Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: 'An Underground History of American Education'

An Underground History of American Education
by John Taylor Gatto

This book is just about the best on American "education" (1).

Mr. Gatto begins with the chapter "The Way it Used to Be." The most important thing to me, after reviewing Dr. Rothbard's Conceived in Liberty series is that Mr. Gatto vindicated Dr. Rothbard.

There was very little formal schooling in the Colonies. Children were taught at home for the most part, often for very short periods per day. Much education was obtained by pitching in and helping. Without all the modern conveniences we now have, there was precious little free time. People were allowed to, being free, in fact, had to think for themselves and come up with their own solutions to problems. Children could, in fact, had to grow up on time rather than be forced into a state of artificial childhood until eighteen or any other arbitrarily picked age.
Chapter Two, "An Angry Look at Modern Schooling," begins with a picture page of "Four Architects of Modern Forced Schooling." Who would they be? The old establishment darlings: Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller Sr., and Henry Ford.

These are all familiar names. The establishment genuflects and the libertarians glare. So this is no surprise. These industrialists wanted to train a workforce that would be docile and compliant, and would be willing to perform the same tasks over and over. School, and extended childhood, would be the training ground. The lunatic Keynesian idea of "overproduction" was pressed into service as a way to curtail independent (small business) production (2).
It is very difficult to believe that all of this was on purpose. While it is true that the division of labor and mass production are keys to universal (or at least widespread) prosperity, the whole thing was being perverted to dumb down the majority and gravitate wealth to the establishment.
Needless to say, "education" was re-defined. It was to to have zero to do with individual independence. Rather, it was to be "a means to achieve important economic and social goals of a national character." It would be centralized at the federal level. The individual would not count, and if the individual held any opinions at all they would be controlled. There was anticipation of the widespread compulsory drugging of children with Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs, supposedly for the benefit of "society" (3). I repeat, the individual is left with nothing
This was on purpose! Mr. Gatto, however, does not seem to think harm was intended. The powers that be thought this was the natural order of things. Some individuals (government officials) are better and know what is best for the rest of us. Why people believe this is a mystery to me, but they do. Their premise apparently is that society (or the group) is more important than the individual, and that individuals, particularly children, are the state's property.

Of course, there are natural elites. Some individuals are particularly talented. Einstein, Edison, and Bach come to mind, along with many others. The Parable of the Talents is true. Their talents make the world a better place to live in.

But this is a far cry from allowing the establishment to groom its own to rule over us all. The establishment did, and does, not see it that way. They would have us believe that these ruling elites are God-ordained (4).
That this plan was on purpose was entirely overt. In 1900, Indiana University actually had a course for hand-picked students, in which they were specifically trained to become part of the ruling class. One of these was Ellwood P. Cubberly, who became a leader in the world of schooling (5). Cubberly is mentioned by Gatto from time to time, and it is always horrifying.
By mid-twentieth century (and I can remember a few rude awakenings), the idea of natural, God-given individual rights, even the idea of a free will, had gone along the wayside. During subsequent "booms" (inflationary booms as we know), while purchasing power went up for some, it declined for most as prices tend to rise before wages do, showing the drift of wealth toward establishment interests (6).
People raised on government schooling and Dick-and-Jane look-say reading, the inferior replacement for the better phonics reading, never had a clue.
As far as math goes, it is almost the same story (7). The "new mathematics" began in my locale after I was in grade school, so I really don't know how the "new" math differs from the "old" math. I only know that there is only one correct answer to a math problem. If you multiply X times Y, or if you divide A by B, there is only one correct answer. And, I do not believe that a student should use a calculator or consult another student when learning how to solve math problems. People need to be able to do this on their own, even when we all have helpful tools, even if only to sharpen mental skills.
But today, the elimination of that and good reading only diminishes the ability to think. On top of that, I often see classrooms on TV where students are sitting in groups, placing their desks together to make a table for four or more. The fact that some have to turn around to see the blackboard is bad enough, but they work in groups rather than on their own as individuals. Poison. That is all I can say. Poison.
The whole curriculum began to be dumbed down in the early part of the twentieth century. Needless to say, economics was dropped. Honest-to-goodness history was no longer to be taught. Possibly history was my worst subject because of the wars, names, and dates. Trust me, Murray Rothbard did not write our texts. "Social Studies" was introduced. I remember taking this is the 7th grade and calling it "Social Slops." Maybe I was on to something! The United Nations was praised as a savior, and government, of course, took the lead part. Slops? I'd like to empty that slop pail! The thing is, real history is important mainly because if people do not understand the consequences of past mistakes, these mistakes will be repeated.
Wouldn't it be so much better if the majority understood why without an armed citizenry and without an army of soldiers who were able to think for themselves we would have had no America? Maybe if they understood that, they would understand why our wars and meddling abroad are a, maybe the, root cause of problems there and problems here!
As Underground progressed, in Part Two, Gatto outlined the history of American education from the late nineteenth century on. All of the big names were familiar establishment names as we see the death of actual education.
He also pointed out the blows dealt by the establishment to the family. This began shortly after the American Revolution (9). It must have been difficult not to be fooled as the rights and welfare of children as individuals was used as rationale.

