How Schools Prevent You from Achieving Great Things

school sucks

The original article was posted on Apocalypse Cometh. It is so good I had to re-post it here (after a bit of editing).

Take at hazard one hundred children of several educated generations and one hundred uneducated children of the people and compare them in anything you please; in strength, in agility, in mind, in the ability to acquire knowledge, even in morality — and in all respects you are startled by the vast superiority on the side of the children of the uneducated.
Count Leo Tolstoy, Education and Children (1862)

What many people don’t realize is that what is happening in our society today, with its decay and eventual collapse, has been planned for more than a century. With this article, I hope to at least give some background of how this reality we now live in was conceived of, why it was necessary for the advance of the Industrial Revolution, and who’s responsible. Certain individuals, families and corporate foundations have been at this for a long time; they started by introducing their ideas of instituting compulsory education at the beginning of the twentieth century and were successful in their pursuits. The results of their actions resulted in the public school systems that are in place today. Now, they are at their endgame with the drugging and ostracization of the little boys in our society in the twenty-first. They have not been shy about telling us all that the end goal is a general population that accepts its almost feudal existence in supplication to the government-corporate elite. I think just the quotes and excerpts from past speeches and mission statements from the guilty parties will be worth it as long as you get a little taste of how the twentieth century was the worst in human history, when it comes down to advancing the elevation of our species.

Controlling the Mass Through Education

This is from the first mission statement of Rockefeller’s General Education Board, in a document called Occasional Letter Number One (1906):

In our dreams … people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple … we will organize children … and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the huge amount of wealth it generated for some significant families such as the Rockefellers, Fords, Carnegies, Morgans and probably no more than two dozen more, the heads of these families turned their attention to how they could proceed to protect their wealth and their status in society, and they turned to this task with a vengeance. Huge, well-funded foundations were established by these families to research and fund projects that would advance their aims, all cloaked in the guise of philanthropy:

How can a nation endure that deliberately seeks to rouse ambitions and aspirations in the oncoming generations which … cannot possibly be fulfilled? … How can we justify our practice in schooling the masses in precisely the same manner as we do those who are to be leaders? Is human nature so constituted that those who fail will readily acquiesce in the success of their rivals?
– James Russell, dean of Columbia Teachers’ College, at a National Education Association’s convention (1908)

Nicholas Murray Butler, one of the founders of Columbia Teachers’ College, was tied closely to the Carnegies. So it’s not surprising that the education of teachers in this college would follow the philosophy of the patrons footing the bills. The aim of these wealthy industrialists was to establish a permanent oligarchy, or more fittingly, a “corporatocracy,” which would:

  • control the aims of education
  • buy the cooperation of government officials through campaign contributions and outright bribery
  • co-opt the scientific community by way of awarding grants to research that advanced their goals (especially in the social sciences such as psychology and sociology)
  • effectively stifle any dissent through control of media outlets

They wished the common populace to be effectively slaves, but slaves who embraced their slavery and consumed what the corporatocracy had to sell. What’s not well known is that all of these prominent families were avid eugenicists. Want to see their real goal?

Arthur Calhoun’s A Social History of the American Family (1919) notified the nation’s academics what was happening. Calhoun declared that the fondest wish of utopian writers was coming true: the child was passing from its family “into the custody of community experts.” He offered a significant forecast, that in time we could expect to see public education “designed to check the mating of the unfit.”

A lot of it came down to lowering the birth rate of what these elites considered the “unfit”. When that didn’t exactly work according to their plans, they modified them. They couldn’t keep the “unfit” from breeding, so they changed their goal to forming a permanent uneducated underclass. The following statement was actually spoken by an American President. In a speech he gave before businessmen prior to the First World War, Woodrow Wilson made this unabashed disclosure:

We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forego the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.

So how could these elitists have brought about their plans with so much success? Only by corrupting little boys and extending their childhoods beyond what was natural. Think about it, what could be more stifling to a young boy’s natural curiosity and energy at that very early age? You confine him in a so-called classroom which is essentially a prison cell, group him with others that he probably wouldn’t pick to surround himself with, bombard him with useless information and leftist propaganda, and just when he might get interested in something, a bell rings and he has to close his notebook and move on to another maybe even more boring subject. If he rebels, which many do early on, he is sent to “medical” professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers — all people who have a financial stake in branding him a “problem” and subjecting him to humiliating and degrading “treatment”. If that doesn’t work, then they come with the psychotropic drugs. He has to endure this for twelve years (thirteen if he went to kindergarten). It’s no wonder that little boys who enter school bright, energetic and inventive emerge twelve years later sullen, unable to engage in critical thinking and unable to engage themselves in society other than superficially.

