Public Schools, the Fixation of Belief, and Social Control

the advent of compulsory public schooling in the West is often viewed as a sign of progress a development which granted all individuals an equal opportunity to become educated cultivate one's cognitive faculties and improve one's position in life but this optimistic view is not shared by all rather many who have studied the history of public education have concluded that its primary role from the beginning was not to uplift and enlighten but to act as a form of social control the great American writer HL Mencken encapsulated this view the most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence nothing could be further from the truth the aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level to breed and train a standardized citizenry to put down dissent and originality that is its aim in the United States whatever the pre tensions of politicians and that is its aim everywhere else the roots of compulsory education reached back to ancient Greece where Spartan children were taken from their parents and housed in military schools under the ideal of cultivating total obedience to the Spartan state the more modern form of compulsory public schooling however originated in the 16th century in 1524 Martin Luther a primary figure in the Protestant Revolution which amounted to a rejection of the Roman Catholic Church in favor of the Bible as the sole authority of truth wrote a letter to the German leaders of the time urging them to institute a mandatory schooling system Luther's letter reads as follows I maintain that the civil authorities are under obligation to compel the people to send their children to school if the government can compel such citizens as are fit for military service to bear spear and rifle and perform other martial duties in time of war how much more has it a right to compel the people to send their children to school because in this case we are warring with the devil whose object it is secretly to exhaust our cities and principalities of their strongmen Luther understood that compulsory schooling could be used to indoctrinate young minds into the Lutheran Church and sought to use state power to achieve this end as a result of his pleadings numerous German states created the first modern public schools in many ways Martin Luther can be thought of marking the birth of the modern schooling system not only was he the first advocate of compulsory schooling but his conviction that the state should use its power to indoctrinate its citizens into a specific worldview helped stimulate in Germany a climate of increasing subjugation to the state the great historian Lord Acton wrote of Martin Luther that he impressed on his party that character of political dependence and that habit of passive obedience to the state another important step in the rise of modern public schooling arose under king william the first of prussia who ruled from 1713 to 1740 integral to the maintenance of Prussia powerful army during his reign was the national compulsory schooling system he established in 1717 the first of its kind in Europe subsequent schooling reforms throughout the 18th century built on this foundation and paved the way towards the development of what came to be known as the factory model of schooling in her book raising a school Renea Pettis the former dean of education at Queen's University in Canada explained some of the features of the factory model of schooling which continues to be the dominant model of public schooling in the West today in factory schools teaching the lake of the buildings tends to be box-like and a linear transmission teaching dominates standing at the front of the classroom the teacher transmits knowledge to the students this kind of teaching works best when the teacher can see everyone at once and so classrooms are created as a series of boxes the most pervasive example being one of double-loaded classrooms down a single long hallway the factory model of schooling emphasizes standardization of teaching testing and learning rates respect for authority over the exploration of truth and uniformity and orthodoxy over innovation and progress this schooling model developed by the Prussians was so efficient at inculcating into its citizens a worldview which benefited the Prussian state that in the 19th century educational reformers in the United States caught wind of it and quickly sought to implement it in their home country both Calvin Stowe one of the leading American professional educationists in the 19th century and Horace Mann dubbed by historians as the father of the American public school system traveled to Prussia to investigate their schooling system firsthand upon their return both lobbied heavily and successfully for the adoption of factory modeled schools in the United States under the influence of man Stowe and other educational reformers many American states quickly began to develop state-sponsored compulsory schooling systems which crowded out of the prevailing system of private and philanthropic schools already in existence in 1852 Massachusetts was the first to adopt such a system and by 1900 practically all the states had followed compulsory schooling elsewhere in the West followed a similar trajectory and time line in 1900 every country in Europe had established compulsory schooling except for Belgium which followed in 1920 England after much opposition implemented compulsory schooling in the late 19th century and Canada quickly accompanied America in implementing a system based on the factory model developed in Prussia many of the educational reformers who influenced the development of compulsory schooling were not looking to stimulate innovation invention and the development of ideas to promote social prosperity but were in search of an effective means of social control and social engineering Elwood Cubberley head of Stanford's School of Education and influential reformer for example wrote in his 1916 book public school administration our schools are in a sense factories in which the raw products children are to be shaped and fashioned into products to meet the various demands of life the specifications for manufacturing come from the demands of 20th century civilization and it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down William Tory Harris the United States Commissioner of Education in the late 19th century and stedfast a believer that the child was the absolute property of the government wrote in his book the philosophy of education ninety nine students out of a hundred are automata careful to walk in prescribed paths careful to follow the prescribed custom this is not an accident but the result of substantial education which scientifically defined is the sub sumption of the individual Frederick Taylor Gates business adviser to john d rockefeller who in 1903 founded the general education board which provided major funding for schools and was a big supporter of state-controlled compulsory schooling wrote in his 1913 book the country school of tomorrow in our dream the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our moulding hand we shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science we are not to raise up from among them authors orator z' poets or men of letters we shall not search for embryo great artists painters musicians nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers doctors preachers politicians statesmen of whom we now have ample supply for the task that we set before ourselves is a very simple as well as a very beautiful one to train these people as we find them for a perfectly ideal life just where they are an idyllic life under the skies and within the horizon however narrow where they first opened their eyes to keep the student confined to a narrow horizon or in the words of Menken to use compulsory schooling to breed and train a standardized citizenry to put down dissent and originality was the goal of many of the most influential educational reformers to understand just how efficient the factory model of schooling was and continues to be at achieving this goal on a mass scale we can turn to an interesting essay titled the fixation of belief by the prominent 20th century philosopher charles sanders peirce in the essay Peirce explained how it was possible to fix belief not in the individual but in the community via what he called the method of authority let the will of the state act then instead of that of the individual let an institution be created which shall have for its object to keep correct doctrines before the attention of the people to reiterate them perpetually and to teach them to the young having at the same time power to prevent contrary doctrines from being taught advocated or expressed let all possible causes of a change of mind be removed from men's apprehensions let them be kept ignorant lest they should learn of some reasons to think otherwise than they do let their passions be enlisted so that they may regard private and unusual opinions with hatred and horror one would be hard-pressed to think of a better system for fixing belief for the purpose of breeding and training a standardized citizenry than the factory model schooling system in existence in the West since the late 19th century as Yvonne Ilic wrote in his book d schooling society school is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is it is not surprising that a study of 400 eminent twentieth-century men and women detailed in the book cradles of eminence found that three out of every five of them had serious school problems those individuals who yearn to push boundaries explore and create ideas invent and innovate will not easily bend to a system which attempts to put down dissent and originality Albert Einstein for example found a school so suffocating requiring in his words the obedience of a corpse that upon passing an exam he had previously failed he found he had no desire to think about scientific problems for an entire year ignoring for a moment the sinister motives which lay behind the development of factory model schooling in the West its inadequacy as an institution is conditioned upon its tendency to not only fail to stimulate curiosity but to inhibit or even stamp out altogether the natural curiosity exhibited by all children stuck within the con fines of what Renea Pettis described as windowless concrete containers surrounded by barbed wire fences looking more like prisons than schools students are for the most part not encouraged to explore create and cultivate independence but to sit down listen and accept at face value whatever is being taught will conclude with a passage from John Taylor Gatto former New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year who upon resigning out of frustration over the faults he believed to be embedded in the very essence of modern schooling wrote a series of books on the history and nature of compulsory schooling the following is a short passage from his book dumbing us down the hidden curriculum of compulsory schooling in which he makes a sharp distinction between what today is called schooling and what an education should really consist of whatever an education is it should make you a unique individual not a conformist it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life it should make you spiritually rich a person who loves whatever you are doing it should teach you what is important how to live and how to die you