We saw earlier from E.G. West that early defenders of freedom made the mistake of assigning to government the task of protecting children because of their inability to protect themselves. This was the camel's nose under the tent. Of course, the rights of small children need to be protected, and sometimes tiny children need to be protected from themselves. This is what parents are for, and if parents cannot or will not take care of their children, that is what extended families, friends, churches, and others are for.

But government's function is to protect the rights of all individuals. What the freedom defenders did was a mistake because government's protection of children grew into a grotesque plethora of "minor status" laws being applied not only to children but to young adults, as we have seen. Compulsory school attendance is probably one of the earliest "minor" laws.

While true education was being destroyed, so was the family. Parental rights were completely taken away and given to the state, per Gatto (10), but then some of these rights were given back as privileges "for the convenience of the state."

The family, in my opinion, was designed by God for the purpose of raising children. I do not know of a better way to "train up a child in the way he should go," meaning to raise a thinking, independent, self-starting individual who can pull his or her weight. Is there a better way? I can think of only two other ways to raise a child:

1. To keep the child in a group setting, like an orphanage. There, the child becomes part of a group. There will be rules, very strict rules and lots of them. There will be conformity and obedience, and probably not much originality. It would be like a public school, only 24/7/365. Structure is good, but only in measured amounts. Also "free" food, clothing, and shelter will teach dependence on someone else for these things.

2. To allow the child to run wild like a street urchin. The child will have no way to know the difference between right and wrong. He will not understand why it is wrong to simply take whatever is not nailed down. In this case, too, conformity and obedience is bound to happen, especially if a street gang or a pimp takes the child in, taking advantage of the child's need to belong.

What else is there? The family, and the establishment has been trying to destroy it for over a century. The nuclear (and extended) family is not good because it is traditional. It has become traditional because it is good. It works for the individual child and the individual adult better than any other institution. True education takes place in a family setting, so the family seemed to be an impediment to the establishment.

Of course, I have a couple of serious issues with the traditional family. Both of these issues are man-made rather than God-made in my opinion. Many Christians disagree with me. One of these issues is the headship of the husband/father. I believe that God created men as a class the same as women as a class. As individuals, people are unique and there are no two even nearly alike, so each married couple needs to decide who will be responsible for what in the home, based on the individual aptitudes of each party. Traditional gender roles might have been appropriate decades ago when certain jobs required great physical strength that most most women do not have, but today they make no sense, especially when there are no pre-born or newborn infants involved. The other issue is child discipline. Children have rights. One of these rights is the right not to be hit. Spanking is hitting. So is slapping and swatting. A rose by any other name ... It does not work anyway.

Well, enough of that rant. The establishment wants the family destroyed, and wants to fill the vacuum with more and more government schooling. The state is assuming Parens Patriae powers, meaning the power of old-time kings, the power of primary father (11).

And, true to form, government schools are excessively strict (according to some; it really varies). Until fairly recently, schools in most states were allowed to mete out corporal punishment to students. According to a recent newscast (March, 2011), twenty states still allow it, and a very long, thick, heavy paddle resembling a canoe paddle was shown. These floggings could be excessive; in fact, severe injuries, even deaths have been recorded. I used to hear that if you received corporal punishment at school, there would be a re-run at home. There is no way in the universe I would send a child to a government school, but if for some reason I did, and some tax-eating bureaucrat laid a hand (or implement) on that child, there would be another beating all right, but it would not involve the child.

