Archive for January, 2012

When’s the last time you read headlines about private schools or home educators landing in the “Needs Improvement” category?  Public schools are in a constant crisis of educational reform.  Here’s an example.  If one subgroup, special education students, doesn’t perform well on the high-stakes testing, the school, and possibly the whole school district, will not make AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress)…oh my!  AYP is KING!

The recent cheating scandal in Atlanta Public Schools bears this out.  Administrators and teachers did all they could to salvage AYP.  One teacher was caught saying her justification for cheating was that the kids are so damned dumb.  The problem is that they got caught with their hand in the standardized testing cookie jar.  Oh, make no mistake, they were not the only system cheating.  It’s more wide-spread than you might think.  Once teacher’s salaries are tied to these ridiculous tests, the Atlanta scandal will be remembered as minor.

Here are the 6 obvious reasons forced schooling sucks.

A. Students are not standardized.  I know.  This may seem to be an in-your-face fact, but the “higher-thinking”, special interest driven educrats can’t come to grips with this truth.  Well, that’s not completely fair.  They do understand that each child being victimized by the State leviathan school system is an individual – but must be brought to repentance at the altar of the temple of the cookie-cutter collective.  Schools, as an institution, were created to control the masses by sterilizing the soul and spirit of the individual.

English: So called "New Matura" from...

Classroom management!

The individualist, self-owner, and non-conformist cause the utopian, production-line machinery of schooling envisioned by the egalitarian elites to grind to a halt.  Without the bullying force of the State, public schooling would crash in a ball of fire, allowing free-market forces to provide all manner of individualized educational opportunities for parents and children…including the poor.

B.  The State owns your children.  Parents who resist or test this notion find out the seriousness of compulsory school laws.  Some state laws are more lax than others, but the law remains the same in basic form.  Who’s your owner?

C. Forced schooling is F-O-R-C-E-D!  If a farmer wants to produce healthy bacon to take to market, he should be nice to his pigs.  Give them a little freedom to go graze in the fenced pastures, romp in the mud, and socialize with the other barnyard animals.  Farmers realize that a little freedom is all that’s needed to keep them happy and producing.  If the farmer forced all his little piggies into cages just large enough to stand and lay down,  the livestock would become very unhappy and unproductive.  They’d look for every opportunity to escape to another farm that offered more “freedom”.  So, give them just enough freedom to be useful to the owner.  Force only works when the animals believe they are not being forced into useful servitude to their owners.

I experience the myth that public education is the foundation for democracy and the only hope for western civilization.  How’s that working out for us?  Doesn’t matter.  Our owners believe it and have the force of the State to continue the fairy tale.

D. Public schools pour propaganda down the throats of pupils for 12 plus years. If a child is being raised by parents with religious or political views that differ from the State doctrines, too bad. Open up and swallow hard. It’s for your own good. There is no room for inclusion, unless it is sanctioned by the government.

E. Expert teachers know what’s best for your child. Somehow, that framed piece of paper hanging on the wall gives us teacher a monopoly on “teaching”. The term pedagogue (teacher) originally meant a slave who escorted children to school. We’re not far from the original meaning today. I do work with some wonderfully talented and creative teachers. The level of excellence in a teacher is not reflected in student’s learning in a compulsory school setting. The system does not allow excellent teaching to occur. 30 kids of all levels and backgrounds are piled into a room with one excellent teacher, and she is expected to lead all these students to great educational heights. I doesn’t happen. It’s can’t happen. It’s not suppose to happen. Mediocrity happens!

Every time I hear that a parent has withdrawn one of our students to begin home schooling, I do a little happy dance. I usually say that it’s probably best for that kid. My teaching peers roll their eyes when I suggest that the kid will get a better education at home than in school. “Have you met her parents? I taught her mom and she was dumb as a stump.” This, or a close variation, is the usual uneducated response I get from “educators” protecting their lofty status and job.