50 thoughts on “Public Schools, the Fixation of Belief, and Social Control

  1. And then came along Drag Queen Story hour… Thank God for creative souls that say there is more to life then math and science. Evolve BeYOUtiful Sheeple… 🐑 Baaa Baaa

  2. Inovation and creativity were not positive values to incultate into citizens at that time. Also, if the state is to educate, it is not to make people desobey or be individualistic – that's contrary to the needs of the state. Finally, educating is always to condition someone.

  3. I loathed H.S. but buckled down academically in order to graduate at the age of 16 y.o. During that time, I was often sent to the principal's office, and once, was close to suspension. Enduring that experience was the three (skipped 11th grade) most distressing years of my 60 in existence.

  4. It's incredible how quickly people are changing and learning now. I love academy of ideas. 🙂

  5. Love your videos man I knew this to an extent about education systems but your research is so in depth

  6. So my high school philosophy, logic, and psych classes were trying to indoctrinate me? These are some pretty big generalizations right here. I found I learned well in this factory model, innovation and creativity were encouraged you just couldnt be a little shit in class.

  7. Every AOI video has the same number of downvotes it seems…85 or so. Obviously some sort of algorithm. I think without the bots there wouldn't be a single downvote on these videos. And why should there be? They're dope.

  8. We are all born geniuses. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb trees, that fish will live its entire life believing that it is stupid. -Einstein

  9. for once is this a non authority controlled thingy? i cant trust a single source on any device but hmm this is youtube🤔🤔🤔🤔

  10. I've always found school to be nothing but a conformation factory. Forcing you to learn stuff you're not interested in while not letting you concentrate on the things that actually fascinate you. "Shut up, don't ask questions and get a good grade on this test about a topic that you will forget everything about minutes after concluding the test."

    The worst part of it is that it destroys curiosity and the will and joy to learn. Most people basically stop learning after leaving school/college because they "Did all that", "School's finally over", "That's kids stuff". And why would to want to keep learning if all you can think of looking back to your "learning years" is stress, pressure and authoritiy?

    Sadly, voicing your doubts about this system only gets you labeled as either too dumb to follow or too lazy to work harder for your grades. So much value is placed onpieces of paper showing grades and names of schools with a good reputation.

  11. I like to use what goes on in my kids schooling as a springboard for discussions for what is wrong with the system.

  12. Public school is free and private school is astronomically expensive. Why do you think that is?

  13. 7:00 not sure about the dates, judging from the picture I'm not sure he died at 17 years old..

