Author Topic: The Underground History of American Education  (Read 2307 times)

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Offline Antigen

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The Underground History of American Education
« on: May 24, 2005, 01:07:00 AM »

Bianca, You Animal, Shut Up!



Our problem in understanding forced schooling stems from an inconvenient fact: that the wrong it does from a human perspective is right from a systems perspective. You can see this in the case of six-year-old Bianca, who came to my attention because an assistant principal screamed at her in front of an assembly, "BIANCA, YOU ANIMAL, SHUT UP!" Like the wail of a banshee, this sang the school doom of Bianca. Even though her body continued to shuffle around, the voodoo had poisoned her.


Do I make too much of this simple act of putting a little girl in her place? It must happen thousands of times every day in schools all over. I?ve seen it many times, and if I were painfully honest I?d admit to doing it many times. Schools are supposed to teach kids their place. That?s why we have age-graded classes. In any case, it wasn?t your own little Janey or mine.


Most of us tacitly accept the pragmatic terms of public school which allow every kind of psychic violence to be inflicted on Bianca in order to fulfill the prime directive of the system: putting children in their place. It?s called "social efficiency." But I get this precognition, this flash-forward to a moment far in the future when your little girl Jane, having left her comfortable home, wakes up to a world where Bianca is her enraged meter maid, or the passport clerk Jane counts on for her emergency ticket out of the country, or the strange lady who lives next door.


http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/toc1.htm

They know that it is human nature to take up causes whereby a man may oppress his neighbor, no matter how unjustly. ... Hence they have had no trouble in finding men who would preach the damnability and heresy of the new doctrine from the very pulpit.
--Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer



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Offline `

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The Underground History of American Education
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2005, 07:51:00 AM »
cool, i have heard that author is good. i think i became immune to them trying to put me in my place, so they had to send me to Straight.
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Offline Antigen

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The Underground History of American Education
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2005, 11:27:00 AM »
I think that happens a LOT

Black markets will always be with us. But they will recede in importance when our public morality is consistent with our private one.


http://www.tatteredcover.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp?s=showproduct&affiliateId=000095&isbn=0618334661' target='_new'>Eric Schlosser, Reefer Madness

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Offline Antigen

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The Underground History of American Education
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2005, 02:11:00 PM »
In fact, the more I think about it, the more it seems that the Program is a natural and necessary adjunct to the public indoctrination scheme.

Quote
The principal motivation for this revolution in family and community life might seem to be greed, but this surface appearance conceals philosophical visions approaching religious exaltation in intensity?that effective early indoctrination of all children would lead to an orderly scientific society, one controlled by the best people, now freed from the obsolete straitjacket of democratic traditions and historic American libertarian attitudes.

Forced schooling was the medicine to bring the whole continental population into conformity with these plans so that it might be regarded as a "human resource" and managed as a "workforce." No more Ben Franklins or Tom Edisons could be allowed; they set a bad example. One way to manage this was to see to it that individuals were prevented from taking up their working lives until an advanced age when the ardor of youth and its insufferable self-confidence had cooled.


In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong

--John Kenneth Galbraith

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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2005, 02:14:00 PM »
Quote
Gatto
In a speech he gave before businessmen prior to the First World War, Woodrow Wilson made this unabashed disclosure:
Quote
Wilson
We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.

What is this new loyalty? It is, above all, conformity. It is the uncritical and unquestioning acceptance of America as it is. It rejects inquiry into the race question or socialized medicine or public housing, regards as heinous any challenge to what is called the system of private enterprise, identifying that system with Americanism. It abandons evolution, repudiates the once popular concept of progress, and regards America as a finished product, perfect and complete. The concept of loyalty as conformity is a false one. It is narrow and restrictive, denies freedom of thought and conscience... What do men know of loyalty who make a mockery of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights?
http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/unitarians/commager.html' target='_new'>Henry Steele Commager, 1947

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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2005, 02:42:00 PM »
the quote two posts up is from Gatto's book, right? i have to get that.
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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2005, 03:52:00 PM »
Something I keep seeing vaguely, but have a hard time describing. . .

