Karen De Coster
LewRockwell.com, 31 January 2012
Public education, in its current state, is based on the idea that government is the “parent” best equipped to provide children with the values and wisdom required to grow into intelligent, functional adults. To echo what former first lady Hillary Clinton professed, these public school champions believe “it takes a village” to cultivate a society of competent human beings.
As Hebrew University historian Martin van Crevald points out in his book, The Rise and Decline of the State, nineteenth-century state worshippers who wanted to impose a love of big government ideals upon the youth popularized the archetype for state-directed education. Additionally, there was an overall appetite for discipline of the “unruly” masses that reinforced the campaign to take education out of the hands of individuals. After all, the self-educated masses might resist government decrees, and this kind of disarray would be undesirable in the move toward building a powerful, controlling state apparatus. Prussia’s Frederick William I and France’s Napoleon discerned this, as did a legion of other despotic rulers throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. In a recent article published on the American Daily Herald “Dumberer and Dumberest,” Glenn Horowitz writes:
If you’re not familiar with it, the Prussian system was a teaching methodology designed to stamp out good little worker bees assembly-line fashion, trained to be complacent with their station in life and compliant with every demand of the State. An elite of those better educated but still proven unquestioningly loyal to the State were promoted to lead the proletariat, rewarded with elevated status and material success commensurate with their skills and the zeal they demonstrate in supporting the system. It specifically avoided developing creativity and independent thought, reasoning these were skills the worker classes didn’t need in their roles as mass produced labor.
Modern education is built upon a foundation set forth by tyrants. What is most disquieting about the public education mindset is that those who believe most strongly in it are convinced that there are no other suitable alternatives to the compulsory schooling provided via the public domain. The egalitarian core belief of these public education proponents is that society is responsible for obtaining, maintaining, and paying for the process of equally developing young minds.
Since the laws of the modern state that control the educational system lean heavily toward equality, federal compulsory schooling is necessarily a bias against the best and brightest of America’s children. Federalized education sustains the philosophy that schools have the obligation to treat all students as pure equals – equal in intelligence, work ethic, performance, and desire.
Such nonsense is refuted by H. George Resch in his article “Equality vs. Equity” on the Separation of School and State website. Mr. Resch contends that compulsory, government-controlled education is trying to achieve ends that are not possible due to the fact that general equality is not only impossible to define, but that biological, environmental, and cultural differences among us are so vast that a compulsory, standardized public education poses difficulties that cannot be overcome, and certainly not by a government-run school system.
It’s obvious that public schooling is neither beneficial to most students, nor is it efficient. Education is an acquired good, a good that has to meet the needs of the consumers or else face rejection in the free market. Accordingly, there is a necessity for unique, private educational institutions that cater to the urgencies of the marketplace, or home schools that provide a quality environment for each student’s direct needs.
In a blog titled “Farmville USA,” writer Skip Oliva presents the idea that public schooling is organized along the same principles as factory farming.
Public schooling is based on the same organizational principles as factory farming. They are both modern procedures designed to replace ancient methods of child-rearing and rural farming, respectively. Both rely on a core principle of confinement. In factory farming, animals are generally kept indoors in confined pens for duration of their lives. If we’re talking about male cattle raised for veal, they are literally confined to a small box and denied any exercise whatsoever. With public schooling, children are confined indoors for the majority of daylight hours and, in lower grades, generally restricted to a single classroom. They are expected to sit quietly at desks – analogous to a factory animal cage – with only limited exercise approved for limited, scheduled intervals. Animals and children alike are deprived of the ability to fulfill their natural desire to exercise and explore their outdoor environments.
The confinement of children on the part of authoritarian figures who demand mandatory attendance illustrates how the federal public school system has become a security garrison with satellite detainment facilities. Moreover, yanking children from their parents and assimilating them into dumbed-down, draconian learning pools based on age and collectivizing their learning experience in a quasi-prison environment hasn’t worked, and it will never be ideal for the vast majority of the children. Skip Oliva continues:
There is also the issue of socialization. Many farmed animals, including cows, pigs and rabbits, are naturally sociable and psychologically require healthy contact with other members of their species, particularly with their mothers during adolescence. Factory farming largely ignores those relationships. Young cattle are often denied any maternal contact, in order to preserve the mother’s milk for human consumption. Animals are often caged or together in inadequate indoor facilities which promote the spread of disease, aggressive fighting and even cannibalism. Similarly, when children are confined in large classrooms, they are more exposed to communicable diseases and subject to anti-social behaviors such as bullying.
