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Education or Indoctrination?... a potted history of state education
16 November 2010
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Photographic Print by Margaret Bourke-White entitled: Russian Elementary School Students Sitting at Desks in Classroom in Remote Village in Volga Region

Education.  What is this thing we call education?

Pink Floyd's album "The Wall" presents "education" as a brutal destroyer of lives.  The children sing the famous lines "We don't need no education.  We don’t need no thought control.  No dark sarcasm in the classroom.  Teachers leave them kids alone.  Hey! Teacher! Leave us kids alone!"  This is followed by the ironically memorable line by the angry fanatical Scottish teacher "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?"  Ah... education.  That wonderful happy time of our lives.  Where did it all come from?

Well you can go back as far as Plato if you like.  It was he who reasoned that an ideal state or Utopia should be governed, nay, morally managed, by Philosopher-kings.  The rest of the population would consist of Auxiliaries and Artisans.  Auxiliaries are the police and the army and the Artisans are the workers.  He specified that certain educational methods would achieve this and "freeze" people into categories in which they would be morally bound.

Not a bad idea if all the Philosopher-kings are benign and all the lower folk are happy with it.

Many hundreds of years later there was a nice chap called John Calvin.  Nice because he rather objected to the Pope and Roman Catholicism.  In fact he was a primary influence in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.  (Why do they do that? It's the 15 hundreds)  Like so many people some of his intentions were portrayed as good but he had this idea of predestination and held the view that God consciously decided who would be saved before they were even born.  He regarded people as primarily sinful and fallen.  On the basis that there were so many of these "inferior people" he decided it was necessary to teach them to police themselves.  He created compulsory baptism (failure was punishable by death) and compulsory schooling.  Now the Calvin method, originating in Geneva, has been very influential in the development of Education.  Fundamentally it was institutionalised indoctrination.

Jeanne Mammen: Two Children Reading
"Zwei Kinder, lesend" [Two Children, reading], WVZ: G 49: by the German artist Jeanne Mammen during her "Black Eye Period" during the Third Reich.

Then we jump to the small country of Prussia in the 18th century.  Humiliated by defeat at the hands of Napoleon in 1806, Prussia was struggling in the world and decided to introduce reforms to basically get the population unified and working efficiently like tools in a factory.  Wilhelm von Humboldt had fashioned ideas of education and these were to be the primary model for the method of indoctrinating the population to perceive the King (Frederick II or, as I guess he preferred, Frederick the Great) as benign and to respect authority without question.  There was also the clear objective to train people for the military.  All of this methodology was significantly influenced by the Calvin model in Geneva.  And they made it compulsory!

The project was a huge success and within a short time Prussia became the fourth richest country on the planet and politicians and educators from around the world flocked to Prussia to learn how they did it.  That's largely how it got into America, Britain, Japan, Russia, et al.  Everybody started making "education" compulsory and the curriculum was designed and controlled by the state.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte, a German philosopher and a key influence on the Prussian system said, "If you want to influence [the student] at all, you must do more than merely talk to him; you must fashion him, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than what you wish him to will."

That is the modern educational system in a nut shell - albeit a coconut shell.

Education in general has been around for a long time and it has had various forms.  In America, prior to compulsory state education it was a business venture and because competition was high it was affordable and innovative.  Senator Edward M. Kennedy's office issued a paper stating that the literacy rate in Massachusetts has never been as high as it was before compulsory schooling was instituted.

Both Carnegie and Rockefeller were significantly influential in the introduction of the Prussian model of education into America even to the point of bribing politicians to adopt it.

Also, interestingly, both Adolf Hitler's Gestapo and his SS were products of the Prussian education system.

Although it was popularly thought that George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four was alluding to the USSR he made it quite clear he was actually talking about Britain.

Aldous Huxley considered in 1958, nearly 30 years after he wrote Brave New World, that the world was becoming like Brave New World much faster than he expected.

The above article was mainly prompted by a man called John Taylor Gatto.  John Taylor Gatto is a highly prized retired New York teacher who, when he retired, told an audience of influential politicians and educators that he wanted to stop earning a living by "hurting children".  He has spent decades researching the history and the politics, the practice and the effects of education and he has written several very important and well researched books on the subject.  His conclusions are disturbing and should be a serious alarm bell and call to action by the population (unless you like the idea of a Brave New World Order) to change the education system and, in fact, to change the whole paradigm associated with "education".

 

You can buy books by John Taylor Gatto from Amazon in the UK: (UK Flag)
 
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher's Intimate Investigation of the Problem of Modern Schooling
Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out
A Different Kind of Teacher
Homeschooling Advocates: Mary Pride, John Holt, Dayna Martin, John Taylor Gatto, Michael Farris, Gregg Harris, Joshua Harris, Grace Llewellyn

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... or from Amazon in the US: (US Flag)
 
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher's Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
The Exhausted School: Bending the Bars of Traditional Education
Educating Your Child In Modern Times - Raising An Intelligent, Sovereign & Ethical Human Being (Part 1 & 2 of a four part series)

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You can find out more about this man and his ideas and knowledge at his web site THE ODYSSEUS GROUP John Taylor Gatto.

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