Monday, 20 April 2009

Weapons of Mass Instruction

Uh-oh. I'm reading another education book. This time I'm going to have to make sure I don't infringe on copyright with the number of fantastic passages I want to share. But I'll start with this one, from the prologue of the book "Weapons of Mass Instruction" by John Taylor Gatto:
"Ellwood P. Cubberley (dean of Standford's School of Education and in charge of publishing elementary school texts) wrote in his book "Public School Administration (1922) that "Our schools are...factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned...And that is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down."

It's perfectly obvious from our society today what those specifications were. Maturity has by now been banished from nearly every aspect of our lives. Easy divorce laws have removed the need to work at relationships; easy credit has removed the need for fiscal self-control; easy entertainment has removed the need to learn to entertain oneself; easy answers have removed the need to ask questions. We have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgments and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults."

I don't think his statement about "perfectly obvious specifications" is too harsh at all. Children spend the majority of their time in school, therefore the majority of their thinking patterns and behavioural habits would be learned there. I have some serious reservations about the current school system, but I don't think I need to delve into educations specifics to convince anyone. You can tell the tree by the fruit it bears, and it's safe to say the fruit today lacks in so many ways. Should we not be inspired to reformation simply by seeing the undesired product?


Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm so glad you're reading this book! I'm so eager for dialogue :)

Anonymous said...

Yay #2:

I'm so glad my comment finally worked :)