Of course, proponents of schooling claim socialization is a primary benefit, especially compared with continued instruction from a parent (aka “homeschooling”). Yet as is true with most high-order mammals, human children require an extended period of exclusive access to a parent, ideally the mother, who serves as a model for proper social behavior. Children of the same age are inadequate substitutes. They cannot model behaviors that they themselves have not learned. Nor is a teacher in a position to do so, as one person is incapable of developing the necessary relationship of trust with several dozen children during normal “business” hours.
The reality of public schools in America is that they resemble prisons, holding children captive and subjecting them to monitoring, authoritarian supervision, arbitrary rules, prescribed conformity, coerced abstinence, zero tolerance insanity, irrational fears, invasion of privacy, prison-like security, unlawful searches, mind-controlling drugs, and the police state. John Taylor Gatto, in his essay, “Some Reflections on the Equivalencies Between Forced Schooling and Prison,” noted that America’s public schools and its penal system are alike because within each environment an individual’s movements, thoughts, and associations are regarded with great suspicion and are therefore controlled. Gatto explains:
Almost all Americans have had an intense school experience which occupied their entire youth, an experience during which they were drilled thoroughly in the culture and economy of the well-schooled greater society, in which individuals have been rendered helpless to do much of anything except watch television or punch buttons on a keypad.
Before you begin to blame the childish for being that way and join the chorus of those defending the general imprisonment of adults and the schooling by force of children because there isn’t any other way to handle the mob, you want to at least consider the possibility that we’ve been trained in childishness and helplessness for a reason. And that reason is that helpless people are easy to manage. Helpless people can be counted upon to act as their own jailers because they are so inadequate to complex reality they are afraid of new experience. They’re like animals whose spirits have been broken. Helpless people take orders well, they don’t have minds of their own, they are predictable, they won’t surprise corporations or governments with resistance to the newest product craze, the newest genetic patent – or by armed revolution. Helpless people can be counted on to despise independent citizens and hence they act as a fifth column in opposition to social change in the direction of personal sovereignty.
In 2009, a compelling documentary was produced that focuses on the control and containment that is the government’s compulsory school system: The War on Kids. This documentary has not received the attention it deserves, but every parent who has a child that has received a sentence of thirteen (or more) years in the compulsory schooling environment should watch this film.
Note in Part 2 where the filmmaker visually shows how so many of the public schools look exactly like prisons. Some of the footage you will see throughout the film is staggering, and some of the interviews with public school bureaucrats are remarkably creepy. Here is the website for the movie, and this is the general information presented for the film (it is shown in six parts on TagTélé).
In 95 minutes, THE WAR ON KIDS exposes the many ways the public school system has failed children and our future by robbing students of all freedoms due largely to irrational fears. Children are subjected to endure prison-like security, arbitrary punishments, and pharmacological abuse through the forced prescription of dangerous drugs. Even with these measures, schools not only fail to educate students, but the drive to teach has become secondary to the need to control children. Not only do school fall short of their mission to educate, but they erode the country’s democratic foundation and often resemble prisons.
School children are interviewed, as are high school teachers and administrators, and prison security guards, plus renowned educators and authors including:
Henry Giroux: Author of Stealing Innocence Corporate Culture’s War on Children
Mike A. Males: Sociologist, author of Scapegoat Generation
John Gatto: New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year
Judith Browne: Associate Director of the Advancement Project
Dan Losen: The Civil Liberties Project, Harvard University
- The War on Kids, Part 1: http://www.tagtele.com/videos/voir/47708
- The War on Kids, Part 2: http://www.tagtele.com/videos/voir/47730/1/
- The War on Kids, Part 3: http://www.tagtele.com/videos/voir/47711/1/
- The War on Kids, Part 4: http://www.tagtele.com/videos/voir/47734/1/
- The War on Kids, Part 5: http://www.tagtele.com/videos/voir/47846/1/
- The War on Kids, Part 6: http://www.tagtele.com/videos/voir/47945/1/
January 31, 2012
Karen De Coster, CPA [send her mail] is an accounting/finance professional in the healthcare industry and a freelance writer, blogger, speaker, and sometimes unpaid troublemaker. She writes about libertarian stuff, economics, financial markets, the medical establishment, the Corporate State, health totalitarianism, and other essentially, anything that encroaches upon the freedom of her fellow human beings. When she has a few moments of spare time she prefers to do functional fitness, kayak the Detroit River, and drink hot toddies. This is her LewRockwell.com archive and her Mises.org archive. Check out her website. Follow her on Twitter @karendecoster.