F. By it’s nature, forced schooling promotes a hatred for learning. Millions of kids have to be drugged just to get through school. The image of a brutal belt line in a sadistic frat house immediately appears in my mind. The only difference is it last for 12 plus years. Parents seem to think that this is normal. Kids are suppose to hate school. After all, they hated the same institutional system of schooling.

To illustrate, the question, “How will I use this in real life,” interrupted one of my co-teach classes the other day. The student realized his mistake and started back peddling and qualified his question before being embarrassed for asking. “No, I’m not trying to be smart or anything. Just really wondering how I will use this stuff in the real world.” To my amazement, my teaching partner paused, turned to the student, and did the best she could to calmly explain how writing a function rule and plotting a linear equation will come in handy in the real world. I watched the lo0ks on the faces of those who had managed to stay awake. They weren’t buying it. Kids, like most adults, have a sensitive B.S. meter. Most understand when it’s time to put on the hip boots to wade through the crap. As Fletcher, a character in “The Outlaw Josie Wales” said, “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.” To the dismay of many educators, students can tell the difference between rain and urine.

I have yet to find a kid who hated learning things that they were actually interested in learning. How do home school students consistently out perform their public schooled peers? Most home school parents don’t hold a teaching degree or certification from the bogus State credential issuing authority. Some only possess high school diplomas or – “worse-case”, just a GED. Here’s the secret. Their education is individualized. They pursue their own interests at their own pace. Learning will never take place until the student wants to learn.

Given the time to pursue and discover one’s interests and aptitude, real learning will take place. Teaching rote memorization and regurgitation of facts is for standardized testing “success”. Forced schooling was never set up to foster a love for learning. Coercion and conformity is what built the cute little red school-house.

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So, you want a revolution?  It might look like this: The Independent Project.

It’s only a matter of time.  Students are waking up.  They’re smart enough to see the scam of schooling.  They know that they are on the receiving end of brute force designed to inflict IDD, (Intelligence Deficit Disorder).  The elite educrat pimps in the District of Criminals don’t fear The Independent Project.  That kind of uprising can be squashed by a jack-boot on the throat of the school district that allowed such outside-the-box thinking.  Get in line or we’ll stop the flow of stolen money to your district.

I’m not naive.  I know the golden rule.  Whoever controls the gold (or fiat paper we call money) will rule.

John Taylor Gatto suggests in his book, Weapons of Mass Instruction, one way to cripple our educrat rulers: The Bartleby Project.

Publicize the idea.  Share it with friends and family.  This movement of civil disobedience can not take root with central planning or a figure leading the way.  It must be student lead.  It’s an independent thinking revolution.  Individual students can take their education into their own hands by peacefully saying, I prefer not to take your tests,then peacefully refuse to submit to the brutal process.  Teachers and administrators are chained to the institution and can’t help.  I, as well as most of my teaching cohorts, wholly support driving a wooden pencil through the heart of the blood-sucking standardized tests.  The bloody pencil must be in the hands of the students.

Just say NO to standardized tests!

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it. – Upton Sinclair

In my line of work, I’m in contact with many parasitic, pencil pushing State worshipers.  They condemn stealing, yet can’t understand that depositing our paychecks is legalized theft.  We are paid from stolen property taken at the point of a government gun from individual producers.  Once forcibly removed from its rightful owners, the property ends up in the treasure chest of the gang of robbers and murderers. Who among us teachers can wrap our minds around this blood money?

We attempt to justify our theft.  But I’m providing a service to the public.  Really!?  What value is provided?  Is there any educating taking place in institutional forced schooling?  None that I’ve noticed.  I do witness the viral spread of propaganda, coercion, and control.  We bow at the altar of NCLB and teach the bubble test.  We sell our student’s souls to jump through the feds hoops.

President Bush signing the bipartisan No Child...

Smoke and mirrors!

It’s difficult to accept my role as a public school teacher.  Dr. Timothy D. Slekar wrote an article over at Huffington Post titled, “Public Schools Are Not Negotiable.”  From his title, you might guess how he feels about the State and public education.  While Dr. Slekar and I share the same drive to kill abusive, inaccurate standardized testing, our warm-fuzzy ends there.

