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MUDSILL THEORY, THE LANCASTER AMISH AND JAIME ESCALANTE by ©John Taylor Gatto

 

The current system of government factory schooling is based on a belief that ordinary children cannot accomplish much, will not work hard unless coerced, tricked, or bribed, and will inevitably work for the balance of their post-school lives - if they work at all - in large government, corporate, or institutional employment pyramids managed by a professional élite.

As axiomatic as these usually unstated beliefs have become they would once have been considered outrageous. For the first two hundred and fifty years of American history, from Plymouth to Darwin's second bombshell, The Descent of Man (1871) the nation operated on a much different set of premises about human nature. Though recognizing a generic flaw which prevented even the best people from achieving perfection, it was widely held that great improvement, competency, dignity and self-respect were available to everyone who worked for it.

The three postulates that replaced this hard-nosed optimistic view had always characterized the outlook of the British nobility and the British state religion created by that nobility, but it was a position so violently unacceptable to Americans that we fought a war to rid ourselves of it. By the middle of the l9th century, however, with the growth of international trade and an increasing reliance on British bankers to finance American westward expansion, the poisonous outlook began to creep back into drawing room conversations. One British bloodline of intellectuals in particular supplied a major line of argument against a libertarian interpretation of human possibility, three cousins: Thomas Malthus, Charles Darwin and Francis Galton.

Malthus'Essay on population growth inevitably outstripping food supply sent chills through the entire European/American élite establishment at the beginning of the l9th century. He said nothing could halt the inexorable march of mathematics - people grew geometrically, food grew arithmetically - and so it was better to be cruel, work people to death and whatever else you did, by all means don't "educate" them. In the middle of the century cousin number two said people were descended from protozoic particles through an endless living chain which had no other meaning than to kill off its weak links and allow the stronger to reproduce themselves. The word "education" in such a reality would have absolutely no meaning. A little over a decade later cousin two, Charles Darwin, wrote a second book even more shocking than the first. In book two, cousin two established a very complex revolutionary ladder made up of "the races of man," the label "race" having many more levels than we think of in our latter-day usage. Darwin said that unless steps were taken to keep the lower orders from breeding with the higher orders the human race would go crashing backwards down the ladder of evolution into the primordial slime from which it had come.

This second book had such pointed advice for public policy makers and wealthy special interests that while it cannot be said to have been "suppressed," you never hear mention of it today. Not because its advice has been ignored but for just the opposite reason. When the most powerful men in America held a dinner for Darwin's authoritative publicist, Herbert Spencer, in 1882 at Delmonico's restaurant in New York, and presented him with $400,000 in gold as a tribute of their affection for what he had taught them about "survival of the fittest," at that minute the future of American mass compulsion schooling was settled. It would be the first line of defense against an evolutionary catastrophe. Nothing could be done to help the "lesser" races anyway. Keeping them in total ignorance was the most merciful thing to do until a more final solution would be worked out.

Cousin number three, Francis Galton, for all practical purposes the creator and distributor of all the statistical numbers games that infest American and global scholarship, commerce and government thinking these days, worked out a variety of tools and techniques to assure the best would breed with the best and the worst would, step by step, be bred out of existence. Galton wrote the definitive book on the inheritance of intelligence (and conversely the inheritance of stupidity), created forced sterilization legislation to be used on the "unfit," which was tested all over the U.S. by 1906 and which became the pilot for Nazi Germany's forced sterilization policy and invented single handedly the "science" of eugenics.

So from 1800 to 1900 one British family provided scientific and mathematical reasons why the dumb should stay dumb, and couldn't do anything else. Ordinary children cannot accomplish much, they cannot accomplish anything unless coerced, tricked or bribed (that's of course behavioral psychology in a nutshell), and they must be taken care of like children for all their days.

These three postulates were dubbed "Mudsill theory" by none other than Abraham Lincoln, who set out to contest them in the 1850s when they were still in an embryonic state. "Mudsill" refers to the simple earthen entryway to cabins and rude homes and hence was a shorthand for dismissing the people who lived in these places as hopeless. Mudsill theory became the reigning school philosophy, though not, for a longer time, its practice, by the beginning of the 20th century. To understand mudsill theory better I want to take you back to Abe Lincoln's day and Andrew Jackson's - and to an article called "the Working Classes" which appeared in the famous Boston Quarterly Review in 1840.