How to Control Children in School

Ellwood P. Cubberley’s Public Education in the United States (1934) is explicit about what happened and why. As Cubberley puts it:

It has come to be desirable that children should not engage in productive labor. On the contrary, all recent thinking … [is] opposed to their doing so. Both the interests of organized labor and the interests of the nation have set against child labor (emphasis mine).

I might word it a bit differently; I might say “child accomplishment.”

Now re-read the beginning of this article; do you think there would have been any Franklins or Edisons if the elite families had their way? I think not. And the elites have no qualms in letting us mundanes know in uncertain terms what they’re up to:

Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well — by creating the international child of the future.
– Chester M. Pierce, Harvard psychiatrist, at Childhood International Education Seminar (1973)

Do you like what you see from these “international children of the future?” Like I stated earlier, this has been going on for longer than any of us has been alive. It takes some digging to find this stuff; most of it has been scrubbed from the archives of the institutions that originally published it and sometimes from the internet. Here’s another little gem from the past:

In 1962, an NIMH-sponsored report, The Role of Schools in Mental Health, stated unambiguously, “Education does not mean teaching people to know.” What then? “It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave,” a clear echo of the Rockefeller Foundation’s “dream” from an earlier part of the century. Schools were behavioral engineering plants; what remained was to convince kids and parents there was no place to hide.

The report was featured at the 1962 Governor’s Conference, appearing along with a proclamation calling on all states to fund these new school programs and use every state agency to further the work. Provisions were discussed to overturn resistance on the part of parents; tough cases, it was advised, could be subjected to multiple pressures around the clock until they stopped resisting (emphasis mine). Meanwhile, alarming statistics were circulated about the rapid growth of mental illness within society.

The watershed moment when modern schooling swept all competition from the field was the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965 (ESEA). The Act allocated substantial federal funds to psychological and psychiatric programs in school, opening the door to a full palette of “interventions” by psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, agencies, and various specialists. All were invited to use the schoolhouse as a satellite office, in urban ghettos, as a primary office. Now it was the law (emphasis mine). 
– John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Public Education

Now they had us. It took only the advent of psychotropic drugs such as Ritalin to seal the deal.

There have been some but very few mainstream authors that have addressed these issues. Thomas Sowell has to be one of the most unabashed truth-tellers out there at least of my generation. This is his take on the subject, from his article in Forbes Magazine in 1991:

The techniques of brainwashing developed in totalitarian countries are routinely used in psychological conditioning programs imposed on school children. These include emotional shock and desensitization, psychological isolation from sources of support, stripping away defenses, manipulative cross-examination of the individual’s underlying moral values by psychological rather than rational means. These techniques are not confined to separate courses or programs … they are not isolated idiosyncrasies of particular teachers. They are products of numerous books and other educational materials in programs packaged by organizations that sell such curricula to administrators and teach the techniques to teachers. Some packages even include instructions on how to deal with parents and others who object. Stripping away psychological defenses can be done through assignments to keep diaries to be discussed in group sessions, and through role-playing assignments, both techniques used in the original brainwashing programs in China under Mao.

In 1991, this subject went completely under the radar. There were individuals screaming in the wilderness, but few were listening. Could you imagine the impact that article would have today if published in the blogosphere?

Here’s another good quote that was published in of all places, the New York Times, from Judith Warner:

There’s a sense that greater powers, profit-driven and amoral, are pulling the strings in our children’s lives. There’s a sense that those who should best protect us — our government and our doctors — are so corrupted that they can no longer do the job. There’s a sense that childhood has, in many ways, been denatured, that youth has been stolen, that the range of human acceptability has been narrowed for our kids to a point that it has become soul-crushingly inhuman.