Enough of that rant too. Education was becoming more centralized (12). John Dewey, one of the worst establishment big-shots (his name was a household word in mid-century) heralded the end of the "old individualism" and the beginning of the "new individualism" that was actually thinly disguised collectivism (13).

Textbooks and children's books are published mostly in New York City and Boston (14). We know that New York State and Massachusetts are two of the most socialistic establishment strongholds in the country. The content of the books would now reflect the establishment's conformist and collectivist views. There was a focus on the child's need for freedom, but this was a mirage. The separation of the child's individuality from the family gave the establishment the chance it needed to mold the child (15).

The thing is, small children, and big ones too, even young adults need the feeling of belonging, need guidance and mentoring, and they will get it one way or the other. If they don't get it at home from a family as God intended, they will get it from other sources, such as a street gang or the establishment. Of course the establishment had itself in mind. The child was to be tricked into a feeling of freedom and self-direction towards what he or she wanted, but was actually being guided along to what the planners wanted.

Maybe this is what was meant by Dewey's "new individualism." Children, young adults, and parents would have to be "dumbed down" not to see it.

Gatto has a lot more to say about Dewey later on. It will shock you as it did me if you do not already know all about John Dewey.

Gatto continues by giving a short history of Prussia and the Prussian method, after which our school system is modeled. Very briefly, in the beginning, Prussian authorities wanted to train the vast majority of people to be content with their (impoverished) station in life, while children of the well-connected rich would be the only ones to receive a real education. These would be groomed for important positions. Later, universal "education" would be training to obey orders and to not question authority. The vast majority were to be groomed for the boring assembly line work. Again, those who did extremely well could wind up in officialdom.

Most people did learn to read and write (after a fashion), and those who wanted to give the less fortunate a chance thought universal schooling was a good thing. Of course, it would be if it were the universal opportunity to become educated, opening doors for one to go as far as one's talent and ambition will take him. However, universal government schooling does not do that, as we know. The "well-schooled" populace is gullible. Look at the mainstream "news"! And, look at our elected officials. Do you think G.W. Bush or Barack Obama would have gotten anywhere near the White House had the public not been gullible?

It was that way in old Prussia, too. Our superb education here was uprooted for that!

Government schooling was set up in such a way that those who have a hierarchical, authoritarian mentality wind up in positions that encourage them to believe they are better. The rest of us are taught to conform, obey, and look up to experts. The ones who decide if you may have a gun, if your doctor's medical marijuana recommendation is honored, if your tax return is audited, if you get custody of your child, if you are pulled over by the police, if you get any of a plethora of required permits or licenses, or if you have broken any of thousands of rules are those who are in high-paid government positions, and the rest of us, we whose money pays them, are at their mercy.

That is the "American System" (mercantilism) Henry Clay wanted, the same system our Founders threw off when the American Revolution was won. But it is back, thanks largely to Prussian-style schooling, because the American people cannot think for themselves. It was designed with the needs of big, well-connected businessmen in mind. Their need was for automatons on their assembly lines (16).

Not only that, very generous welfare and entitlements keep an increasing number of people dependent on the system. Unless "ObamaCare" is repealed, all of us will become dependent on the federal government. If this is not an incentive to toe the line, I don't know what is. We all get sick. Right now, April, 2011, there is widespread panic about a government "shutdown" if a new budget is not passed. Many believe they will lose benefits during this "shutdown" and they have no idea what they are going to do. They are dependent

The needs of government officials are met. They need an obedient citizenry that is anxious for everyone to pay their "fair share" in taxes so as to keep "essential government services," including the schools, going.

