Re: The Purpose of Government Schools

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Stuart and Lew: Ivan Illich got to the essence of the role of government schooling when he observed: “School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.” The government school system of the city in which I live published a pamphlet that reads, in part: “All pupils shall submit to the authority of the teachers of the schools,” and “conform to the regulations of the school; obey promptly all the directions of his teacher and others in authority.”  Those “who are continually disobedient may be referred to the juvenile court.” (“Disobedient,” of course, means “independent.”)

As an expression of the contradictions that are built into every political program, this same document goes on to state that “any person who willfully causes or permits a child to suffer or who causes mental suffering or inflicts unjustifiable pain or injury on any child is guilty of a misdemeanor.” The system is a self-defined abuser of children, but its participants are too arrogant to acknowledge this fact.

This is the reason why, whenever anyone asks me “If just one governmental program were to disappear, which would you prefer to be the one to go?,” I immediately respond: “Give me a tough question, this is easy: the government school system.”

10:17 am on May 13, 2011