I’d postulate that it’s become soul-crushingly inhuman, inhumane, sub-human and any other hyphen-human sociopathy that you can name. And now with psychiatric diagnosis as one of their weapons, they are now reaping the rewards. The only thing that was impeding the creation of this permanent lower class in society was the behavior of young boys. And with the introduction of psychotropic drugs such as Ritalin, that problem was addressed:

Even as infants, boys have higher levels of testosterone, which stimulates aggressive behavior, and lower levels of serotonin, which inhibits it. Researchers have found that infant boys cry more when unhappy while girls tend to comfort themselves by sucking their thumbs. Even at this early stage, girls seem to have more control of their emotions.

And that can present a problem. Nowadays, many educators regard the normal play of boys with disapproval. Picking up on the Steinem theme, they have done their best to disrupt boys’ natural patterns of activity, attitudes and behavior. Many schools, disregarding boys’ need for decompression time, have scrapped free-play recess for more structured activities with no competition.

Ritalin is a “drug of choice” amongst many parents of high-energy children. This drug is used to combat a disorder known as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The above excerpt describes the differences between men and women even at a young age. Because we live PC society, there are many in the public school system that will see the differences in men as a threat to the progress of women in our society. I am not saying that there aren’t any cases that justify the use of Ritalin; however, I do wonder why has the issue of high-energy children (especially boys) only been an issue within the last decade or so. Public schools have also been doing it part in recommending this drug to parents of children that seem to be hyper-active.
How to Make Boys Docile: Ritalin (part of The School System: A National Lab Project)

Have you ever watched a young boy play a video game or do something he’s interested in for hours at a time? Don’t tell me that the average boy can’t concentrate; he’s just bored out of his mind in the typical public school. I remember being bored as hell when I went, and because of that I got in quite a bit of trouble. These days I’m sure I’d have been prescribed Ritalin or something worse. The problem is, once you’re prescribed Ritalin, there are severe consequences for your future:

In a society that’s supposed to accept and even value differences, drugging shy children reflects an extreme of enforced conformity … We are the first adults to handle the generation gap through the wholesale drugging of our children. We may be guaranteeing that future generations will be relatively devoid of people who think critically, raise painful questions, generate productive conflicts, or lead us to new spiritual and political insights.
Dr. Peter Breggin, Ritalin: Violence Against Boys

There are worse consequences:

The average age of those abusing Ritalin today? 10 to 14, ladies and gentleman. In that age group, Ritalin is more popular than cocaine, no doubt due to its availability. Our schools tell them “Just Say No” to drugs, and then hand Ritalin out like its candy. They may treat it like aspirin, but it most definitely is not. Ritalin is a controlled substance. What that means is that every time your doctor writes a prescription, he must fill it out in triplicate. He keeps a copy, he gives you a copy to have filled, and that third copy is sent directly to the DEA, where the prescription is kept on file. The DEA puts manufacturing limits on controlled substances — all of the drugs must be accounted for each year, and the manufacturer is only allowed to make so much (although every year that limit is raised higher and higher).

Also, anyone filling that prescription is registered in the DEA database as a Class II drug user. Did your doctor tell you that? I bet not. According to the 1999 Military Recruitment Manual, Class II drug users may not join the Air Force, Army, Marines or Navy. Ever. Never ever. So much for Johnny being an Astronaut. If your child uses Ritalin, the State or Federal Government cannot hire them for any job that requires security clearance, or involves state or national security. They can be turned down for life and health insurances, or be charged higher rates, or even have a pre-existing condition clause added to their policy — all because they are Class II drug users. How nice.
– Barbara Norden, What Do You Really Know About ADHD Drugs?! (editted for clarity)

(Mitch’s note: Since that article was written, the restrictions for military service have been relaxed. I’m pretty sure however that being a Class II drug user still makes it harder to get a government job).

Young Men Can Do Great Things Without School

Let me give you a little background about how very young men made their mark in our history. Many of you weren’t taught this in school and most have never heard the stories about some of our country’s most prominent historical figures:

Benjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street, Boston, on January 17, 1706. His father had seventeen children (four died at birth) by two wives. Ben was the youngest. Josiah, the father, was a candlemaker, not part of the gentry. His tombstone tells us he was “without an estate or any gainful employment” which apparently means his trade didn’t allow wealth to be amassed. But, as the talkative tombstone continues, “By constant labor and industry with God’s blessing they maintained a large family comfortably, and brought up thirteen children and seven grandchildren reputably.”

