Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Purpose of School

"In times of change, Learners inherit the earth, while
the Learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal
with a world that no longer exists."
- Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer, the longshoreman who, through self-education, became a much revered author, social icon and philospher, and was noted for his understanding of how a State can destroy the lives of its subjects, and often does so.

One of the ways a State can keep its citizens from ever living up to their potential is to keep them ignorant. Not only ignorant, but unaware of anything other than ignorance. The purpose behind this plan is the simple maintaince of power over the people...yes, even in societies in which the people are convinced that they, themselves have all the power.

Therefore, the idea of government wanting to deprive its citizens of controlling their own destinies seems most ironic in the case of America, and yet, that is our situation with regard to our system of education.

The government-run schools of America were designed originally, in around 1840, to imitate the system of Prussia which certain leaders believed was the proper model. It had been set up to train the masses to become soldiers and workers in the munitions factories of that country in order to finally defeat Napoleon's army. The system, as Hoffer's line says, beautifully prepared the people to become a "workforce" in the hands of government, but further to be unprepared to control their own lives in a changing world.

We might say that when Prussia eventually became Fascist Germany, it reaped what it had sowed, getting a population that was perfectly schooled, but monstrously uneducated and incapable of dealing with the new reality -- a State that had allowed itself to be taken over by a madman.

Do we want our children to become dependent members of a government-controlled, state-schooled workforce, or do we want them to become independent-thinking, creative, self-governing individuals?

1 comment:

Swylv said...

thanks for such a weblog. As a child I'd been in christchun school, public schools in 2 different states, and finally homeschooled. I am now a mom and have always known we would home educate.