Friday, July 23, 2010

The Public School Nightmare by John Taylor Gatto

Check out this website I found at
The structure of American schooling, 20th-century style, began in 1806 when Napoleon's amateur soldiers beat the professional soldiers of Prussia at the battle of Jena. When your business is selling soldiers, losing a battle like that is serious. Almost immediately afterwards a German philosopher named Fichte delivered his famous "Address to the German Nation" which became one of the most influential documents in modern history. In effect he told the Prussian people that the party was over, that the nation would have to shape up through a new Utopian institution of forced schooling in which everyone would learn to take orders. So the world got compulsion schooling at the end of a state bayonet for the first time in human history; modern forced schooling started in Prussia in 1819 with a clear vision of what centralized schools could deliver: Obedient soldiers to the army; Obedient workers to the mines; Well subordinated civil servants to government; Well subordinated clerks to industry; Citizens who thought alike about major issues. Schools should create an artificial national consensus on matters that had been worked out in advance by leading German families and the head of institutions. Schools should create unity among all the German states, eventually unifying them into Greater Prussia. Prussian industry boomed from the beginning. She was successful in warfare and her reputation in international affairs was very high. Twenty-six years after this form of schooling began, the King of Prussia was invited to North America to determine the boundary between the United States and Canada. Thirty-three years after that fateful invention of the central school institution, at the behest of Horace Mann and many other leading citizens, we borrowed the style of Prussian schooling as our own. You need to know this because over the first 50 years of our school institution Prussian purpose – which was to create a form of state socialism – gradually forced out traditional American purpose, which in most minds was to prepare the individual to be self-reliant. In Prussia the purpose of the Volksschule, which educated 92 percent of the children, was not intellectual development at all, but socialization in obedience and subordination. Thinking was left to the Real Schulen, in which 8 percent of the kids participated. But for the great mass, intellectual development was regarded with managerial horror, as something that caused armies to lose battles.

Since I'm on a roll here's one from John Taylor Gatto on Lew Rockwell yesterday.

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1 comment:

  1. I love Gatto's work, it has truly inspired me to make change in education.

    I like your blog but don't know how to be a "follower" so hopefully I will remember to come back for a read!
    I have 4 blogs but my 3rs of education or whatever I named it, may be up your alley for a browse.