Writing to his own son at the age of sixty-five, Ben Franklin referred to his circumstances as “poverty and obscurity” from which he rose to a state of affluence, and to some degree, reputation. The means he used “so well succeeded” he thought posterity might like to know what they were. Some, he believed, “would find his example suitable to their own situations, and therefore, fit to be imitated.”

At twelve he was bound apprentice to brother James, a printer. After a few years of that, and disliking his brother’s authority, he ran away first to New York and soon after to Philadelphia where he arrived broke at the age of seventeen. Finding work as a printer proved easy, and through his sociable nature and ready curiosity he made acquaintance with men of means. One of these induced Franklin to go to London where he found work as a compositor and once again brought himself to the attention of men of substance. A merchant brought him back to Philadelphia in his early twenties as what might today be called an administrative assistant or personal secretary. From this association, Franklin assembled means to set up his own printing house which published a newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, to which he constantly contributed essays.

At twenty-six, he began to issue “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” and for the next quarter century the Almanac spread his fame through the colonies and in Europe. He involved himself deeper and deeper in public affairs. He designed an Academy which was developed later into the University of Pennsylvania; he founded the American Philosophical Society as a crossroads of the sciences; he made serious researches into the nature of electricity and other scientific inquiries, carried on a large number of moneymaking activities; and involved himself heavily in politics. At the age of forty-two he was wealthy. The year was 1748.

In 1748, he sold his business in order to devote himself to study, and in a few years, scientific discoveries gave him a reputation with the learned of Europe. In politics, he reformed the postal system and began to represent the colonies in dealings with England, and later France. In 1757, he was sent to England to protest against the influence of the Penns in the government of Pennsylvania, and remained there five years, returning two years later to petition the King to take the government away from the Penns. He lobbied to repeal the Stamp Act. From 1767 to 1775, he spent much time traveling through France, speaking, writing, and making contacts which resulted in a reputation so vast it brought loans and military assistance to the American rebels and finally crucial French intervention at Yorktown, which broke the back of the British. As a writer, politician, scientist, and businessman, Franklin had few equals among the educated of his day — though he left school at ten. He spent nine years as American Commissioner to France. In terms only of his ease with the French language, of which he had little until he was in his sixties, this unschooled man’s accomplishments are unfathomable by modern pedagogical theory (emphasis mine). In many of his social encounters with French nobility, this candle maker’s son held the fate of the new nation in his hands, because he (and Jefferson) were being weighed as emblems of America’s ability to overthrow England.
– John Taylor Gatto, The Way It Used To Be

Just one more:

Thomas Edison left school early because the school thought him feeble-minded. He spent his early years peddling newspapers. Just before the age of twelve he talked his mother into letting him work on trains as a train-boy, a permission she gave which would put her in jail right now. A train-boy was apprentice of all work. Shortly afterwards a printer gave Edison some old type he was about to discard and the boy, successfully begging a corner for himself in the baggage car to set type, began printing a four-page newspaper the size of a handkerchief about the lives of the passengers on the train and the things that could be seen from its window. Several months later, twelve-year-old Edison had 500 subscribers, earning a net profit monthly about 25 percent more than an average schoolteacher of the day made. When the Civil War broke out, the newspaper became a goldmine. Railroads had telegraph facilities so war news was available to Edison as quickly as to professional journalists, but he could move it into print sooner than they could. He sold the war to crowds at the various stops. “The Grand Trunk Herald” sold as many as 1,000 extra copies after a battle at prices per issue from a dime to a quarter, amassing for Edison a handsome stake. Unfortunately, at the same time he had been experimenting with phosphorus in the baggage car. One thing led to another and Edison set the train on fire; otherwise there might never have been a light bulb (emphasis mine).
– John Taylor Gatto, The Way It Used to Be

These men are just two examples among many (and I wrote about David Farragut in this post). Even with inefficient means of communication when these men were alive, their exploits were well known. These men were looked up to, were emulated, and were inspiring to young boys of the day. The Industrial Revolution however, had no use for these types of men … except at the top, and only if you happened to be connected. Young men being an asset to society at a young age? This just couldn’t stand. A young man who could educate and think for himself was a potential competitor.

