There is one interpretation of education that posits it is one of the highest goals of life, a quest for understanding carried out on one’s own accord, and it is something to be revered. Teaching in this context assists the learner to learn for themselves, to have control over what they want to learn and master. This interpretation of education is something separate and very different from the institutions used for the purpose of indoctrination we know as school.
Powerful structures in society need people to be indoctrinated. Otherwise, people start questioning things and they will not fulfill the roles assigned to them. So from childhood, young people are taken and placed into a framework to learn to follow orders and not challenge the existing framework.
Schooling is a standardized system of indoctrination to train children for stupidity and conformity. The system is designed to filter out anyone who is not obedient. By ensuring lots of stupidity, stupid assignments, stupid rules and busy work, obedient workers will move through the system unencumbered. Anyone who might think and act for themselves will be filtered out. When children refuse to submit to authority or if young people say “I am not going to do that,” they are deemed to have behavioral problems. These children are at the very least seen with suspicion and castigated, rooted out for more thorough indoctrination, and if they do not conform they are removed from the system.
Parents are left with few choices, if children miss too many school days, parents can face criminal penalties.
Teachers in schools are left with few choices. If they speak up and tell the children what is really going on, they risk losing their jobs.
For the most part, teachers are mindless participants in the indoctrination. Of course some teachers do try encouraging their students to think critically, but a teacher in the indoctrination system has to tread carefully if they are really teaching the children to think for themselves.
There are very powerful people who are afraid people won’t have the necessary humility to submit to rule if they think for themselves. If people are not obedient, if they start thinking for themselves, they might try to press their demands in the political arena. Those people will have ideas of their own instead of believing and doing exactly what they are told.
The system needs conformity and blind obedience to authority. The system needs you stupid. The purpose of the educational system is to train obedient conformists who don’t think too much, who do what they are told, who stay passive, and who would never cause any crisis of democracy. Don’t question the system, don’t question authority, this is the purpose of school.
Image: “OBEY” by Anthony Albright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0