DSM: FW: [heartlight] The Origins of Compulsory Education - by John Gatto

Robert Swanson (robertswanson@icehouse.net)
Tue, 19 Dec 2000 16:51:43 -0800

"Aloofness" is the incongruency of minds that have purposefully been
disorganized and set apart from organized social function. That is most all
of us. We have lost our heart connection with living. See below.

From: "Chad Osborne" <cosborne@worcester.edu>
Reply-To: heartlight@egroups.com
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 02:29:19 -0000
To: heartlight@egroups.com
Subject: [heartlight] The Origins of Compulsory Education - by John Gatto

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The Origins of Compulsory Education - by John Gatto
(1992 New York Teacher of the Year)
Prussia is the first state in human history to have a compulsory
schooling law that works. There were a handful of them that existed
prior to the Prussian law of 1819 but they don't work. Nobody is dumb
enough to keep going to school after a few days. It collapses when
the cops don't come after you. That's what happened to the famous New
England compulsory school law. It was there as a piece of window
dressing. But not in Prussia. They really were marched to school at
bayonet point. It was after Napoleon's defeat of Prussia at the
battle of Jena at 1806. A famous Prussian philosopher named Fichte
announced in an Address to the German People: that the party was
over. Now the children would be taken. Now they were going to be told
what to think and how long to think it. They were going to understand
that the state is the primary parent and the blood family is
secondary. Between 1806 and 1819, two brilliant brothers, the
Humboldts, a guy named Stein, and a few others, divide the society
into children who will become policy makers; children who will become
assistants to policy makers (the engineers, architects, lawyers, and
doctors); and the children who will be the vast, massed, the used.
Prussia sets up a three-tier school system, in which one half of one
percent of the population is taught to think. They go to school
called academie. Five and a half percent of the population go to
Realschulen, where they partially learn to think, but not completely,
because Prussia believed their defeat at the hands of Napoleon was
caused by people thinking for themselves at times of stress on the
battlefield. They were going to see to it that scientifically this
couldn't happen. The lowest 94%, (that's some pyramid, right?) went
to volkschulen, where they were to learn harmony, obedience, freedom
from stressful thinking, how to follow orders. They worked out a
system that would in fact guarantee such results. In the volkschulen,
it was to divide whole ideas (which really simultaneously participate
in math, science, social thinking, language, and art) into subjects
which hardly had existed before, to divide the subjects further into
units; to divide the time into small enough units of time. With
enough variations in the course of a day, no one would know what was
going on. What they would learn is that someone else told you what to
think about, when to think about it, how long to think about it, when
to stop thinking about it, when to think of something else, and
someone else sets up the secrets. Now that was surely one of the most
brilliant discoveries in human history. Obviously, my sympathies are
not with it. It's evil in the genuine sense of the word.
Nevertheless, in the next thirty years a stream of American
dignitaries, including Horace Mann, traveled to Prussia. Whoever they
were, when they returned to the United States, they would say, "we
must have this Prussian system." Let's take "the empty child"
metaphor. You begin with Locke, the blank tablet, and go through
Rousseau 80-100 years later, who demonstrates how to write on that
blank tablet, and we are on the lip of the 19th century. So who
institutionalizes the thinking that is codified over the last 100
years? The Prussians. Prussia becomes a very prosperous state under
the Prussian's forced-schooling scheme. The King of Prussia, from a
dirt-poor country, with no natural resources, had subordinated labor
so precisely that Prussian industry was a world leader, and Prussian
scholarship was the world leader. In 1814 the first American, Edward
Everett, goes to Prussia to get a PhD. He eventually becomes the
governor of the state of Massachusetts [and spoke on the same
occasion when Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address]. By 1900 all
the PhD's in the United States were trained in Prussia. The degree
doesn't exist any other place. It's a German invention. It's based on
Francis Bacon's idea, in The New Atlantis [1627], of a world research
university that scans the world for babies and talent and draws it
into the university called Solomon's House, talent which is given to
the state. The state becomes invincible. It's impossible to revolt
against the state, because the state knows everything. Francis
Bacon's book was widely read by German mystics. By the 1840's Prussia
has a number of Solomon's Houses available that are utterly
democratic, or about as much as is possible in an imperfect world.
They are drawing talent and developing it for the purposes of state
power and stability. The PhD's come back to the United States and
they become, to a man, the Presidents of all our Universities, the
heads of all our research bureaus, and corporate research is done by
German Ph.D.'s. It would still be going on except for the First World
War. Obviously, there were dissident elements, and some of them had
power, who didn't want this development but weren't strong enough to
stop it. By the middle of the nineteenth century, Prussia had openly
acknowledged a new development in the sciences called "psycho-
physics" which argued that people were in fact complex machines.
Prussia institutionalizes this, and by the 1870's has created the new
science (or pseudo-science, if you're John Gatto) of experimental
psychology, the purpose of which is to discover what the nature of
this machine is and how to program it. American elite sons travel and
study at the feet of Wundt. They come back during the period 1880-
1910 and become the heads of Psychological Departments at Harvard,
University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, etc. and there aren't any
exceptions to this. Now Wundt is extremely prolific, his published
works run to about 67,000 pages. Wundt was an industry. He trains
[James McKeen] Cattell, who trains 322 PhD's after the Wundtian
system, in this next decade or so. These people set up the new
discipline of educational psychology, which becomes a big bucks
system. With the help of the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations the
