- In 1896 the famous John Dewey, then at the University
of Chicago, said that independent, self-reliant people were a counter-productive
anachronism in the collective society of the future. In modern society,
said Dewey, people would be defined by their associations"not by their
own individual accomplishments. In such a world people who read too well
or too early are dangerous because they become privately empowered, they
know too much, and know how to find out what they don,t know by themselves,
without consulting experts. -- Kurt Johmann, quoting John Taylor Gatto
- The question on the minds of many people with consciences
who are so aghast at the sudden savagry of the new terror-based policies
of the U.S. goverment is how has the American public so silently and willingly
acquiesced to the dishonest and murderous attitudes of George W. Bush and
his criminal oil cartel.
- The hypnotic power of television is of course one main
component of the fearful powerlessness that now grips the American populace
and has the rest of the world cringing in fear about where the power elite's
military monster will strike next. That is a subject for another time.
- The real credit for this continuing American coma belongs
to something that has been right in front of our eyes all the time. It's
something we have supported, spent our money on, and prayed for, something
we have participated in ourselves.
- The reason Bush has been able to get away with lie after
lie in his drive to obliterate our Constitution and install himself as
dictator of the world is our public school system. What they did to all
of us is directly related to what is happening now in the world.
- This connection becomes perfectly obvious when you read
Kurt Johmann's essay, "Unschooling: Self-directed learning is best,"
on his website ( http://www.johmann.net/ )
- Johmann, a software developer who lives in Florida, quotes
John Taylor Gatto, an award-winning teacher who taught in New York City
government schools for 26 years and quit teaching in 1991 "so he wouldn't
harm any more children." Gatto, author of "Dumbing Us Down: The
Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling," and other books investigating
the fallacies of public education, insists American public schools teach
a hidden curriculum of seven lessons:
- 1. Confusion. Gatto notes several things contributing
to what he calls the lesson of confusion, including: a lack of subject-related
context for what is taught; too many unrelated facts and unrelated subjects;
a lack of meaning and critical thinking about what is taught.
- About this lack of critical thinking Gatto says: "Few
teachers would dare to teach the tools whereby dogmas of a school or a
teacher could be criticized, since everything must be accepted."
- With this kind of training, how would it be possible
for a kid to know what valuable things are NOT in public school curricula?
And by extension, how would it be possible for that same adult to discern
that what her leaders tell her about American history bears little resemblance
to what happened to the victims of those who wrote the histories?
- 2. Class position. Gatto points to the way students are
kept in the same class by age, and, within this age classification, further
classified and separated depending on how the students have done schoolwise
(for example, classification into so-called gifted classes).
- About this lesson Gatto says: "That's the real lesson
of any rigged competition like school. You come to know your place."
- As someone who has suffered from this myself, you have
to ask how many learning opportunities are lost because children are not
properly identified using rigidly mechanistic criteria.
- 3. Indifference. For this lesson Gatto is referring to
the effects of the ringing bell that announces the end of the current class
and the need of the student to drop whatever she is doing and proceed to
the next class where a different teacher and subject await her.
- About bells Gatto says: "Indeed, the lesson of bells
is that no work is worth finishing, so why care too deeply about anything?"
- And as far as educational evolution goes in kids, this
rigidity causes children to assign equal value to all classes, say math
and gym, without regard to their relative importance.
- 4. Emotional dependency. This lesson results from students
having to submit to the designated authority, the teacher, regarding their
personal desires during class time. As Gatto says: "By stars and red
checks, smiles and frowns, prizes, honors, and disgraces, I teach kids
to surrender their will to the predestined chain of command."
- By the time this learned tendency reaches adulthood,
it prevents many people from realizing there may be more qualified candidates
other than the two corporate-approved rivals for any given office.
- 5. Intellectual dependency. This lesson is similar to
the lesson of emotional dependency, since both lessons teach students submission
to the designated authority. In the case of the lesson of intellectual
dependency, the students specifically learn submission to establishment
authorities, including the teacher, on intellectual matters.
- This definitely discourages thinking "outside the
box" when alternatives are presented to any given problem.
- As Gatto says: "Successful children do the thinking
I assign them with a minimum of resistance and a decent show of enthusiasm.
Of the millions of things of value to study, I decide what few we have
time for, or actually it is decided by my faceless employers. Bad kids
fight this, of course, even though they lack the concepts to know what
they are fighting, struggling to make decisions for themselves about what
they will learn and when they will learn it. How can we allow that and
survive as schoolteachers? Fortunately [Gatto is being ironic] there are
tested procedures to break the will of those who resist "
- 6. Provisional self-esteem. As Gatto says: "The
lesson of report cards, grades, and tests is that children should not trust
themselves or their parents but should instead rely on the evaluation of
certified officials. People need to be told what they are worth."
- As a result, when people get older, they may not be able
to determine the worth of a given activity without someone whose authority
they covet approving their decision. Put more simply, they may not be able
to think for themselves.
- 7. One cannot hide. By this lesson Gatto means the effect
that constant surveillance has on students as they are watched by teachers
and other school employees. About the underlying reason for this surveillance
Gatto says: "children must be closely watched if you want to keep
a society under tight central control. Children will follow a private drummer
if you can,t get them into a uniformed marching band."
- How many passions have been lost to students who were
told their natural aptitudes were leading them in the "wrong"
direction, and whose talents were blunted by the corporate-approved drive
toward regimented conformity?