I am an advocate of laissez-faire style education while Dr. Slekar, Head of the Division of Education, Human Development and Social Sciences at Penn State Altoona, champions public schooling.  He says, “My ultimate goal as an advocate for public schools is to make sure that the institution (American public education) survives the ruthless attack by market-based reformers that only have an interest in taking advantage of the money that remains locked up in the public system of education. Make no mistake about my position. Market-based reforms being pushed by a crowd of people unfamiliar with teaching and learning are trying to destroy the American public school system. And if they succeed democracy will soon follow. If public education is dismantled our last barrier to free thought will be gone. This is a horrible prospect. Therefore, a group of committed advocates has decided that “opting out” of state testing is a way to save public schools.”

Having taught in American public education since 1986, I am very familiar with what is called “teaching” and “learning”.  Experiencing the institution first hand only increases my hopes and dreams of its eventual demise.

My job, like all the other future teachers trained by Dr. Slekar, depends on not understanding the damage done in schooling.  Working the crowd with fearful emotion, he states, “If public education is dismantled our last barrier to free thought will be gone.”  My survey of school victims tells another story.  Free thought is far removed from public education.  The collective box doesn’t respond well to free thinkers.

I’m only one person.  I take a bite out of the proverbial elephant of collectivism daily.  My goal is to sabotage one child’s journey through tyranny each day.  In a free society, one has choices.  Parents may choose the best way to educated their children.  If you believe this, there’s no room under Slekar’s tent for you.  “When they advocate a “choice” movement and market-based reforms to take the place of a system of public education, my tolerance evaporates. When it comes to schooling in America, if you do not see a thriving, community-based public school system situated within diverse settings then “we can’t get along,” “there is no room in the tent,” and “you are not included.”  Breaking the government monopoly on “education” will be very difficult.  Especially when teacher training colleges employ folks like Dr. Slekar.  I could be wrong, but he seems to think that the American public school system is the best thing since indoor plumbing.

Enough with the Orwellian newspeak Dr. Slekar.  Please stop confusing the herd by using the term “education” when you really mean schooling.  The market-based, meddlesome, ignorant outsiders are waking up.  The American bewildered herd won’t fit under your publicly funded tent.  Better move your tent to high ground – maybe on top of your ivory tower.

Uncle Sugar’s lasso isn’t long enough.  The stampede is coming in a flurry of hooves and dust.  Yee-haw to self-ownership and self-education!

“they are building a new gallows
for when You show up on the street”

– Bill Mallonee

I’m at a crossroad.  My choices are:

  1. Go down the familiar road I just traveled
  2. Move forward.

All my life, I’ve been told that there’s security in numbers.  The umbrella of “Authority” is for your protection.  Rebellion is “witchcraft”.  Stay in line and conform.  Don’t rock the boat.  Safety is in the group.  Parents, teachers, friends, institutional church, and especially the State promote the myth of security.  They all want you to lead a normal life.

There is no normal life…There’s just life

Français : Val Kilmer au festival de Cannes

I'm your huckleberry.

In Tombstone, one of my all-time favorite movies, Doc Holliday (played by Val Kilmer) is laying in his death bed and offers this advice to his friend Wyatt Earp, “There is no normal life Wyatt.  There’s only life.”  Honesty is a scarce commodity.  Most folks aren’t honest because the truth, once seen, hurts.  Do you really want a “normal” life?  My “American Dream” will look different from yours.  At least I hope so.  At some point, we all must make the choice to go back or move forward.

I had a difficult time deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up.  When I was 5, I wanted to be the guy who rode on the back of the garbage truck.  My wealth of experience at age 5 told me that it looked pretty fun.  Wind in my hair, dodging dangerous traffic, and fending off yard dogs.  That dream died…thankfully.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s an important job.  Imagine your world with no garbage pick up. Not pleasant.

