Compelled to Attend Part One of Three
By Linda Dobson
Can you think of a better way to insure that you will be “made” according to the dictates of others than by forcing you, by law, to
appear at a government-funded, state-controlled institution where you spend a predetermined number of years as part of a crowd subject constant scrutiny and evaluation? No, I am not talking about prison. I refer to public school.
In August, 1991, John Howard, Counselor with the Rockford Institute, told the University of Wisconsin Center faculty that their university’s catalog “acknowledges that education is a process in which the student learns things the educational institution has decided will be beneficial to the learner and to the society.” The catalog goes on to insure parents the university “will strive to fit the student for civic responsibilities.”
Dr. Bowen, President of Princeton University, called this type of thinking “indoctrination in accepted ideas.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language calls indoctrination “the teaching to accept a system of thought uncritically.” (As in do what you are told, “they” know what is best for you, don’t question authority.) I call indoctrination the saddest abuse of human potential and the sorriest waste of human minds that could ever be imagined. I call it shaping our thinking.
And if colleges and universities ignore the true meaning of education and accept indoctrination as their function in society, what then is the purpose of all the years of schooling that lead up to college, starting at the tender age of five or, in many cases today, even younger?
“School,” says Ivan Illich in Deschooling Society, “prepares for the alienating institutionalization of life by teaching the need to be taught.” This way you may spend the rest of your life seeking out and paying others for thinking you are capable of doing, if only you knew that to be true. But, sadly, not too many people making a living in the education business are ready to teach themselves out of jobs. Furthermore, “Once a man or woman has accepted the need for school, he or she is easy pretty for other institutions,” wrote Illich.
This is the essence of how school becomes what just may be your ultimate maker. Through the legal power to make you attend for a minimum of ten years, you are part of a captive audience taught to uncritically accept that 1) you need someone outside yourself to provide you an education, 2) your education need only ready you for confinement within yet other institutions, and 3) the value or truth of these notions should never be questioned.
This programming comes to you courtesy of the education institution representative closest to you – the teacher…
End of Part One; Part Two soon!