2.A New Religion

The author of "The Working Classes" was a famous 19th century man of affairs whose name would have been recognizable everywhere then, Orestes Brownson. Brownson's attention had been drawn by the drumbeating of Horace Mann and his crowd for legislation creating an institution of mass state compulsion schooling. Brownson looked behind the public rhetoric and felt compelled to speak out against the idea.

Horace Mann, said Brownson, was the front man for a syndicate trying to impose British merchant/banker/industrialist world-view as the gospel of a new religion. "A system of education so constituted," he said, "may as well be a religion established by law." Mann's heavy financial backing was coming from railroad builders, coal-mining interests, real-estate developers and commercial/industrial promoters of national and global business schemes.

There was nothing popular, local or personal about this artificial conceit of forced schooling; its purpose was to weaken people's capacity to educate themselves, to break their loyalty to family, church and land in order to release customers and workforce for élite schemes of economics and social ordering. Brownson said the teaching function belonged in a democracy to the whole community, not to a controlled monopoly, and we had already become the best educated people in history on our own hook. "Children," he said, "were far better off educated by the general pursuits, habits and moral tone of the community" than by a privileged class of corporate or government agents.

The mission of the United States, its justification for existence according to Brownson, was to "raise up the ordinary and make every man really free and independent." Whatever schooling should be allowed in this kind of society under government auspices should be dedicated to the principle of independent livelihoods and close, self-reliant families.

Now whether you agree with Brownson or not, the point is that this historic reaction to the coming of forced schooling raises a serious question we are still asking today: If schools cannot teach us to read, write and count, why do we have them? What agenda are these places really running and who authorized it? Think of it this way: If there are high-level undiscussed agendas in public schooling enacted without public awareness or debate, then school becomes a kind of behavioral conditioning laboratory serving those who superintend its real mission - which most of us are unaware of - against those who do not.

However we can ignore this larger question for the moment and spend some time productively on whether Brownson's faith in ordinary people was justified - was there any evidence in the time from which he wrote that common people were much more than Malthus, Darwin, Galton, Mann & Co. thought they were? In 1990 the labor scholar Chris Clarke published a book entitled The Roots of Rural Capitalism in which he explored the labor economy of the 1840s in the U.S. In it he reported the general labor market in that period was highly undependable because it was shaped by family concerns, personal farming took priority, then family duty - any hired work outside of that had to adapt. So rural manufacture had a homespun, chatty character. Wage labor was only a supplement to a broad strategy of household economy, one in which most households aimed at self-sufficiency in food, clothing, construction, furnishings, candles, entertainment, medical care, old-age assistance, everything. Marriages were partnerships of home-centered work. By age five children were active participants in the work of the household. The normal family was a production unit, spinning out a large part of the meaning and substance of its own life - the era of consumption for wages had hardly begun and the era of government as father and mother wasn't even dreamed of.

Of course people worked for each other and even worked for wages full-time when they were young, but the ideal and expectation was that this was for the purpose of assembling a stake to strike out on one's own. Christopher Lasch tells the story of Sam Goodrich of Ridgefield, Connecticut who remembered in his diary a time when servants, "were of the neighborhood, generally daughters of respectable farmers and mechanics" and "servitude implied no degradation."

Any successful tradition of self-reliance like we once had requires a theory of human nature to sustain it which allows for self-improvement; before an economy of independent livelihoods can be broken apart and scavenged for its labor units, people first have to be brought to believe in a pessimistic appraisal of human potential, something that once bore the label, "mudsill theory."

I learned about Abraham Lincoln's rebuttal of mudsill theory from Richard Hofstadter's 1948 book, The American Political Tradition. Lincoln had become aware that an opinion was circulating in the U.S. out of England that it is useless and dangerous to educate working people very far; he attacked mudsill theory as a distortion of real human nature because as he looked around him most of the people he saw had independent livelihoods or were working toward them. The notion that nobody would work unless they were pushed or tricked particularly bothered him. Here are his actual words from a speech made in September, 1959 to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society:

Having assumed [that nobody would work unless forced to] they proceed to consider whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent; or buy them, and drive them to it without their consent.