A Call to Arms

Young man. Do not conform to the system that tries to hold you down. Do not contort yourself to fit into a little box. Do not settle for being a cog in a machine.

If you depend on school to learn …

You won’t know how to take risks.

You won’t know how to deal with failure.

You won’t know how to think for yourself.

You won’t know how to play with the big players.

You’ll be a good, little worker (if you’re “lucky” enough to get a job) — slaving away to make someone else rich.

You know what?

Screw the schools! They say they’ll “educate” you, but their real objective is to turn you into a docile drone. Once you’re done with school, you’ll be good at following directions. You may even be good at memorizing and regurgitating facts. But you certainly won’t learn the important lessons of life.

Instead, think for yourself. Rely on yourself. Seek control. Acquire power. Be free.

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  1. Alex,
    The educational system is not for educating our children but it more resembles a mental institution. It teaches or shall i say force a boy or girl to follow the status quo! They will destroy a persons creativity and curiosity which is why i believe that there will be no more Einsteins, Tesla, Edison, Picasso and the like because the educational system has pounded or even drugged those young active brains into nothing. Which is why we as society keep regurgitating things that were made in the past and now are back in style because we cannot think clearly anymore. I see it all the time in the computer field with people not being able to solve a minor computer problem. They have Google on their desktops to research the problem but much rather bitch and moan about not being able to work.

    I have started to realize that these kids today have no ambition or curiosity about things. They have no one to look up to other than rappers or ballplayers! When you have the time just look at how these young people and how they look so sad and empty! They mope around the house glued to their smart phones because they are so bored with themselves and their lives.
    By the age of 19 i was already on a ship half way around the world. I saw War during Desert Storm and served honorably, saw the and visited many cultures and people while serving and then went college and got myself a degree! I learned more about myself in those 4 years that most of these kids will do in a lifetime!
    I see these kids with so much opportunity to start a businesses and become productive instead they just squander it away locked away in their rooms oblivious to what is going on around them. No wonder there is so much depression these days!

    Alex, men like us are few and far between and yes we are a dying breed! Society looks down on men like us who can think for themselves and are able to stand on their own. We have gotten to a point that people are becoming more and more dumber as time progresses like that movie “Idiocracy” where everyone was dimwitted and ignorant. we are slowly heading that route.

    • Hey Jose,

      Unfortunately, you’re right. Most people do think if they go to school and do good well academically, they will be set for life. A big company will take care of them. But they can’t be further from the truth.

      And even if that was the truth, is your individuality and creativity worth giving up?

      For guys like us, the answer is no.

      Keep on hustling!

  2. C. M. Sturges says:

    Thanks for the linkage but my site is copyrighted. I don’t mind it this time but please ask next time. BTW I haven’t turned anyone down yet : ), I just like to know ahead of time.

  3. Hi Alex,

    Your article is a potent and a well thought out observation of the compulsory education which we call the public school system. I enjoyed it immensely and I look forward to more high quality articles.

    By the way, I think you misspelled “achieving” in the title. I just thought you would like to know because you come across as a guy who wants to appear as professional as possible.

    Bob Smith

    • Hey Bob,

      Thanks for pointing out the spelling error. I quickly fixed it. I don’t know why Word didn’t pick it up, but I’m glad you did.

      Good to hear from you.

  4. The HUGE problem right now is conformity.

    We are now a society of conformists and those who stay out of the pack will be shunned. It’s saddening really.

    When people don’t go to school or they get bad grades, it sorts of cause the Halo Effect. They will be called stupid, doofus, simpleton, failure and all sorts of negative things. They associate success in life with success in traditional schools. What people fail to see is education is plentiful out there but when we institutionalize it such as making schools, education turned into a rigid monster.

    It’s okay to have an institution for learning because it makes people organize the same way people create Countries in order to organize societies. But when it changed society and made them believe the “You Succeed in School You Succeed in Life” dogma – things just go down under.

    Anyway, thanks for the post Alex.

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Wan,

      I totally agree that the biggest problem in schools is promoting conformity and mindlessness. They try to stamp out creativity and self-expression. Personally, I butt heads with my schools quite a bit, because I try to resist against authority. It’ll hurt me while I’m in school and in the system, but it’ll help when I gotta fend for myself when I’m out there in the real world.

      Great comment!

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