What Is The Difference Between Education & Public Schooling?

Zy Marquiez
April 13, 2019

Throughout many reviews in this blog, along with some articles discussing some of the reasons public schooling is to be seen in an askance manner, I have made it a point to write ‘public schooling’ when I mean ‘public schooling’, and education when I mean education.  While these both might seem at first blush to be mutually exclusive, they are not.  Not by a long shot.

To better understand the range of circumstances that shows the disparity between schooling and education, there’s no better author that homes in on this incisive issue than the late John Taylor Gatto.  The award winning Gatto spent over 3 decades within the public schooling system, up until the point that he chose to leave after continuously seeing the damage public schooling was doing to the children.  To that end, Gatto has spoken out at length about how the system is dumbing us down with no end in sight.

This dumbing down has been brought about by the belief that public schooling and education are the same thing, but unfortunately, they are not.  In Weapons Of Mass Instruction, Gatto expounds upon the significant difference between what public schooling and education truly are.  Gatto incisively states:

“In hunting for the difference between school and education, consider these layers: Schooling is organized by command and control from without; education is self-organized from within; school disconnects its clientele from other primary sources of learning.  It must do that to achieve administrative efficiency; education sets out to provide a set of bountiful connection which are random, willful, promiscuous, even disharmonious with one  another – understanding that the learning of resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention will inevitably involve surprising blends of things, things impossible to predict or anticipate in advance.

In education the student is awakened to the critical role natural feedback loops play in becoming independentFeedback loops attended to closely – not circumscribed by rules – create customized circuits of self-correction rather than a slavish need to follow the generalized direction of others.  But schooling is bound on the other hand to emphasize rules made by othersIt’s impossible even to imagine a school that could allow free will deviation from its programmers, except to the most trivial degree.

Education is never committed to subject knowledge, it always tends to regard life in the rich contexts.”[1][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added].

In life, everything is context.  Learning one subject matter without coupling it to all others is tantamount to a cook only having one ingredient and believing they can do a full course meal without learning how to use all the ingredients.  Just because someone can put one ingredient in a pot doesn’t mean they can make a meal any more than learning one subject without learning how to integrate it to all others makes one educated. This deliberately duplicitous dichotomy of education chopped up minute pieces by subject matter makes the subjects of life into ghosts of itself, facsimiles at best.


“Subject-learning is what schools because their intention is to create clerks, and specialists, who themselves are merely a fancy form of clerk.  But over and over again in the sciences and elsewhere we’ve come to understand that cross-fertilization, mixing the academic disciplines (and more) is the powerful driver of scientific advanceJohn Kanzius, a name referred to in an earlier chapter, was able to invent a new tool against cancer tumours precisely because he wasn’t a specialist in cancer research or even a college graduate.”[2][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

The above salient example is merely one of the myriad possibilities that can take place by not operating within such a restrictive paradigm as public schooling offers.

Gatto continues mincing no words:

The components of education are so diverse they establish a permanent internal state of dialectical argumentCertainty is never achieved in the educated mind…it works constantly to create replacements for what “everyone knows to be true.

On the other hand, memorynot synthesis or argumentis the dominant element in schooling.  Because of that impediment, “A” students are robbed test by test of their ability to think for themselves and to listen to the cues of their feedback circuits.”[3]

It doesn’t get any more cut and dry.

Now homing in on other additional destructive effects of schooling, Gatto states:

“Year after year, the International Happiness Survey reports only three condition necessary to judge your own life a happy one: (1) good relationships (2) good health (3) satisfying work.  But school, as I showed you earlier, sets up conditions in which bad health is difficult to escape, relationships are given no time or space to grow in and segregation of similar backgrounds in so-called “tracking schemes makes it nearly certain that class prejudice will flourish (putting the possibility of relationships with those different from oneself out of reach for students so tracked).  And the work imposed in schooling virtually never is directed to answering the compelling questions of youth.”[4]

According to Gatto, public schooling, as its currently being taught, is done in such a manner to be antithetical to health, happiness and relationships .  Is it any wonder that the current state of society echoes the effects of these very circumstances to a tee?

That is why true education is paramount, for not only does it leads to an individual to be able to learn and integrate everything that comes their way as the need arises, but do so in seamless fashion, not remaining static ever, but remaining fluid, mirroring the very fluidity of life; mirroring the ebb and flow of obstacle and lesson that live provides day in and day out.

Life lessons that make all the difference in the world.

Life lessons that lead to more education.

Life lessons that lead to growth.

And growth that leads to more life lessons.

All seamlessly interconnected, just like life is; just like every step an individual takes.

Steps that pave the foundation in schooling, or steps that pave the way in education.  Each of with starts with you – the individual.



[1] John Taylor Gatto, Weapons Of Mass Instruction, p. 177.
[2] Ibid., p. 177.
[3] Ibid., p. 178.
[4] Ibid., p. 178.


Suggested Reading & Watching:

Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
13 Great Reasons To Study Logic
How A Generation Lost Its Culture – by Professor Patrick Deneen
A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto
Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
Philosophy 101 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
What Is Education?  The Elite Curriculum – John Taylor Gatto
Breakaway Guide To Censorship, Disinformation, Logical Fallacies & More
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
Social Engineering 101
The True Purpose Of Modern Schooling
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Open-Source Method: Genius Education – Examples | John Taylor Gatto
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
A Rulebook For Arguments by Anthony Weston
A Workbook For Arguments by David R. Morrow & Anthony Wesson
Drilling Through The Core – Why Common Core Is Bad For American Education by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors

If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

Published by

Noctis Blackburn

Open-Minded Skeptic, Book Reviewer, Introvert, Researcher, Writer, Creativity Connoisseur, Yoga Dilettante & Carmel Macchiato Addict.

3 thoughts on “What Is The Difference Between Education & Public Schooling?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s