- Besides teaching this hidden curriculum, Gatto asserts,
the schools also separate children from their families, thereby weakening
the bonds of family. This attack against the family is a part of the larger
campaign in America to atomize people into individuals, so that having
only themselves, they are weak and helpless and unable to resist the establishment,
- Having read this laundry list of what public schools
do to our children, isn't it clear that our government is behaving in the
same way as our monolithic school system, and isn't it even clearer that
this process is not producing thoughtful human beings? Instead, the vast
majority are the flag-waving zombies who cheer as American military might
murders innocent children in faraway places, and turns its own citizens
into robotic, thoughtless advocates of "the war on terror"?
- If you have kids in school, be sure and study Johmann's
website and its links before you make the decision to get them out of public
schools as fast as you possibly can.
- John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the coast of Florida
whose education really didn't begin until he got out of school.
- By Alfred Lehmberg
- A pragmatic person and a retired soldier, I can, of course,
see the need for *some* direction and oversight in culture and society.
It is the product of *some* point to reality, rationality, and realism
that humanity (select portions of it, anyway) stands on the landing of
a 21st Century medical and technical wonderland, as much as it does! But
"Direction" and "Point", as practiced by elitist, sociopathic,
and corrupted leaderships, institutions and agencies are just additional
concepts to be abused and misused -- like "national security",
"social security", or "homeland security"!
- I'm a FAILED second-career public school teacher whose
REAL education began, also, towards the end of a formal one, forgetting
that it was the *formal* one which allowed me the opportunity for access
to that larger, more satisfying, and more accurate *informal* one. And
there's the rub.
- An American public education system in plainly more interested
in producing good, docile, and God fearing *employees* than it is in producing
creatively intelligent, rational, critically thinking human beings, students
and teachers. I was THERE, good reader! I -know- this to be true! Indeed
it is among the unjust reasons I was summarily fired from a public school
- When John Dewey, the FATHER of American education, condemned
the rank and file American man and woman to creative slavery in the service
of this authoritarian elite of the corporate arbitrary, he was acting upon
the strident and unabashed sociopathy of his times. This was a time when
the mighty white was more than right and the mongrel brown should best
leave town! This was a time of an appallingly applied eugenics and enforced
sterilization (even annihilation!). This was a time of an abject lack of
meaningful protection from corporate criminals selling substandard consumables
and enriching themselves on planet destroying planned obsolescence continuing
- We begin to see the error of these shortsighted ways?
- Another dean of American education, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi,
observed that the poor must be TRAINED to their poverty. The poor (anyone
outside a privileged elite) are very broadly defined. Additionally, the
reader can readily reason that if the poor can be so trained to accept
their lot in cruel life the RICH can be trained in a similar, but opposing,
manner. The general reader can bet that THOSE kids are being trained to
be the leaders in this twenty-first century even as -their- children are
-not-. No -- their kids are being trained in a manner clearly described
by John Taylor Gatto (a minor god in -my- personal pantheon) to be the
artless SHEEPLE so written about -- expendable motes as dry as the chalk
dust in their pitiable classrooms.
- I was not REMOTELY interested in producing sheeple-aping
employees, but in each individual achieving the creative and self-actualizing
personal goals of which they were able. Somehow, I had convinced myself
that this was the overriding goal of the America I believed in, an America
that was the envy of the world, I thought -- an America that I had served
so well on its flawed battlefields. I would move that battlefield to America's
classrooms. It is no -wonder- I would be torpedoed...
- I am a very highly decorated retired military officer
and combat veteran with impeccable credentials and bulletproof references
that could -not- make it public education. Can the reader entertain, along
with me, the idea that the problem was not -all- mine?
- We are better than our manipulators. We see the value
in our individuality. We resent our trained poverty, our dearth of respect
from society and culture, and the lack of aggregate humanity from our corporate
overlords... we -will- drag these hijackers of the mainstream screaming
from their ivory towers eventually, perhaps sooner rather than later. Even
a "sheeple" can only be expected to take so much. The individual
IS key, and the REAL power behind anything else, after all.
- From jdh
- To: Lehmberg@snowhill.com
- Sent: Saturday, December 28, 2002
- This Saphardic Jew happens to think Jeff Rense is doing
a fantastic job of reporting the most important news. He is not an anti-semite.
At this time the world is in great danger from egotistical insane leaders
and we need to know what they are doing.
- Thank you, Jeff!
- From Mary Linton
- Bah, Humbug!!!! I am a successful teacher (TOTY, STAR
Teacher for three years, featured in PAGE Magazine, listed in every edition
of Who's Who Among America's Teachers) with 25 years teaching experience
over a period of 39 years in public schools and in a private college.
I have taught college chemistry, AP chemistry, honors chemistry, CP chemistry,
honors biology and CP biology, and my students learn. You are making the
same mistake as mainstream education.
- If you assume ALL children are of high intelligence with
a consuming desire to learn, then Yes, they can be home schooled or even
self taught. However, ninety-five percent of students do not fit the
above criteria. They must be loved, pushed and prodded into learning,
at least by the time they reach high school age.
- Today's society is decidedly anti-learning. There are
a few very intelligent, knowledge-seeking young people and they are our
hope for tomorrow, but most students expect their parents' standard of
living to automatically be passed on to them while they are entertained
by today's media.
- Unschooling is ridiculous. Our students will literally
be unschooled and then where will we be? I assure you such thinking if
put into practice will turn civilization back 200 hundred years, when the
few educated people ruled the world. Yes, public schools are assembly-line
programs riddled with problems, but they are too disorganized to accomplish
the goals you stated. As long as there are teachers in the classroom with
high moral ideals and courage of their convictions, then American Education
is alive and well.