system gets control of psychological testing for all the soldiers of
the First World War. Aside from the vast power they wielded, it is
the sorting mechanism of our whole economy. If we just talk about the
money that can be used to buy votes, to change people's minds, to
bludgeon down opposition, we're talking about an enormous amount of
money flowing out of psychological testing. All of the proponents of
which are Wundtian-trained and now head psychological departments in
the United States. By 1910 the one room school has been destroyed.
The factory school has been installed everywhere. Thanks to the
actions of the great foundations, a national system of schooling was
in place. The Carnegie credit guaranteed you'd have a high degree of
uniformity but something else did too. There was a shadow
organization in existence that has been well documented by mainstream
historians. It was called the Educational Trust and it was run out of
Stanford and Columbia's Teacher's College. It literally controlled
all the Superintendencies in the United States and it placed key
students for these jobs. The Superintendents had to guarantee, of
course, to hire for all sorts of out-of-class positions, so the
Educational Trust, in a very short time, became a very powerful
national shadow organization controlling all the jobs in schooling.
The source of this information is Managers of Virtue by David Tyack.
It is an elite mainstream history, one that is not challenged by the
school establishment, because Tyack is part of the school
establishment. He has no wish to overthrow the system but just doing
his job in documenting the existence of the "educational trust".
Prominent men and women, agents of foundations worked on one
legislature after another. Once it passed in New York, Massachusetts,
Wisconsin, and Michigan, it became easier and easier. Of course they
could demonstrate by then how useful it was to the legislature to
have this power over schooling and not to allow it to be locally
administrated. There were enormous contracts to be let. All the jobs
that had never existed before in schooling history, non-teaching
jobs, were now at the disposal of the legislature. We've
psychologized the schools by the end of the First World War. Now
that's in place. (I'm presenting this as though it was a sequence,
actually these things are happening simultaneously but it's easier to
see the necessity of having one solidified before another can really
get very far). The next step came in 1890, when Andrew Carnegie wrote
eleven essays, called The Gospel of Wealth. In it he said that
capitalism (free enterprise) was stone cold dead in the United
States. It had been killed by its own success. That men like himself,
Mr. Morgan, and Mr. Rockefeller now owned everything. They owned the
government. Competition was impossible unless they allowed it. Which,
human nature being what it is, was a problematical thing. Carnegie
said that this was a very dangerous situation, because eventually
young people will become aware of this and form clandestine
organizations to work against it. Ultimately they'll bring down this
edifice. You've got to read all eleven essays, sometimes several
times, and only then the majesty of the design emerges. Carnegie
proposed that men of wealth re-establish a synthetic free enterprise
system (since the real one was no longer possible) based on cradle-to-
grave schooling. The people who advanced most successfully in the
schooling that was available to everyone would be given licenses to
lead profitable lives, they would be given jobs and promotions and
that a large part of the economy had to be tied directly to
schooling. So if you ever have two years of your life you want to
spend investigating the American licensing industry, you need to look
at what occurred in the two decades following Carnegie's original
proposal (1890-1910). You're talking about the realization of
Carnegie's design. These licenses, which now extend to bus drivers
and all sorts of unlikely people who never had to be licensed are
then tied to forms of schooling. So they've reserved that part of the
work market. Through the cooperation of the business community a
large part of the rest of the jobs are reserved. Through the
cooperation of the government, many of the government position have
very precise schooling requirements. You can in fact control all of
the economy by tying jobs to schooling, and therefore you have a
motivation for people to learn what you want them to learn. Back in
the time of Sputnik, we get the dike opened and a blank check offered
to anyone who can come up with a way to make the thing work. From
1950 -1990 we get, in inflation-adjusted dollars, a quadruple
increase in funds available to schooling. The aspect of school as one
of the central parts of the economy, independent of its schooling
function, is now true in spades. Rivers of money are flowing back and
forth, always being augmented never getting being cut back. There is
an increase in the centralization, with fifteen thousand school
boards rather than forty thousand previously. One in every six
thousand Americans serving on school boards that are almost stripped
of their power. Whereas in the beginning of the century we have one
in every sixty-five Americans serving on school boards that still
have control of the purse. It hasn't yet been transferred to the
state legislature. An explosive intrusion of foundation agents is
wandering around the halls of state legislatures, key businesses, key
teacher colleges. They are writing a tight script to seal the
loopholes that have prevented Andrew Carnegie's dream from working
smoothly. You get these amazing constructions of organized
psychologizing that link together all the school years, all the
testing functions, the hiring functions, you get these things being
imposed without public knowledge. That's the dead give-away that
something isn't kosher. What we have now is a wide-open scene where
the concealment is thinner than it's ever been before. The naked
power is closer to the surface. My instincts are that it is the
identical groups that surfaced around 1905. One of the great
evidences of that is a semi-secret group that keeps its deliberations
utterly secret, called the Businessmen's Round Table, made up of the
200 largest corporations, announced a few years ago that it was going
to take a major seat at the National School policy table, and that it
was backing national testing, national examinations. Even among its
radical members there was a scheme to tie hiring and promotions to
school performance.

Are there solutions? Consider 1. Charter Schools
2. Homeschooling http://members.tripod.com/~ozpk/0000Homeschool
3. Unschooling http://members.tripod.com/~ozpk/0000Unschooling

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