Letters to EcoNews: The Past Hasn’t Passed

Thank you EcoNews for featuring Samantha Gaiera’s insightful and blistering critique of our nation’s century-old compulsory schooling experiment. Its legacy of historic increases in college graduates and poverty was documented decades ago, (Schooling In Capitalist America, Bowles and Gintis, 1977).

Few educators know public schooling’s history, unable to explain its omission from textbooks and exclusion from the plethora of history units at public colleges and universities; or why there were no centennial celebrations.
In short, public schooling promised less violent “social stability” for the world’s monarchs by intervening between peasant children, their parents and the community (blamed for rising resistance, revolts and revolutions). Unfortunately, parental and community influences also provide youths with experiential, project-based learning where nearly all of human history’s greatest discoveries and innovations are derived entirely outside academia by individuals in their 20’s (M.I.T. textbook “Discovering” by Robert, Scott, Root and Bernstein).

Three centuries later, influential U.S. psychologists and their industrialist patrons spearheaded compulsory public schooling to produce “predictable responses to authority” and just enough literacy to follow orders, (The Leipzig Connection, Lionni / Weapons of Mass Instruction, Gatto).

Outside of homeschooling (and with rare exceptions in public and charter schools), the active literacies of rhetoric and effective writing, including collaborative apprenticeships, are emphasized exclusively within elite boarding schools and universities where top corporate executives, lobbyists, attorneys, legislators and U.S. presidents are culled by America’s wealthiest families to maintain nationwide dependence upon their outdated industries, technologies, monopolies and ideology, commonly called “corruption”; a process of looting public treasure and collapsing civilization’s economies for millennia (“Tragedy and Hope”, Quigley).

Today’s unprecedented environmental, climate, economic, social and epidemic crises threatening humanity are inevitable consequences of generational contributions to systemic corruption and its destructive ideology prioritizing investment opportunity over livability. When enough communities learn to reverse this priority, the nation will follow.

George Clark (Retired business owner and credentialed K-12 teacher)