As I drafted this in February, 2011, this "obedient citizenry" is extremely anxious to make sure that government employees, including teachers, can keep their very generous benefits and strong unions despite the fact that states are broke. Government employee benefits, and salaries in some cases, are so lucrative that even with the reductions they are being asked to accept they will still do better than private sector workers. But some of the things government employees and their puppy-dog supporters are saying about the advocates of fiscal responsibility cannot be repeated here. (That is, I refuse to use that kind of language.) I guess these obedient good citizens believe that government employees, who are providing "essential services" are better than us private-sector peons and deserve to be pampered. Of course nothing is said about essential private sector workers in struggling small businesses, many of whom have very few benefits, and worry that their employers may go under at any time (often at the hands of government).

The difference between education and schooling has become evident.

Also, the establishment, at the time Gatto is discussing, seemed to see the bogus Keynesian economics coming. The myth of "overproduction" was openly discussed. The "overproduction" by innovative, thinking people was causing the "overproduction" of goods and services. The small entrepreneur had to go, or at least be placed under centralized control by licensing legislation (17). People would not have been about to put up with that without mass schooling for obedience.

Right about now, I am having an "aha!" moment. School vouchers have created a lot of controversy. (I am thinking back to Lancaster too.) This is a system whereby people who want to send their children to a private school, but cannot afford to, can apply to the government for a voucher to help pay for tuition. At first I loved the idea. It would help keep families out of poverty and also give students a chance to learn how to think for themselves. However, it was during the first Harry Browne, Libertarian for President, campaign in 1996 I realized this was wrong (18). Nobody wants to see doors open for the less fortunate more than I do. Most poor children in urban areas do not have any John Taylor Gattos to teach them. Most of their parents have all they can do to earn enough for food, clothing, and shelter. So, many poor youngsters are out of luck. Another Joseph Lancaster is not about to come along to help them and, even if he did, government stifles just about every enterprise like the Lancaster school.

So, these vouchers, why am I now suspicious? While the voucher system may be a notch or two better than no vouchers, it is far from ideal. Browne points out that a new government bureaucracy would need to be set up to administer the vouchers and to decide which parents would receive them and which private schools would be allowed to accept them for reimbursement. Also, the bureaucrats would have more to say about home-school use of the vouchers.

Vouchers are a Trojan horse into the world of private education, and could well destroy it. So, why was this an "aha!" moment?

John Taylor Gatto points out (19) that establishment giant J.P. Morgan suggested that one way to defuse dissent was to infiltrate and subsidize it! Vouchers are a subsidy, and with subsidies come rules. Whenever there is a ruling class, there will be the beginnings of insurrection against it. Infiltration is Fabian socialism.

I have seen it with my own eyes. At many Libertarian Party gatherings, I have "sniffed out" establishmentarians. Usually it is very subtle, but the more radical the libertarian, the more likely the libertarian is to know such interlopers are lurking around.

And I am a radical! Make no mistake about that!

Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was a great help to the establishment in general and the Fabians in particular (20). This theory, actually still in the hypothesis category, expounded the over-reaching importance of genetics in determining what a person is cut out to do, and even how, or if, a person thinks. The hypothesis gives rise to racism, sexism, and all manner of collectivism. It aided the establishment in justifying the keeping of the vast majority in "their place." This is in contrast to the old way the Founders envisioned. They believed that at least some individuals should be allowed to go as far as their individual talents and ambitions would take them, and real education was available to that end. To the Fabians, Darwin was gospel (21). I guess they believed that the elite were some kind of pedigreed dog and the rest of us were mongrels, with no concept of individual rights or even individual responsibilities, except the responsibility to obey and pay homage to the state.

It's funny ... peculiar, that is. If it is genetically determined that the individual is a certain way, why do we need laws to mandate that? For example, if women are genetically pre-determined to be submissive homebodies, and men to be the fearless leaders out in the work-a-day world, why were these laws on the books dictating gender roles in marriage and "protecting" women from certain lines of work? If we need those laws, do we not also need laws mandating eating, sleeping, and breathing? Why do we need laws telling people to do what comes "naturally" ?No establishmentarian ever answered that question. If there has to be some sort of law to keep someone in "their place," then maybe that is not actually the person's true place.