I declared four different majors ranging from economics to corporate fitness during my college days.  Education stuck.  Which brings me to my crossroad.  My fear, as a teacher in the State’s public school system, real or imagined, is that openly expressing my views, coming out of the closet, will adversely affect my situation.  Yes, I’m familiar with the 1st Amendment; and no, I’m still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Why not just keep my thoughts to myself and maintain the normal life?  I’m not really sure why I’m sharing this leg of my journey as if anyone would be interested.  We’ve all got our own demons to slay.  My choice is to start doing the stuff.  What stuff?  Freedom stuff.  Specifically, taking education into my own hands, filtering the propaganda to find truth, and promoting self-ownership and individual liberty.  Will it be difficult?  Yes, so…

Welcome to Struggleville

Cover of "Welcome to Struggleville"

Cover of Welcome to Struggleville

Those not familiar with Bill Mallonee’s late band, the Vigilantes of Love, I recommend his music.  Here’s a sample of his lyrics from “Welcome to Stuggleville.”  Listen here.

“they are building a new gallows
for when You show up on the street
polishing the electric chair
they’re gonna give You a front row seat
heard a sneer outside the garden
salutation so well heeled
“final stop no points beyond struggleville
welcome all you suckers to struggleville”

Written by Bill Mallonee for Russachugama Music and CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) ©1994

I’ve always been a sucker for the struggle.  My family moved to America, before it was America,  in 1735.  They fought in the Revolutionary War and the War of Northern Aggression.  I can’t help myself.  It’s in my genes.  I’m comfortable in my genes.  Being a southern son taught me the meaning of struggle.  Struggle is good.  Life begins with a struggle and gets worse from there.  Learning to walk.  There are no manuals with illustrated guides.  Born as rational being, we figure it out with each failure. We fail forward.  Freedom is in our genes.  Personal liberty is our nature.  Our job is to avoid the chains of servitude.

English: A black & white illustration of a Per...

Who's your owner?

“Who owns you?” 

I asked the above question to a student the other day.  His face wrinkled with thought.  “My parents…I guess.”  He’s twelve years old.  I could tell he’d never been asked this question.  I dug deeper.  “Do you have a right to talk or get up and go relieve yourself when you want to?  Do you have a right to direct and control your own actions?”  Tail-spin!  We’re gonna crash!  Pull up!  Pull up!!!!  “Not at school,” was his quick response.  No deep thinking needed on this one.

To avoid the nasty wreckage in his mind, I asked, “If you don’t have self-ownership, who owns you?”  Even though slaves were sold and “owners” held a bill-of-sale, did a slave still possess self-ownership?  “No.  The owner owned them,” he said.  Clearly, the logic of self-ownership was virgin territory in his mind.  So, I hooked the turning plow to my tractor and fired up the diesel engine to disturb the soil a bit.

He struggled to wrap his mind around his right to self-ownership.  I explained that there had to be legal transfer of property.  Could a young, kidnapped African on the selling block give up his self-ownership?  Even if he was willing, he could not give up self-ownership.  He’s a human being and has a natural-born right to own his life.  By owning himself, he’d be free to decide what to learn, when to learn, and how to learn.  He’s an individual and not the property of another or a collective group.  No one, or group, has the right to impose, through force, their will on you.  Your body and mind is owned by you.  The things created through your mind and actions are your property. Property is life.  Without it, there is no life.  Period.  You are the proprietor of your life. 

Again, his response, “Not in school.”  What a cruel joke…

Welcome to Stuggleville, USA!

“There is no normal life Wyatt, There’s just life.”

“There is no normal life Wyatt, There’s just life.”

“There is no normal life Wyatt, There’s just life.”

“There is no normal life Wyatt, There’s just life.”

“You going under there?”

“No Sir!”, I managed as I felt a bit of vomit in my throat.