  14. Albert Einstein was an idiot. They built this charlatan up to become something he was not , a genius. He lacked intellect and he stole E=MC2 two years prior to release. You guys figure out who he stole it from. 😊

  15. Any idea how to grade creativity? How about how many more teachers that process would take, or how long? Our free public education is to ensure we don’t revolve into anarchy at adulthood, college is where we try to prove to the world we’re different, whatever the hell that means. “First world problems”, huh?

  16. Public schools are better than no school. Knowledge includes questioning authority and learning about rebellion and independent thought. If you don’t like public schools, and you think our people are stupid now, imagine how pathetically ignorant they would be with no education at all.
    Private schools can be authoritarian, pushing religious dogma or engaged solely in turning a profit.

  17. Gonna take a risk here and ask a question. This question is for the channel creator/s at Academy of Ideas. I’m not trying to be belittling, insulting, sarcastic, or combative. So please, anyone who responds, take that into consideration.

    Is every school (small, large, nation or city wide, private or public) indoctrination? Isn’t every school a factory? Or am I just ignorant of education that doesn’t seem like one person telling others how to think? Even in the Socratic method there is the distinction between logical/illogical, valid/invalid.

    I, on one hand, agree with the video, and on the other, can’t think of a superior system.

    So, what does a better schooling system look like? Or is no schooling system the better option?

    Maybe the answer that I personally would like to know is: what system, if any, can actually promote the last quote of the video. What kind of “schooling” creates such self empowered (?) and developed (?) individuals across an entire planet without, on one end of the spectrum, discrimination (social, economic, or belief based), and on the other, indoctrination.

    Hope that is as clear as possible. Thanks to anyone that reads my whole question and responds. Be good.

  18. If a thing is done poorly then the thing cannot be done well.

  19. I knew the day when the kids that were guilty went unpunished and those who reacted negatively to the psychopathic childrens will and behavior what school was.. At 5 years old…this system is evil

  20. Great video. Schools job is to make you hate learning once your out. But the real learning begins when you leave.

  21. I like to remember my 4th grade teacher that told me that I didn't have to salute the flag.

  22. This is funny, you have a promotion on your account for this video, at least on my screen, for an app which states:

    "Robinhood – Invest in Stock;…."

    Get it yet? Keyword is *Robinhood* xDD

    I love my life.

    Hi Im Q.

  23. I am happy to be one of those very few who could not be indoctrinated completely, and I have been working towards being a true individual once again, as I was in grade 3.
    "No! You are not the boss of me!"

  24. Public schools are horrible having gone to them myself as a child I know. I wish I knew this back then because I would have done a full report and went in front of the class with all the information and sources I could find.

  25. With the invention of mass communication (the internet) these clowns are exposed but I fear not enough of us will break out of this curse on the public.

  26. The "American system of meritocracy" is a stake…as the handful of "Establishment families" consolidate their "Family-dynasties" (which is un-American)…de-facto consolidating their "family dynasties" by "Breaking" the masses into a matriarchy…while they keep their patriarchies. see how that works folks!!

  27. Yeah….the Canadian Public School system screwed me over pretty bad. (In other words it's shit)

  28. Public schools have been more successful in breeding school shooters than free thinkers. That should tell us all we need to know about such perverse institutions.

  29. So people by their own uncutivated nature would be ideal heroic citizens?

  30. Well, finding out how influential Luther was on compulsory school seals the deal. It is evil.

  31. Kinda off topic but everything should be up for questioning even your strongest beliefs should be put to a fire when questioning them in this you find answers to things that go deeper then your skin and systems and as you question things more often you'll recognize systems that are made to put people in boxes and ideas made to keep people in line

  32. Frederick Taylor Gates's quote was taken out of context. In his book, he actually talks about improving the welfare and happiness of rural towns people. He describes a dream world where the factory style school has been done away with, replaced by a school that teaches real life skills in the domain of health, farming, crafts, home, art, and socialization to develop intelligent, efficient, and self sufficient individuals that cherish and love their life in the isolation of rural lands. He goes on to condemn men of higher learning for not using their education for the benefit of people lower than themselves. From what I gathered reading his book, Fredrick Gates seems like an idealist that actually had the best intention for people who, left to the clutches of the factory style school, would have grown up to be miserable and unfulfilled.

    The book is like 15 pages long and can be found on the internet archive library.

  33. Both Huxley and orewell, Eric Blair,his baptised n ame were, great writer s of their time with immence popularity, animal farm,antic hay were great work s, all animals are equal but some are more equal,is very relevant even in this inter net era,, senior netizen

  34. Isn't real knowledge and truth so terrifying? No wonder why some people spend a lot of time avoiding it.

  35. Reading, Writing, and Mathematics are the core subjects to teach so a country can remain strong on the world stage. Schools also are obligated( in addition to the family of course) to instill character in young minds. How? By knowing the founding principles and philosophies of their own country. In case of USA the wisdom from the Bible. Notice I said Knowing and not believing. Think I am crazy? Then how do you explain the decline in behavioral standards in students over the last 57 years from the effect of the elimination of prayer in school from the 1962 mandate? enuff sed!!!

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