The Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation

Submitted By atlantean
Words: 833
Pages: 4

The Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation Has anyone ever sat in their math, English, or science class and been working on a question or assignment and, all of a sudden, the thought that was hovering just in the background start to ring out, “When am I ever going to use this in the real world?” Perhaps, that is just what the heads of the education system require students to be thinking. According to the writings of John Taylor Gatto and the studies of Jean Anyon, there is almost a “through line” linking the social classes in American society to the kinds of education one receives from schooling. Throughout many schools in America, there have been recordings of academic regimens being too dense and less engaging in student activity. In Gatto’s piece, “Against School”, he states that the education system is purposefully sabotaging the discipline distributed to their students. Gatto quoted a portion of an article written by H.L. Mencken about the state of education in the 1920’s saying, “The aim is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level…” Gatto goes on to say, “Mencken was being perfectly serious here… our educational system is Prussian in origin” (151). His point being that there is a “utopian state” air issued to the youth; the yielding result favoring the nation more than the individual themselves. This application also justifies not so much the set of classes, but that there is a limitation of education for young scholars.
Jean Anyon concurs with her observations taken from sample schools. In her report, “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work”, she conducted research at schools which she classified into four categories: Working-Class, Middle-Class, Affluent Professional, and Executive Elite schools. Of the two first schools listed, Working and Middle Class, the work done in the classrooms was dull and more detail heavy; not relying on intuitive thinking and apprehension at a stimulating level. Anyon reveals, “Most of the rules regarding work are designations of what the children are to do; the rules are steps to follow,” in the Working Class schools (173). In the Middle Class, the chain lengthened only slightly. “Answers are usually found in the books or by listening to the teacher… answers must be given in the right order, and one cannot make them up,” (176). Nevertheless, the separation of education, into different social classes, is beginning to look less and less opaque. Of the most influential theories of the rift in the education of different social classes in America, is that it is to benefit the wealthy and keep the less fortunate down at the bottom rung. Gatto boldly claims that the powers on high do not want well educated people, but rather, mindlessly obedient workers. He goes on to mention Woodrow Wilson in his address to the New York City School Teachers’ Association in 1909: “We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons… to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” Gatto then continues stating that schools have done a remarkable job at keeping children “children,” never growing up with personal responsibilities or independence, thereby acquiring traits of avarice, jealousy, fear and envy (154). Heading on back