I was working with my daddy in his plumbing business.  I was twelve.  I’d been on many calls with him, but none like this one.  He got a call to come over and “fix a toilet.”  That was the only info we had to work with.  The house belonged to an older man in our little country town.  His son attended the same school (there was only one) and would later become basketball phenom and end up playing for big bucks in the NBA.

West's silhouette serves as the current NBA logo.

Anywho, we walked into the house and was lead through a big room with two refrigerators, one with a logging chain and padlock wrapped around it.  My daddy being the curious type asked about the appliance arrangement.  Our client informed us that the “secure” fridge was locked to keep the young-ens out of his beer.  Things get weirder.

The bathroom, the target for most of our service calls, was hiding behind a real wooden door.  Holl0w-core doors were futuristic and unavailable during the building of this old house.  He swung the door open without warning, with an air of pride in his DIY skills.  I struggled unsuccessfully to mask my shock, yet, was amazed at the gentleman’s crude resourcefulness.

English: Do it yourself

The problem glared at us immediately.  A porcelain thrown with it’s contents level to the rim.  The nature of this situation was nothing new for my daddy.  He’d become a master plumber after leaving the Navy in the late 50’s.  Other peoples shit had become his bread and butter.

English: A pat of butter, served on a leaf, wi...

“How long has it been stopped up?”

“Couple of months now,” he told Daddy.

Our client’s do-what-ya-had-do “fix” for his clogged toilet was quite simple.  Knock a hole in the floor in front of his reading room throne to eliminate the topped-off waste that refused it’s proper exit route.  It’s gotta go somewhere.  The jagged hole was just wide enough to comfortably hover and do your business.  True story.  I’m not creative enough to come up with this stuff.

Then I heard it.  It was undetectable to the untrained ear, but unmistakable to me.  I’d been trained by the best.  I knew a quick exit was at hand.  Somehow, Daddy managed to evacuate the dwelling and find a tree to grab.  Peeling bark from the poor plant, he was free to release the turmoil he’d just experienced.

The Tree Hugger Project, Installation in Wilko...

After gathering his professional wits, we made our way to the downhill side of the ship-lap sided structure.  He straddled the river of fecal matter trickling from the foundation and somehow managed to open the crawlspace door.  I heard that distinctive sound again.   This time coming from me.  We squatted and “admired” the glory hole of our client’s nifty DIY project.

The memory of these four words, “You going under there?”, haunt me to this day.  Needless to say, we lost a client on that hot summer day.  Hearing these words, “I can’t help you, sir,” was, perhaps, the proudest I’ve ever been of my daddy!

In a discussion with my middle schoolers yesterday, I asked if they knew who Steve Jobs was.  Some did, some didn’t.  I then asked, “How many college degrees do you think he earned?”  One student guessed 14.  They were shocked to learn he never completed college.  How could he have been so smart and successful without going to what all public school students are indoctrinated to believe is essential to successful adult life?  I explained that Jobs saw college as a waste of time and a drain on the pocketbook of his working class parents.  Then I really blew their closed minds.

“My daddy dropped out of high school in the 10th grade and became a successful business man.”  They asked for whom he worked.  Not in those exact words.  “For himself,” I answer.  They didn’t understand.  “So, what did he do?”  I told them he was a plumber.  Eeeuh was the sound a few made.  One girl couldn’t wrap her mind around how that job could lead to a prosperous life.  I asked if she had all sorts of fecal matter and sewage backed up in her bath tub, could she fix the problem?  “Nooooo!  I wouldn’t touch that stuff.”  Not many folks will.  That’s the secret of my daddy’s success.  Find a need and provide value.

Push-Button-Easy

Push the Button (The Chemical Brothers album)

I don’t fault students for their lofty “push-button-easy” attitudes. Endless streams of State propaganda pamphlets bombard young minds as the black helicopters hover over school buildings that share a striking resemblance to prisons.  By the time they reach me in middle school, the damage to mind and spirit is obvious.  Insert Pink Floyd lyrics here: “We don’t need no thoughts controlled.”  There are no “real” options for our future generation if you believe the State.  Go to college or fail!

