Institutionalized Stupidity

The founding fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called education. School is where you go between when your parents can’t take you and industry can’t take you.

–John Updike, The Centaur, Chapter 4

Updike is wrong, of course: Public schools were not instituted by the “founding fathers” of America. They were not instituted by God. They are not biblical. They were instituted at the end of the nineteenth century by cynically manipulative social engineers in service to their ideals of eugenic improvement and corporate conformity. From John Taylor Gatto:

An Enclosure Movement For Children

The secret of American schooling is that it doesn’t teach the way children learn, and it isn’t supposed to; school was engineered to serve a concealed command economy and a deliberately re-stratified social order. It wasn’t made for the benefit of kids and families as those individuals and institutions would define their own needs. School is the first impression children get of organized society; like most first impressions, it is the lasting one. Life according to school is dull and stupid, only consumption promises relief: Coke, Big Macs, fashion jeans, that’s where real meaning is found, that is the classroom’s lesson, however indirectly delivered.

Support for the fetish of universal mandatory public schooling is based on ignorance, laziness, personal irresponsibility, and a hatred of intellectual curiosity. It may serve a place in society as a community center or an orphanage, but the only ideal it represents is the ideal method of teaching children that their parents are completely irrelevant and hopelessly stupid.

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