Gatto mentions in passing something that is really important today, and that is the succession of crises that cause the people to rally behind paternalistic government. As a tiny child, I used to run to my parents whenever I got a scare. Adults should not scare easily, if at all. However, the crises that have occurred, the September 11 attacks being the worst, have caused the American people to throw their freedoms away like so much trash. Some of these crises have been "false flags." These crises have caused a "ratcheting up" of government. When the crisis is over, government backs off again, but not completely. Robert Higgs has written extensively about this (22). Between crises, in the mainstream news, it seems like they are always talking about the possibility of terrorist attacks or environmental catastrophes. If it's not one darn thing it's another. Of course, the situation in Japan right now (April, 2011) is serious, and real answers are obviously needed, but "solutions" to these events always seem to come from government!

Next, in Gatto's Underground, we have the "Gary Plan" of about a century ago (23). The school superintendent in Gary, Indiana, was brainstorming some ideas for progressive schooling. It was his idea to shuffle students from one classroom and subject to another at the sound of a bell. That is usual today, of course, and I didn't half mind; after all I could get up and walk every hour or so which was welcome. But, Mr. Gatto points out, this forces the student, and the teacher, to suddenly drop everything they are doing, like it or not, and go on to something else.

The "Gary Plan" also reminded me of the "Obama Plan," to lengthen the school day and the school year. This way, school is all-pervading in children's lives (24), leaving less time for home, family, and "hanging," the latter being part of growing up.

Not only did the establishment need to do this to keep students from learning how to think, they also needed to fix the teachers. Teachers had always been role models, stressing the development of intellect, so their hands needed to be tied. Bigger schools replaced small and one-room schools, and bureaucrats moved in to run the show (25). When I was in elementary school, the principal was also a teacher. There were six or seven women there and all of them were teachers. The only on-site adult who did not teach was the janitor. Well, maybe even he taught; at least the class obeyed him the time or two it was indicated. I cannot say it was a very good school. It was not strict at all as schools go, but then there was a parent at home who taught proper school behavior. Everyone was pretty happy. However, we were not being taught how to think, so I cannot say it was a very good school. It was better than most. That is all.

But, at least in those days there were small schools that were not over-run with bureaucrats (and, nowadays police!) and teachers had a lot of latitude.

Now, added to bureaucratic control are standardized tests (26). In order to see that students score well in these tests, a teacher must teach the material that is likely to be on them.

And, of course, local oversight of schools was replaced by centralized state and federal oversight. Local school boards disappeared and parents were left out of decision-making. Students fell through the cracks.

Then there was a move toward homogeneity (27). Immigrants were regarded as a threat to the establishment, as was a high birth rate among the "lower class." We know, of course that, today, birth control and murder of the unborn are sacred cows. This was all part of the elitist agenda, as was occupational licensure, which was extremely harmful to the lower and middle classes.

The real purpose of occupational licensure and business licensing is to make it more difficult for non-establishment workers and entrepreneurs to better their lives, thus opening more doors to the already well-connected. Small, independent businesses failed partly because of these barriers, giving more business, and thus more profit, to the establishment. And, as anyone who has not been off-planet for the last half-century knows, licenses cost plenty and they are a real cash cow for government. Additionally everyone knows, or should know, that licenses are part and parcel of the system. In fact license requirements are taken for granted by the uneducated as though they were part of some natural law. Actually, in many states the right to start a business is regarded as a "privilege" rather than the natural right it actually is.

So much for the "land of opportunity" beckoning to impoverished immigrants. Of course, nowadays with our lax welfare system, illegal immigration is indeed a problem which needs to be addressed by better border security. But this problem and the welfare problem (and the unemployment problem that is causing so much anguish today) both stem from barriers to work and from overtaxation. This is really so plain, but in-the-box thinking on the part of the majority who have been schooled by the government cannot see it.

Another assault on the not-so-wealthy was eugenics (28). This is normally associated with Hitler's Germany, but it was used here too. Some, who were labeled "feeble minded," were destined for sterilization and/or institutionalization, whether they liked it or not. Some of these were without doubt people with very low I.Q.s, but some were merely non-conformists. There were certainly some who were actually gifted! All, though, had rights, which were ignored. This was another nail in the coffin of individualism and freedom.