The typical educrat argument I’ve encountered most often is that Steve Jobs was an outlier.  How about Richard Branson of Virgin fame.  He was a fluke.  Many of our Founding Fathers didn’t attend high school, much less university.  That was a different time.  Swayed by the State paradigm,  implies that we, in the institutional schools, believe that the students herded into our holding pens are basically stupid and need experts to guide “right” choices.  They’re our future for crying out loud.  Public “education” is their only hope.

Hum, why don’t we ask some of the herd what they think of forced schooling?  Their responses aren’t shocking if you’ve ever spent much time in these hallowed institutions.  Click here to watch “Love Letter To Albuquerque Public Schools”  (Hat tip to my thespian daughter for the link).

After ten years of spending $25 billion each year on failing government schools, you think those “Love Letters” from public school students would show a little more appreciation to the bureaucratic boondoggle called No Child Left Behind.  Have no fear, Race To The Top is the newest educrat solution.

I hear that old familiar rumbling sound in my gut again.  Gotta go!

I’m scared.  For my grandson!  He turns 5 this year and will soon get thrown into the collective pot of tepid water.  Sitting around the fire pit in our back yard after Christmas, I told my daughter my concerns.  “If I get fired from my frog boiling duties (government school teaching) for not conforming to authoritarianism, I want to home school Chris (not my grandson’s real name).”  She welcomed the idea.

Boiling Frog

Chris is scheduled to enroll in “Frog Boiling 101” next year.  I’m referring here to the intentional scheme of indoctrination by the State in forced schooling.  I’m scared for our future as a family and, on a larger scale, our country.  Throughout our short history, promoters of the good-of -the-group collective understood the crucial role “education” would play in destroying individualism.  Jane Addams, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1931), said, “America’s future will be determined by the home and the school.  The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach, and how we live.”  While I’m opposed to her philosophy and efforts to downplay the individual, she speaks truth to the subject of schooling in America.

Addams admonishes, “ The child becomes largely what he is taught.”  What do we teach in public schools?  Answer: Frog boiling.  Are the principles of liberty lost in the memory hole?  What does our future hold?  Liberty or slavery?  What exactly is “Frog Boiling 101”?

The loss of liberty doesn’t happen over night.  It slowly slips away into the memory hole.  In my youth, we’d go frog gigging on summer nights.  The process was simple.  Get in a john boat with a flash light and a barbed piece of metal on the end of a long stick and paddle to the croaking sounds.  Shine the light on the edge of the bank and pick your victim – and watch for snakes in overhanging limbs.  Nothing empties a boat faster than a water moccasin landing on your bare feet.

For any PETA members that may have stumbled upon my story, gigging is a relatively quick and humane (okay, maybe not) method to kill a frog.  We didn’t make frog skin boots to flaunt our youthful manliness.  We simply ate the critters.  Here’s something that should really get you boiling mad: Frog Boiling 101!

This is close enough to frog spots.

This method is far more brutal and torturous.  It’s epidemic!  If PETA  ever organizes a protest of this grotesque scourge to millions, I’ll be the first in line with cardboard on stick.  I promise!

You see, the reason frog boiling is such a methodical evil, yet effective cooking method, is the deception of the process.  A young, unsuspecting, innocent creature is placed in large pot of lukewarm water, typically from a municipal water-spout.  In the room temperature liquid, he begins splashing around and meets all his new friends in this new water park atmosphere.  What could more fun?

The fun begins to wear off.  Boredom and rigid schedules and rules take over…and the keeper of the heat stokes the fire.  Little by little, the swimming area begins to heat up.  No problem thinks the juveniles.  I’m actually getting used to the heat.  It bothers me from time to time, but no biggie.  A wise keeper or manager of the heat knows not to bring the water to boil before the process begins.  Uncle Ed is an expert on, well, everything and he knew, and advised that a wild, free-range amphibians would leap from the scalding pot immediately.  If the fire increase below the pot gradually and with patience, a slow cooking will take place.  When I say slow, I mean a 12 year process.  The meat falls of the bones.  Yum!

