Friday, November 18, 2005

Participatory Democracy Put To The Sword - John Taylor Gatto

Looks like an interesting book.
I think Blair watchers should go take a look. Our new education reform proposals look pretty much the same kind of mind numbing corporate take-over plans the Americans thought up in the sixties.

Thanks for the comments Marco Polo.

Participatory Democracy Put To The Sword - John Taylor Gatto: "Take them one by one and savor each. Designing Education, produced by the Education Department, redefined the term 'education' after the Prussian fashion as 'a means to achieve important economic and social goals of a national character.' State education agencies would henceforth act as on-site federal enforcers, ensuring the compliance of local schools with central directives. Each state education department was assigned the task of becoming 'an agent of change' and advised to 'lose its independent identity as well as its authority,' in order to 'form a partnership with the federal government.'

The second document, the gigantic Behavioral Science Teacher Education Project, outlined teaching reforms to be forced on the country after 1967. If you ever want to hunt this thing down, it bears the U.S. Office of Education Contract Number OEC-0-9-320424-4042 (B10). The document sets out clearly the intentions of its creators—nothing less than 'impersonal manipulation' through schooling of a future America in which 'few will be able to maintain control over their opinions,' an America in which 'each individual receives at birth a multi-purpose identification number' which enables employers and other controllers to keep track of underlings and to expose them to direct or subliminal influence when necessary. Readers learned that 'chemical experimentation' on minors would be normal procedure in this post-1967 world, a pointed foreshadowing of the massive Ritalin interventions which now accompany the practice of forced schooling."


Blogger Marco Polo said...

Boy, that was quick! Well-spotted. The book really does repay the effort to wade through the historical stuff (interlaced with interesting personal anecdotes from the author's own childhood and days as a teacher). As you say, it puts what is happening now in pretty clear perspective, and perspective is something direly lacking. Gatto himself points out that a clear (if little stated) purpose of compulsory schooling (and this would apply to the UK too perhaps) is to a) remove children from their parents and b) (by extension) remove them from their past (Gatto spent time investigating the apparently unrelated and boring subject of adoption policies in the early part of the 20th century). The past which provides the perspective. The result is alienated youth with little or no sense of how yesterday predestinates today, or how today influences tomorrow. Can we see beyond the personalities (Bush, Blair, etc) and see the common theme of social control and engineering, a theme which goes back to Plato's "Republic".

3:58 am  
Blogger Nick said...

"education" has always been connected with social control. Even the fairy tales told to the aritocrats in 17 c France were hifghly political. When they were first written down they were to be used as instruments of social control.

Illich wrote deschooling society in the seventies and John Holt wrote "How children learn and how children fail"

I am not sure there is all that much new here. However, it is maybe about time there was a critique of education from the left again. It has hardly made a sqeek against New Labour fascism so far.

11:13 am  

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