Eugenics gives rise to not only Darwin's "theory" of evolution, but also racism. The idea is that intelligence is inherited through the genes. Of course it is to some extent, but this helped to create the myth that Anglo-Saxon Americans were a superior race. Well, I am one myself and I can say that this is a crock. In the early twentieth century, white anglos were told to multiply so as to preserve the race. Now, how smart would that be? That so many of them were snookered into this malarky is evidence that they are not really so swift.

Meanwhile, as already mentioned, minority growth was being curtailed.

It was in the interest of homogeneity, furthering the mass of people over the individual. White Anglo dominance failed as evidenced by the great variety of ethnicities in the country today. I really don't care, as long as they are here legally and as long as individuals are free.

Gatto's Chapter 11 in Underground (29) lists all the grotesque ways the establishment used to get everybody in lockstep in the early twentieth century before World War I (and following chapters continue this). In fact, getting into war was on that list, along with the outlawing of private education in some states. I won't go into that, but some of these methods are being used now.

The Rockefellers and Carnegies, establishment big-shots, spent more money on schools than the government did! (30). The idea, obviously, was to exert influence over the schools. It was billed as "scientifically humane, thoroughly utopian" (31). Of course it was actually thoroughly neanderthal

There was a lot of propaganda, and this included the idea of hereditary societies, such as Daughters (and Sons) of the American Revolution. While these might have been descendants of the Sons of Liberty (32), I do not see any common ground. The same goes for the Society of Mayflower Descendants (33). While I do take pride in this ancestry, really, ultimately, what use is it?

Certain characteristics do come to a person through the genes, but I do not think one's general way of thinking does, at least not very much. It has more to do with one's surroundings and what one decides to do with what one has.

But, this turn-of-the-century propaganda was leaning far toward elitism; those who had these magic ancestries were better and were qualified to be the decision-makers (read, go into government work) and (by the way) to receive huge sums. The rest must conform and obey, as they were being schooled to do.

It reminds me of old hereditary dynasties. (It also reminds me of the Bush clan, and the Rockefellers and Kennedys ...) What a throwback! And, to think this was called "Americanization"!(34)

There was a great deal of effort to trace Anglo-Saxon ancestry back to common ancestry with the Aryan race, implying a past "super race" (35). I think maybe there is a common ancestry (I couldn't care less), judging from physical resemblance. But, why would this be a big deal? Unless one is bending over backwards to demonstrate superiority of one race (usually one's own; did you ever notice that?) and the inferiority of the rest, I do not see why this would be so all-fired important.

This whole chapter, at the end of the day, casts further doubt on Darwin's theory. The theory (actually a hypothesis) has been used for a number of collectivist and authoritarian causes. The research to uncover any common ancestry between the Anglos and Aryans was done prior to Darwin. I have to wonder if the sacred cow of "evolution" as applied to humans was not cooked up to vindicate both this "Americanization" stuff and Aryan supremacy in later Germany.

Big business and big government were of one mind, and they still are, as we know. Decisions were (and I believe still are) made behind closed doors, and the subsequent appearance of disagreement was an act, just as is the appearance of disagreement between the two branches of the Establishment Party, the Democrats and the Republicans. Of course, government schooling decisions followed the closed-door decisions (37).

As the book goes on, many times the point is made that in ever so many ways the establishment tried to extinguish thought.

And, then, there was a real blockbuster! The name John Dewey has come up a few times, and I can remember his name being a buzzword in establishment education circles.

John Dewey lived in China for two years in the 1920s. That was before Mao, of course, but there were the beginnings of the Maoist movement, and its leaders were influenced by Dewey. The influence was pronounced enough that Mr. Gatto calls John Dewey "a godfather of Maoist China" (38).

I guess that says it all about establishmentarian John Dewey.

It does not stop there. In the early part of the twentieth century, Dewey and other establishment people and foundations began a new field called "psychiatry," and made sure it was socialized. A White House Conference on Education warned that a psychological time bomb was ticking in the schools (39).

I did touch upon the psychiatric system in previous essays, and how people can be dragooned into allowing their children to be forced to take psychiatric drugs, and how children and adults can be imprisoned in psychiatric "hospitals" and drugged, even electroshocked, against their wills. An organization called "Mindfreedom" (40) is hard at work bring this grave injustice to the attention of people and helping people who are trapped by the system. Mindfreedom accepts no government or drug company funds. They operate on contributions from people like you and me.