Tender is good!

If a stick of red oak is added incrementally, the frogs go on playing in the water and suspect nothing.  They are very adaptive critters.  You must play to this tendency.  They’ll notice the water is a little hotter, but not shockingly so.  Only a little worse.  They do whisper to one another as it starts steaming.  With close inspection, you may even hear a vague voice of resistance.  Don’t worry.  They always wait for a drastic temperature swing hoping for one of the a brave resister to make trouble and leap for freedom.  That never happens if you apply heat imperceptibly.  “It’s not so bad,” they end up muttering as they wipe sweat from each others brows.  Besides, after 12 years of little heat increases in an institutional pot, it’s quite intimidating to even dream of freedom in the real swamp.  It actually begins to feel “secure” in the pot.  These metal walls keep the water moccasins out.  Each stick of fire wood is less shocking to the senses.  Weakness in the limbs is thought to be a natural occurrence for everyone.

There have been a few lucky enough to escape.  They told their horrible tales back in the swamp but were labeled alarmist and a little touched.  History has no place in today’s schooling.  It must be directed. Dumb frogs are good for our keepers.  They introduced the course and perfected the methodology of “Frog Boiling 101”.

What to do?  GET OUT OF THE POT while you can!

Dinner is served!

WD-40 lubricant with straw for easy-spray.

Open a can and grease the schooling machine

A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers (emphasis mine)…. The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.    ~ Aldous Huxley

Where’s the resistance?  The American system of schooling has quenched the fire of resistance in our youth.  Rebellion is drugged out of kids.  Unquestioning obedience is demanded. Compliance to “authority” is the goal.

I’d just turned 16 and was the proud owner of my first car, a brown, four-door, Ford LTD.  That baby would fly.  In my first summer driving, my brother, our two best friends and I went cruising.  Back then it was on dirt roads.  One of the Einstein’s in the back seat wanted to lift a couple of crates of empty soda bottles from an old mans front porch…for gas money.  To make a long story painful, the plan went off without a hitch – we thought.

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d...

Someone saw us and called the Sheriff.  In our little town, they didn’t need a tag number.  Everybody knew everybody’s business…and parents.  Sheriff Jones called my daddy to let him handle us pranksters. We got back home and saw Daddy standing in the driveway.  Nobody was nervous yet.  As we piled out of the dusty, brown land yacht, we suddenly realized our fate.  Daddy shouted for us to get in the back of his plumbing truck.  We did so with terror etched in our eyes.

My childhood friend later told me, “I thought he was taking us to woods to beat our asses with a stick!”

Daddy flew up the two miles of dirt road faster than safely allowed with no conversation from the four rogue teenagers squeezed between oxy/acetylene tanks, side-body tool boxes, and a homemade pipe rack served as our razor wire fencing.  When he reached pavement, he slammed on the brakes and the line from “Cool Hand Luke” rolled through my mind: “Any man playing grabass or fightin’ in the building spends a night in the box.”  We walked seven miles to town picking up bottles to pay for our deed.

Strother Martin

I distinctly remembered rebelling and refusing to pick up bottles as we walked.  Why?  Because Daddy told me to, and I justified my guilt.  I was just the driver.  Plus, I hated being told what to do, by anyone.

The more righteous reader might say I got what I deserved and need a humbling lesson.  A good ol’ country ass-whooping was probably in line.  Well, that and many other contumacious moments have served me well on my pilgrimage of knowing my self.

Coercion and fear was needed for us to scour the ditches of our main highway on that hot  July day.  Please don’t think that I equate my dad to a tyrant.  He’s my hero actually.  I want to be like him one day.

