. Yet, you hated school. It was unutterably boring. It was rigid. It stifled original thought, even punished for it. Give any answer other than the prescribed one, even if you had clearly demonstrated a full understanding of the subject, and you were given a bad grade. Disrupt the class –- meaning that you questioned the teacher –- and you could expect time in detention, even more grinding boredom. Standing out from your classmates made you "different". You'd be ostracized by the other kids. The school itself supported such behavior. It sponsored things like cheerleading, another term for a popularity contest, where the kids from the right families were nearly always elected.
To survive through it all, you either had to get out –- a daunting prospect for a child –- or stuff your creativity, your spark. You probably thought of yourself as an oddball. After all, it was you who was different from all the others. It probably never dawned on you that most of the other kids were just as miserable –- and just as fearful of speaking out. It probably never dawned on you that many of your teachers felt much the same way. That is, they did if they really wanted to teach.
What Created This Monstrous "Education" System?
We think of our school system as something that has always existed. The reality is quite different. In the U.S. expecting all children to go to school a certain amount of time every day for a certain number of months and a certain number of years didn't come into being until the early twentieth century, 1905-1915.
Hardly any of the greats of American history went through much formal schooling. That includes Thomas Jefferson. George Washington. Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Edison. Herbert Melville. Mark Twain. Margaret Mead. Admiral Farragut. And so many more.
Obviously, formal secondary schooling, at least of the type we now have, is not a requisite for learning, creativity, or greatness.
Let's ask who benefits when the great mass of people becomes complaisant, unable to think, unable to entertain themselves, and interested only in possessions. The answer is simple: corporations. When the mass of children are forced to go through a system that destroys creativity and rewards group-think, they are prepared to fill their predestined roles in a lockstep workforce and unthinking consumption corps.
What are Americans good at? Buying, of course. Having the latest and greatest of... well, of anything and everything, as long as the media tells them they should have it. It's how Americans measure themselves, how they determine their success. Who cares if someone can carry on a good conversation about the state of the world? Who even wants to listen? It's so depressing. Let's talk about the cool super-fast car that Joe just bought or the fancy house Jim and Mary are getting for no money down!
Go into any supermarket and look at what's surrounding the checkout aisles. Publications -- if you can call them that -- telling about the clothing of some super model or the antics of an actor or actress, anything but factors that will affect them, like how the planet is heating up because of overuse of natural resources, overpopulation, over-consumption, burning fossil fuels, and all the myriad of other things that really matter. Pseudo-food, filled with petroleum products, sugar, sweeteners as bad as or worse than sugar, colorings to make them appealing, hydrolyzed this and phosphorylated that -- virtually nothing that nourishes. And the junk sells!
The only beneficiaries of this purchasing rampage are those who own and run corporations. The masses of people work in them at soul-numbing, mind and health destroying jobs. Running on treadmills at just the proper, accepted speed. Wearing just the right fashion and makeup. Commuting in latest style vehicles, purchased for that reason. Returning to the overpriced homes that they'll never have the time to enjoy just so they can say they live in them, since they'll almost never actually own them. Doing jobs that promote the destruction of their environment and their health for these dubious benefits. Unable to think that there might be another way.
As John Gatto wrote in Harper's, "There were vast fortunes to be made, after all, in an economy based on mass production and organized to favor the large corporation rather than the small business or the family farm. But mass production required mass consumption, and at the turn of the twentieth century most Americans considered it both unnatural and unwise to buy things they didn't actually need."
A Brief History of Modern Schools in the U.S.
To achieve the needed unthinking production workers and consumers, the major corporatists of the late 1800's, such as Carnegie and Rockefeller, pushed for compulsory schooling of the masses. It was, of course, sold as being for the benefit of the people.
Prussian culture, the predecessor of 20th century Germany, created a system of schooling designed to produce nonthinking masses. It was this system that supplied the concepts for America's compulsive pseudo-education of the masses.
The Prussian system was first introduced in the United States during the 1840's. In 1918, Alexander Inglis, for whom a Harvard lecture hall was named, published the definitive book, Principles of Secondary Education, which defines modern schooling. He specifically stated that its purpose is to support a command economy and society. This book describes modern "education's" design.