Quote
It?s important to keep in mind that no harm was meant by any designers or managers of this great project. It was only the law of nature as they perceived it, working progressively as capitalism itself did for the ultimate good of all. The real force behind school effort came from true believers of many persuasions, linked together mainly by their belief that family and church were retrograde institutions standing in the way of progress. Far beyond the myriad practical details and economic considerations there existed a kind of grail-quest, an idea capable of catching the imagination of dreamers and firing the blood of zealots.

The entire academic community here and abroad had been Darwinized and Galtonized by this time and to this contingent school seemed an instrument for managing evolutionary destiny. In Thorndike?s memorable words, conditions for controlled selective breeding had to be set up before the new American industrial proletariat "took things into their own hands."


Fresh beauty opens one's eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common everyday beauty.
-- John Muir

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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2005, 02:28:00 PM »
Fucking mind blowing!

Quote
Gatto
H.G. Wells, best known of all early Fabians, once wrote of the Fabian project:
Quote
Wells
The political world of the Open Conspiracy must weaken, efface, incorporate and supersede existing governments....The character of the Open Conspiracy will then be plainly displayed. It will be a world religion. This large, loose assimilatory mass of groups and societies will definitely and obviously attempt to swallow up the entire population of the world and become a new human community....The immediate task before all people, a planned World State, is appearing at a thousand points of light [but]...generations of propaganda and education may have to precede it. (emphasis added)

http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/9f.htm


Quote
Radley Balko
Most troubling, however, is the considerable and continuing political clout of Straight, Inc.?s founders. Former President Bush once shot a television commercial for DFAF, and designated the Semblers? program as one of his ?thousand points of light.?
http://www.theagitator.com/straightfox.php


The more I read of this, the more it all seems to dovetail w/ what I know.

I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.

--Clarence Darrow



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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2005, 06:15:00 PM »
Quote
Gatto:
:cool: The last lesson school teaches I?ll call the glass house effect: It teaches how hopeless it is to resist because you are always watched. There is no place to hide. Nor should you want to. Your avoidance behavior is actually a signal you should be watched even more closely than the others. Privacy is a thought crime. School sees to it that there is no private time, no private space, no minute uncommanded, no desk free from search, no bruise not inspected by medical policing or the counseling arm of thought patrols.

The most sensitive children I had each year knew on some level what was really going on. But we choked the treacherous breath out of them until they acknowledged they depended on us for their futures. Hard-core cases were remanded to adjustment agencies where they converted themselves into manageable cynics.


I think I'd like to discuss w/ Mr. Gatto some of those adjustment agents. Think he might be interested?

the war on drugs is but one manifestation, albeit a very dramatic one, of the great moral contests of our age -- the struggle between two diametrically opposed images of man: between man as responsible moral agent, 'condemned' to freedom, benefiting and suffering from the consequences of his actions; and man as irresponsible child, unfit for freedom, 'protected' from its risks by agents of the omnicompetent state.
--Thomas Szasz

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Offline BuzzKill

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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2005, 08:06:00 PM »
I expect he'd be very interested.
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2005, 01:30:00 PM »
in case anyone missed the link:

http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm

 :eek: !
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2005, 09:02:00 AM »
Ginger, i was just wondering if this stuff starts way early, like all the parenting books, and the cultural lore telling people how to deal with children from birth -- put them in the crib and let them cry. they have to learn, that sort of thing. but there are cultures that are completely different. the infants live all day in a sling and nurse whenever, without all the time rules parents are taught in this culture. at night they sleep with their mother. when they get bigger other people take turns carrying the baby, including children. the explanation i have heard is that in those cultures, children are being raised to be a part of an extended and interdependent family. whereas, in our culture, children are being raised to be independent.

well now i would have my disagreements about the last bit there, i think. our options for survival, and the education Gatto is talking about are actually producing very dependent people.

i haven't gotten that far in the book yet, but i think he mentions that a little, that Americans had an independent way and then some completely different ideology got hold in the schools...

but think about that baby crying in the crib, who told his mom and dad to ignore that? where did that come from? and does it help to create a human who can then put up with a whole lot more inhumane treatment through its life?
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2005, 09:57:00 AM »
I'm putting Deborah's post up here. I think it fits well if we are talking about the effects of cultural ideology...


