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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

45. A System Of State Propaganda: The Underground HIstory of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

A System Of State Propaganda 

Something strange is going on in schools and has been going on for quite some time. 
Whatever it is does not arise from the main American traditions. As closely as I can track 
the thing through the attitudes, practices, and stated goals of the shadowy crew who make 
a good living skulking around educational "laboratories," think tanks, and foundations, 
we are experiencing an attempt, successful so far, to reimpose the strong-state, strong 
social class attitudes of England and Germany on the United States — the very attitudes 
we threw off in the American Revolution. And in this counter-revolution the state 
churches of England and Germany have been replaced by the secular church of forced 
government schooling. 

Advertising, public relations, and stronger forms of quasi-religious propaganda are so 
pervasive in our schools, even in "alternative" schools, that independent judgment is 
suffocated in mass-produced secondary experiences and market-tested initiatives. 

Lifetime Learning Systems, one of the many new corporations formed to dig gold from 
our conditions of schooling, announced to its corporate clients, "School is the ideal time 
to influence attitudes, build long-term loyalties, introduce new products, test-market, 
promote sampling and trial usage — and above all — to generate immediate sales." 

Arnold Toynbee, the establishment's favorite historian in mid-twentieth-century 
America, said in his monumental Study of History that the original promise of universal 
education had been destroyed as soon as the school laws were passed, a destruction 
caused by "the possibility of turning education to account as a means of amusement for 
the masses" and a means of "profit for the enterprising persons by whom the amusement 
is purveyed." This opportunistic conversion quickly followed mass schooling's 
introduction when fantastic profit potential set powerful forces in motion: 

The bread of universal education is no sooner cast upon the water than a shoal of sharks 
arises from the depths and devours the children's bread under the educator's very eyes. 

In Toynbee 's analysis "the dates speak for themselves": 

The edifice of universal education was, roughly speaking, completed... in 1870; and the 
Yellow Press was invented twenty years later — as soon, that is, as the first generation of 
children from the national schools had acquired sufficient purchasing power — by a stroke 
of irresponsible genius which had divined that the educational labour of love could be 
made to yield a royal profit. 

But vultures attending the inception of forced compulsion schooling attracted more 
ferocious predators: 

[The commercial institutions that set about at once to prey on forced mass schooling] 
attracted the attention of the rulers of modern... national states. If press lords could make 
millions by providing idle amusement for the half-educated, serious statesman could 
draw, not money perhaps, but power from the same source. The modern dictators have 
deposed the press lords and substituted for crude and debased private entertainment an 
equally crude and debased system of state propaganda. 

The Ideology Of The Text 

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