Sunday, May 31, 2009

Enforced Education in a Dominator Society

The purpose of enforced and standardized education is to socialize children to the Dominator reality. Why do we believe that enforced education is beneficial? Why has education resisted the push to privatization? Why is there a consistent and growing insistence on standardization, so that everyone learns the same things in the same ways?

Children are herded into institutions, restricted in their access to the natural world, taught to obey, and limited in what they may learn and do. This sounds like prison to me. What are the effects of the disconnect from nature on children’s health and psychological well-being? Why is obedience to authority an essential part of our children’s education? Why are children kept from learning what they want and need to learn?

Many children—and also adults who were hauled through the public education system—associate education with pain and hurt. Their inborn passion to know and master the world is crushed, so they no longer desire to learn. They end their education as soon as possible, limiting what they learn to what they have to know in order to function and make a living. This contradicts the stated goals of public education to create lifelong learners. It frustrates teachers and students alike, and produces graduates who do not question the messages of media, government and corporation. It trains good followers, but it is a path away from wisdom.

Childhood is full of the pain and hurt of enforced education. Children grow up to use their pain in the service of their masters: to kill and die in wars, to consume and produce like cattle or machines. Our suffering is transformed into money and power for the Dominators.

I work in the public education system. I wear the face of the oppressor every day and I am sickened to watch the children in their cages, their spirits pacing restlessly back and forth. What is this doing to me?


mamiel said...

Good post. I am a big fan of John Taylor Gatto's book, "Dumbing us Down" which basically says the same thing- that modern education is about forcing homgeniety on children and killing their spirit. Bizarrely, he is a libertarian (I am not) and an award-winning former NYC high school teacher, but his book makes so much sense. Modern education was basically designed to pump out obedient factory workers.

puny human said...

Good resource! John Taylor Gatto also wrote An Undeground History of American Education. Alfie Kohn and Neil Postman have written excellent critiques. You may also be aware that part of the Bush legacy is a tightening of the noose around education, using the so-called No Child Left Behind Act. Bush-related economic hardship is causing districts to consolidate at an increased rate, as well, adding to standardization and the loss of community control.

Homeschooling has been a viable option, but the states are starting to crack down on homeschooling. See California as an example. The Christians and the hippies are holding the line on homeschooling!

EmilyJean said...

Oddly, both my kids (who are now working full-time) are looking forward to going back to school in the fall. They like learning better than work! Maybe the earlier grades should be more like college?