Quote
On 2005-06-05 20:42:00, Deborah wrote:

"*** It's funny how when this shit happens to arab people who aren't even US citizens the world unites against the US govt. When we do it to our own kids, no one blinks an eye. Says a lot about the society our parents have created. Time to change!



I think this article speaks to that issue, as well as the Teen Warehouse Industry.



http://adbusters.org/the_magazine/content/view/73/106/



Comfortably Numb



Did you feel for those Iraqis who were tied down and had attack dogs baying and chewing at them? Did seeing the pictures and hearing the stories make you sick? Or were you like most of us ? engaged by the drama, entertained by the scandal, yet comfortably numb about the whole thing?



Many have replaced empathy with an ?I?-centered

sentimentality. Feeling has been turned on its head: caring is now a means not for taking action, but for feeling better about oneself or getting attention. We ride the emotional dramas in the tabloids, wear colored ribbons, and express our love for God and country. Meanwhile, we take no action ? at least none driven by empathy.



Empathy is how we respond to the plight of fellow

human beings. It is the bedrock of our moral

sensibility that allows us to feel for others, to put ourselves in their place. If you cannot feel, how can you act outside your own wants and desires? To many today, it seems easier to just deny feelings of empathy, to react to  them ?rationally? as a weakness in this hard and fast world.



But this has a cost. Losing feeling for others, or

never developing the capacity to feel deeply at all, means closing off a fundamental part of being human. We feel less not just about the millions of innocent people killed by violence in the past decade, or the thousands of civilians killed in America?s wars for peace, but also about, say, our own partner, neighbors or parents. All feelings run along the same neural

pathways.



Shutting down some means shutting down many. In the process, we become less human. As this happens, we not only stop feeling the pain of others, we become more capable of inflicting it. This is the darkest side of empathy?s erosion. If feelings underlie an empathic response, numbness makes brutality viable. Thus, as you happily switch off from humanity, you become a threat to it. We were comfortably numb about the torture at Abu Ghraib, and so were the GI guards who carried it out. Americans didn?t say sorry because they didn?t feel sorry. Simple as that.



And if we can?t feel for others, who will feel for us?

Perhaps this is part of the general worsening of

mental well-being. As a recent World Health

Organization study shows, there?s a near-perfect

correlation between the rise of alienation in the

modern world and the decline of people?s mental

states, with mental dysfunction growing globally. As empathy falls, behaviors predicated on its lack have been pathologized, like narcissistic and antisocial personalities. But these are not symptoms of organic disease. Instead, it is the social system that is in need of radical treatment.



Consider the example of antidepressant drugs like

Paxil and Zoloft. It is now understood that these ssri antidepressants shut down peoples? sexual emotions. What remains less appreciated is that they produce their mood-altering effect by essentially manufacturing apathy. Are these drugs popular, in part, precisely because they shut down our feelings? It is a frightening notion. Medicating our numbness is one thing, with a long and lonely history. But a culture medicating itself into comfortable numbness is something else. It is no longer the symptom but the cure.



Richard DeGrandpre

"
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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2005, 12:58:00 PM »
Quote
On 2005-06-06 06:02:00, :wink: wrote:

the explanation i have heard is that in those cultures, children are being raised to be a part of an extended and interdependent family. whereas, in our culture, children are being raised to be independent.



well now i would have my disagreements about the last bit there, i think. our options for survival, and the education Gatto is talking about are actually producing very dependent people.


Right, but dependent on whom? The way we used to do it, ppl were dependent on and faithful to their own families and communities. Now we're dependent on some anonymous professional authority somewhere to tell us what to do and how to do it. And we're faithful to no one and nothing.

Vain are the thousand creeds that move men's hearts, unutterably vain, worthless as wither'd weeds.
--Emily Bronte

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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2005, 02:59:00 AM »
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EduTalk/

EduTalk Education Discussion Group began reading John Taylor Gatto's book, "The Underground History of American Education," on June 1st.  It's not too late to join in.

The discussion thus far has been pretty stimulating.
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