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#535#536#537#538 Episode #539 - Outing School 2
(Scientific Management as Religion)


Image by the Amazing Tetsuya Ishida

Sat 19 February 2011  John Taylor Gatto, Peg Luksik
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we continue to examine the details of schooling as a social control mechanism. First, a section from John Taylor Gatto's Underground History of American Education, followed by the conclusion of his Radio Free School interview and an excerpt from a speech on the scientific management of children. In hour 2, Peg Luksik of the Pennyslvania Parents' Commission asks Who Controls The Children?, focusing on increasingly sophisticated efforts by the schooling system to establish, log and 'correct' US students' attitudes.
We start by relistening to the section of the Underground History of American Education on William Torrey Harris. This deals with the plans of the elite to use schools to render children incapable of resistance to managerial hierarchies. He focuses not on procedural details such as the creation of impenetrable, multi-layered school bureaucracies, but the need to alienate children from themselves and from their communities and alternative value sets. The bigger picture reveals this vision as the cornerstone of a 'social gospel' - a replacement religion, underwritten by the wealthiest industrialists, to usher in an era of scientifically managed efficiency.

We continue by listening to the remainder of the Gatto's Radio Free School interview. He explains how he came to understand that a massive dumbing down had occurred since forced schooling was introduced and that misleading rhetoric notwithstanding this was not an unhappy accident, but an integral part of a hierarchically managed capitalist economy. He also explains what he would recommend and gives advice to parents whose kids are not in school. We conclude our first hour by listening to some more of Gatto's thoughts, with a 12 minute section that details some of the rich industrialists who set the school project in motion, and what they were thinking when they did so.

Our second hour is the soundtrack of a 1992 presentation by Peg Luksik of the Pennyslvania Parents' Commission, entitled Who Controls The Children? Unlike Gatto, she accepts the basic premise of school, but denounces the details as implemented in Pennsylvania. She starts by explaining how "outcome-based education" is inefficient and expensive, but that this has proved no obstacle to its adoption. She tells how the US education department seems more focused on logging and instilling students' attitudes rather than imparting knowledge.
Thanks to Radio Free School for the Gatto interview.
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