Then, in mid-century, another White House Conference, this one on Children and Youth, warned that mental disabilities were being overlooked, and government-funded agencies needed to be set up for people of all ages. Individual self-responsibility was kaput. Students were to be "bent" for the benefit of society (41).

The turning point was the 1965 passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It allocated substantial federal funding for psychological and psychiatric programs in schools. Included was teaching for what was later known as the New World Order (42).

So, your tax money is being used to propagandize the impressionable young, whether you like it or agree with the propaganda. I personally do not agree and do not like it one bit.

Later, Gatto points out something that is really apparent. Along with the move toward a longer school day and a longer school year, the school system keeps a record on every student. This goes much further than academic records. It includes attitudes and behavior (43). I am sure there are subjective comments in those records, and I am equally sure that the student is barred from amending, possibly even seeing, his record.

I wonder what would happen if I wrote to demand my record. Would I even get a reply? Would received records, if any, be complete? Is it even worth a postage stamp?

Alexander Inglis and his candid book, Principles of Secondary Education, was re-visited (44). According to Gatto, this 1918 book said "that the new schools were being expressly created to serve a command economy and a command society ... " (emphasis mine) (45). Some of the sorry aspects of these new schools included conformity (of course) for the purpose of predictability of an individual's behavior, and what would actually be a "glass ceiling," whereby students would be "guided" into areas that the establishment wanted them to be in, and would be allowed to go no further. A very few would be hand picked to become future leaders.

The Inglis book is out of print and I could not obtain it for this essay.

Inglis was a well-known figure in his day. In fact he was a Harvard professor, where the later (maybe their tenures overlapped) Harvard President James Bryant Conant wrote The Child, The Parent and the State in 1949 and The American High School Today in 1959. He was also a major player in the establishment, and his latter book played a role in upsizing schools and school districts, and convincing skeptics who were beginning to realize that the new schools did not truly educate (46).

The whole idea, of course, was to prevent the best and brightest from becoming self-reliant entrepreneurs and turning them into loyal corporate employees (47), and the way to do that is to extend compulsory schooling through grade twelve, and extend childhood until age eighteen or even twenty-one.

Sadly, it is working. And, what a sorry mess our unfree country is.
(1) John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education, Oxford Village Press, New York, 2003.
(2) Ibid. P. 38.
(3) Ibid. P. 40, 41.
(4) Ibid. P. 47.
(5) Ibid. P. 46, 47.
(6) Ibid. P. 48.
(7) Ibid. P. 98.
(8) Ibid. P. 108.

(9) Ibid. P. 120, 121.

(10) Ibid. P. 120.

(11) Ibid. P. 121.

(12) Ibid. P. 124.

(13) Ibid. P. 125.

(14) Ibid. P. 126.

(15) Ibid. P. 126.

(16) Ibid. P. 153.

(17) Ibid. P. 166, 167.

(18) Harry Browne, Why Government Doesn't Work, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1995, P. 116.

(19) Gatto, Underground, P. 176.

(20) Ibid. P. 178, 179.

(21) Ibid. P. 180.

(22) Robert Higgs, Crisis and Leviathan, Oxford University Press, USA, 1989. 

(23) Gatto, P. 187, 188.

(24) Ibid. P. 189.

(25) Ibid. P. 193.

(26) Ibid. P. 193.

(27) Ibid. P. 221, 222.

(28) Ibid. P. 222, 223.

(29) Ibid. P. 221-236.

(30) Ibid. P. 237.

(31) Ibid. P. 238.

(32) Ibid. P. 244.

(33) Ibid. P. 242.

(34) Ibid. P. 243.

(35) Ibid. P. 245, 246.

(36) Ibid. P. 237-257, "Daughters of the Barons of Runnemede."

(37) Ibid. P. 251.

(38) Ibid. P. 275-277.

(39) Ibid. P. 281, 282.


(41) Gatto, P. 283.

(42) Ibid. P. 284.

(43) Ibid. P. 307, 308.

(44) Ibid. P. 320, 321.

(45) Ibid. P. 321.

(46) Ibid. P. 321.

(47) Ibid. P. 322.

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