James Bryant Conant, president of Harvard from 1933 through 1953, wrote The Child, the Parent, and the State in 1959. In it, he delineates and approves of Alexander Inglis's ideas to inform other members of his class that following this system of training is the best possible way to keep the masses in their place. He stated that the creation of the American school system was a "coup de main", a surprise action against the enemy, in this case, the general American populace. He further stated that not continuing with the same type of training of the American public would result in, "A successful counterrevolution."
Before 1910, there were almost no high schools in the United States. A seemingly grassroots movement to open public high schools resulted in massive production of them between 1910 and 1940, at which point it became routine, and even compulsory, to attend high school.
One should always be cautious at the concept of a grassroots movement. As we often see nowadays in patient support groups, an apparent groundswell of support for something, as often as not, is the result of an influx of money and propaganda from a wealthy, usually corporate, source. In the case of public eduction, it was manufacturers in need of two things: Dumbed-down masses as cogs in their production facilities and sponges to soak up the message that they needed to buy the dross pouring out of them.
How Compulsory Schooling Is Designed to Work
According to Inglis, there are six functions filled by the new mandatory "education" system:
1. Adjustive: Creating reflexive, fixed responses, as opposed to creative thinking.
2. Integrative: Making children conform, making them be predictable and easy to manipulate in a large labor force.
3. Diagnosis and Direction: Schools are intended to identify and enforce each child's role in society and the labor force.
4. Differentiation: Once diagnosed, children are trained as far as their role in labor has been determined.
5. Selection: Children are tagged with punishments, poor grades, poor classroom placement, and any other humiliation that can be thought of. The purpose is to separate out those the system determines to be unfit and allow them to be treated as inferiors by the rest.
6. Preparation (called propaedeutic by Inglis): Those few deemed to be leaders, often only by their birth, are taught to be the controllers of the masses described in the other five functions.
In the 1922 edition of Public Education in the United States, Ellwood P. Cubberley, a textbook editor at Houghton Miflin, wrote:
Our schools are... factories in the raw products are to be shaped and fashioned... And it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down.
There you have it, from one of the major textbook editors during the buildup of secondary schools in the United States -- a clear, concise statement of the purpose of those schools.
As John Gatto wrote:
We have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgments and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults. We buy televisions, and then we buy the things we see on the television. We buy computers, and then we buy the things we see on the computer. We buy $150 sneakers whether we need them or not, and when they fall apart too soon we buy another pair. We drive SUVs and believe the lie that they constitute a kind of life insurance, even when we're upside-down in them. And, worst of all, we don't bat an eye when Ari Fleischer tells us to "be careful what you say," even if we remember having been told somewhere back in school that America is the land of the free. We simply buy that one too. Our schooling, as intended, has seen to it.
What it All Means
Today, there is so little critical thinking that almost anything can be sold. In the arena of health, it's now possible for purported research to make claims that vitamins are unhealthy. And people believe it! Immunization programs that cause death for diseases that carry little harm to healthy people, such as RotaTeq for gastroenteritis in children. And parents rush out to have their children inoculated! Agrobusiness pig growers destroy entire watersheds, even to the point of creating dead zones in the ocean. And hardly anyone cares.
This is what has been wrought by our anti-education school system. We are seeing what happens when a populace has been so dumbed-down and made complaisant that the only thing they're capable of doing is shop.
"Shop 'til you drop" has another, far more sinister meaning than usually intended. We're in the early stages of a rapidly accelerating collapse of civilization –- all brought on by a population so blind and complaisant it couldn't see the obvious: What can't continue won't continue.
Harper's Magazine, September 2003, "Against School", by John Taylor Gatto. Reprinted at (http://www.spinninglobe.net/againstschool.ht...) .
The LINK, Homeschool News Network, Vol 5, Issue 6, "A Conspiracy Against Ourselves", by John Taylor Gatto.
About the author* Heidi Stevenson, BSc, DIHom, FBIH
* Fellow, British Institute of Homeopathy
* Gaia Health (http://www.gaia-health.com)
* The author is a homeopath who became concerned with medically-induced harm as a result of her own experiences and those of family members. She says that allopathic medicine is the arena that best describes the motto, "Buyer beware."
* Heidi Stevenson provides information about medically-induced disease and disability, along with incisive well-researched articles on major issues in the modern world, so members of the public can protect themselves.
She can be reached through her website: www.gaia-health.com
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