I found this chapter fascinating on several levels. I'm really just now starting to comprehend the corporate influences that led to forced schooling. It really wasn't a nefarious government plot. It was a nefarious, racist, elitist plot funded by corporate money and pushed through a sympathetic government that was too busy cashing the checks to actually care about what they were doing. Some things never change...
Gatto tells us that several factors cumulated in the popularization of forced schooling in the early 20th Century.
- Elite society feared the wave of immigrants landing on US shores.
- In response, the upper classes formed hundreds of ethnic membership societies, many of which survive today. The primary purpose was to isolate white Anglo-Saxon Protestants from the masses of Catholics and other evils immigrating to America.
- They also formed hundreds of private schools, including most of the big name schools still in existence today.
- Darwin released The Descent of Man, which provided scientific cover for the liberal elites racist tendencies.
The root idea in all of this was to provide two primary classes. The liberal elites would continue to rule and the rest of us would "Americanized" in government school where we would learn that we were not worthy of anything beyond working for the man.
Reading through the papers of the Rockefeller Foundation's General Education Board; an endowment rivaled in school policy influence in the first half of the twentieth century only by Andrew Carnegie's various philanthropies; seven curious elements force themselves on the careful reader: 1) There appears a clear intention to mold people through schooling. 2) There is a clear intention to eliminate tradition and scholarship. 3) The net effect of various projects is to create a strong class system verging on caste. 4) There is a clear intention to reduce mass critical intelligence while supporting infinite specialization. 5) There is clear intention to weaken parental influence. 6) There is clear intention to overthrow accepted custom. 7) There is striking congruency between the cumulative purposes of GEB projects and the utopian precepts of the oddball religious sect, once known as Perfectionism, a secular religion aimed at making the perfection of human nature, not salvation or happiness, the purpose of existence. The agenda of philanthropy, which had so much to do with the schools we got, turns out to contain an intensely political component.
The chapter also addresses a peculiarity of American society that I had noticed on my own.
Elite private boarding schools were an important cornerstone in the foundation of a permanent American upper class whose children were to be socialized for power. They were great schools for the Great Race, intended to forge a collective identity among children of privilege, training them to be bankers, financiers, partners in law firms, corporate directors, negotiators of international treaties and contracts, patrons of the arts, philanthropists, directors of welfare organizations, members of advisory panels, government elites, and business elites. Michael Useem's post-WWII study showed that just thirteen elite boarding schools educated 10 percent of all the directors of large American business corporations, and 15 percent of all the directors who held three or more directorships. These schools collectively graduated fewer than one thousand students a year. More spectacular pedagogy than that is hard to imagine.
I have often wondered why so many politicians and leaders come from Harvard, Yale and the like. Having met more than a few graduates of the elite universities, I am 110% certain that ability is not the answer. According to Gatto, that answer is breeding.
The liberal intelligesta of its day set up a system, financed by Carnegie, JP Morgan, and Rockefeller, to protect the business and political interests of America's upper class from the hordes of immigrants hitting the shores.
That system was forced schooling.