Friday, June 10, 2005

Meat Grinder or Robots Are Us

Riggsveda over at Corrente has another good post up about education. This one talks about the impact of the attack on education funding (Pell Grants) on the lower and middle class but also introduces us to John Taylor Gatto and Alexander Inglis.
I know, for myself, that I really didn’t begin to become “educated” until I left the formal educational system and I suspect many others have that same sense. If I hadn’t been fortunate enough to be in Hawaii in the service at the right time I would not have connected to several people at the East-West Center that introduced me to the possibility of actual thought as separate from education. There is a very interesting quote from Gatto referencing Inglis’ on the actual functions of public education and I must say, when I think about them, they make absolute sense. It also strengthens my conviction that until you can separate yourself from the structured educational system you will not actually “learn” anything and will definitely not learn how to think or should I say “not think” and thereby open yourself to the actual universe. The post is quite worthwhile and the quote below from Gatto is worth some serious contemplation.

"Inglis breaks down the purpose - the actual purpose - of modem schooling into six basic functions, any one of which is enough to curl the hair of those innocent enough to believe the three traditional goals listed earlier:
1) The adjustive or adaptive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. This, of course, precludes critical judgment completely. It also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can't test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.
2) The integrating function. This might well be called "the conformity function," because its intention is to make children as alike as possible. People who conform are predictable, and this is of great use to those who wish to harness and manipulate a large labor force.
3) The diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student's proper social role. This is done by logging evidence mathematically and anecdotally on cumulative records. As in "your permanent record." Yes, you do have one.
4) The differentiating function. Once their social role has been "diagnosed," children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits - and not one step further. So much for making kids their personal best.
5) The selective function. This refers not to human choice at all but to Darwin's theory of natural selection as applied to what he called "the favored races." In short, the idea is to help things along by consciously attempting to improve the breeding stock. Schools are meant to tag the unfit - with poor grades, remedial placement, and other punishments - clearly enough that their peers will accept them as inferior and effectively bar them from the reproductive sweepstakes. That's what all those little humiliations from first grade onward were intended to do: wash the dirt down the drain.
6) The propaedeutic function. The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor."

Ask yourself. What will be more important as the wealthy in America continue to widen the gap between the have and the have nots? It seems to me that a subservient working class, under educated and unchallenging is just the ticket. As Riggsveda asks;

Eliminate meaningful education, eliminate the means to get one, and remove the books and other human communications that could enable one to get an education on one's own. Demonize the mere idea of being educated, and the people themselves will do the rest. The fat cats can sit back and let the money roll in, while the endless supply of coolies keep coming down the pipeline.

Worth a little thought I think.

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