It just seems that servitude and serfdom is embraced today by our young.  When I see a kid that’s been tossed into our halls, I’ll stop, if I’m not jumping through some stupid, bureaucratic, time-wasting, paper pushing hoop.  It brings back memories of my school days.  I have a new respect for the ones labeled as trouble makers.  When I ask them what’s up, they get all defensive.  I tell them I hated (and hate) school too.  That usually tears down the student-teacher wall and allows us to talk freely.

For the most part, students are obedient slaves.  This isn’t a recent phenomenon.  Upon accepting the New York City Teacher of the Year Award on in 1990, John Taylor Gatto dropped a bomb on those in attendance still denying the truth about schooling by saying,

“The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders.  This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions.”

English: Russia, Shackles in Museum of Deporta...

Today, government schools promote: socializing (brainwashing) students for selfless good-of-the group mentality, individualists are not happy and probably mentally ill, forced association, robotic answers to stupid questions teachers say are important, vilifying self-interest, stripping souls of courage, wussification of boys, placement in an educational caste system through standardized testing, “education” is the only redeeming hope for society’s collective paradise, and above all, compliance.  Students are viewed as soft globs of clay in need of molding.

What’s with all the doom and gloom about our public school system?  History.  Truth.  All it takes is a small amount of effort to open one’s eyes and dare a peek at reality.

If you can’t pry the lids open, don’t worry, forced schooling will keep lubricating the State’s tyrannical machine like a good can of WD-40.

“What’s you parent’s phone number?!” I’d demand in my stern teacher voice.

“I don’t know.”

“It’s gonna be a lot worse for you if I have to go to the office and look it up.  And if they tell me that you DO know their number, you’ll be in deeper trouble than you are now!  So, what’s it gonna be?”  At this point, they’d usually break and give up the number.  I’d write it down and usually not call.  This created the leverage needed.  Besides, if I actually called, the parents might want to meet with me to discuss John’s grades and behavior.  Usually after school.  I don’t get paid enough to stay late.

In 1985, during my student teaching experience, my supervising teacher told me, “When your class comes to your room the first day of school, don’t smile until after Christmas break.”  He was right.  It worked.  I became a stone cold image, king of my classroom throne, and dictator in my little world.  I was proud of the control and thought of myself as a success on that level.

I had a list of rules posted.  The first week was run like boot camp.  I’d break them down.  I trained the students how I expected them to enter my class.  We’d actually practice entering each day.  No teaching, just training.  No talking, touching, or thinking.  I was told this was good classroom management practices.  It is, if you want to break people like a wild animal.  Robotic motions.  Absurd rules.  This made my handlers happy.

English: AIESEC Students

Here’s a few more tools that helped me in my early years of tyrannical teaching:

  • Create an atmosphere of fear.  Be unpredictable and intimidating.  A state of suspended terror.
  • Play mind games. Psych-Ops.
  • Take away rights.
  • Extend privileges.
  • Teach them to never question authority.  Especially yours.
  • Belittle and browbeat as necessary.  Legal bullying.
  • Punish rule breakers.  Make consequences harsh.
  • Teach dependence based on my superior knowledge. Never teach them so much that they can do without you.  Become their Moses.
  • Completely crush rebellion.  Leave no embers burning. Annihilate the spirit.  I’m just doing my job.  They pay me to “teach” whether you learn or not.
    Anthems of Rebellion
  • Keep students in suspended terror.  Students are creatures of habit and love the familiar.  Be unpredictable and intimidating.  Keep them off-balance.
  • Make students play with the cards you deal.  Make them feel as though they have choices.  It make the victims happier.  The house always wins.
  • Tap into the fantasies of the masses.  Yes, you can all be NFL players and win American Idol.
    Former logo of American Idol from 2002 to 2008.

     

  • Subdue the ring leader and control the herd.  Single out the leader/trouble maker and make an example of him/her by harsh punishment

I know this may sound absurd and ridiculous.  I’ve given up these techniques and chosen not to be an instrument of terror.  There’s great pressure to practice these techniques in government-run schools.

My name is Bartleby Scrivener, and I am an ex-torturer of students.

Bartleby the Scrivener