February 13, 2020
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 both of these might seem at first blush to mean the same thing, they do not. Not even close.
To better understand 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 public schooling system is dumbing society down with no end in sight.
This dumbing down has been brought about in part by the belief that public schooling and education are the same thing as is traditionally taught, 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 independent. Feedback 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 others. It’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.”[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 the meal requires in the same dish. Just because someone can put one ingredient in a pot doesn’t mean that person can make a full meal any more than learning one subject without learning how to integrate it into all others makes one educated. This deliberately duplicitous sleight-of-hand which removed traditional education over a century ago and switched it with what is now known as public schooling is designed to remove how to grasp the full scope of subject matter from the wider tapestry that life provides, thus decoupling how things integrate into each other in everyday life.
“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 advance. John 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.”[Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]
The above prominent 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 argument. Certainty is never achieved in the educated mind…it works constantly to create replacements for what “everyone knows to be true.
“On the other hand, memory – not synthesis or argument – is 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.”
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.”
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 life provides day in and day out.
Life lessons that make all the difference in the world.
Life lessons that lead to continuous education.
Life lessons that lead to growth.
And growth that leads to more life lessons. All of which integrate in a never-ending loop of education that allows individuals to grow boundlessly, which is exactly why it is true education is prevented in the first place.
True education learns that life is seamlessly interconnected, just like every step an individual takes.
But no matter how many steps an individual take, if that individual doesn’t see how all of the different aspects of life are all connected, then they’ll never be able to see the wider overarching picture, which is something many people struggle with.
The only way around that problem is seeking true education in your own time by becoming a self-directed learner and beginning with the core concepts that have been removed from public schooling featured in the Trivium, which includes Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric.
And once you begin learning on your own and begin dot-connecting at your own pace, you will start to wonder, if Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, along with the Quadrivium, were essentially removed from public schooling, what other things have been removed from our education?
 John Taylor Gatto, Weapons Of Mass Instruction, p. 177.
 Ibid., p. 177.
 Ibid., p. 178.
 Ibid., p. 178.
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