How Our Schools Create Sheeple
Why most Americans are unable to perceive
and protest America's slide into fascism.
By John Kaminski

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 ( )
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, Johmann notes.
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 teaching position.
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 today!
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
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.
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