Having proceeded so far they naturally conclude that all laborers are necessarily either hired laborers or slaves, one or the other. They further assume that whoever is once a hired laborer is fatally fixed in that condition for life; and thence again that his condition is as bad as or worse than that of a slave. This is the mudsill theory.

What contradicted mudsillism for Lincoln was the "inconvenient fact" that a large majority of Americans were "neither hirers nor hired." Now whether you believe a common economy of small proprietorship is possible or not it's clear that Abe Lincoln thought he was describing one as an American reality in 1859.

Where you and I are, perched on the cusp of the 2lst century, Lincoln's independent social reality seems a daydream, yet we need some way to explain the baffling example of the Mondragon Cooperative in the Basque Region of Spain where every one of 120,000 families is indeed an independent producer, which has existed through depressions and recessions for 70 years without a single year of negative growth. And we have to explain away 150,000 Old Order Amish who enjoy nearly universal proprietorship in farms and small enterprises. For both these groups, one American, one Spanish, it is as if giant socialistic governments, giant international corporations and colossal hospitals, social work establishments, colleges and institutional schools have been irrelevant for the entire 20th century. It suggests a third way - which I confess has loomed larger and larger in my own thinking for quite some time now.

Amish prosperity, strong family, strong faith, strong community, is something I'll speak of in more detail in a little while, but in thinking of it - in contrast to a mudsill society - we need to remember the good things weren't handed to them, but achieved in the face of daunting odds, often against the active enmity of the state and its agencies which have long sought to de-Amish the Amish. The Amish survived and even prevailed against odds. Doesn't that put a base of credibility under Lincoln's or Brownson's assertion that we once operated under a realistic national goal of independence for all. I mean if the Amish have pulled it off when such an aim contradicted the hidden national agenda, surely the rest of us were doing it when it accorded with our national mission.

3.Schools and Business

Now it takes no great intellect to see that anti-mudsill curriculum taught broadly in today's economic environment would directly attack the dominant economy and might provoke a disaster. This wouldn't happen intentionally, but the lack of malice would be poor compensation for those whose businesses were destroyed because they could neither attract employees or more importantly, attract customers, because people were doing for themselves what had heretofore been done by governments, corporations and institutions. Assuming what Lincoln and Brownson say actually happened is still possible - and to assume that you have to discard bell-curve assertions - to tailor schooling to an independent livelihood perspective would, no matter how gently you approached it, wreck the current economy and political state.

This is why many alternative schooling ideas fizzle out quickly. However inadvertently, most of them breed an independence of mind which inevitably gets people thinking about self-sufficiency. From the point of view of big government, big corporation, big institution the incentive to support educational practices whose graduates would not fit easily into your own plans just isn't there. To me it seems inconceivable that it would ever be. Why would anyone who makes a living selling certain goods, say cigarettes or processed cheese, or services, say welfare inspections or school teaching, be enthusiastic about schools that taught, even indirectly, that those things weren't necessary? What about schools that taught "less is more?" How could that be good for business? What about schools that taught that television-viewing, even of PBS, alters the structure of the mind for the worse? Can you imagine that being encouraged?

When I see the dense concentration of big business names associated with school reform I get crazy, not because they are bad people - most aren't any worse than you or me - but because the best interests of a developing mind and corporate interests can't possibly be a good fit; and frequently they are violently antagonistic. Think of cigarettes, whisky, fast cars and foxy young women as icons of the marketing-promulgated good life. Morality aside, the mental conditioning it takes to accommodate such things as the goals of work don't live easily with home, hearth, family, intimate friendships or thoughts of any transcendent reality.

All school curricula except the most basic will either secure or disestablish things as they are; it's not a polar thing, of course, but the cumulative effect of centralized curriculum tends in one or another direction: consumption...or production. Mudsill theory prepares the ground for an outlook on ordinary people as "masses," simplified consumption units biologically incompetent for much other than to be held in a low-level narcotized state until public policy decides what to do with them in a micro-chip age. It doesn't require much imagination to figure out what eventually the answer has to be.

You'll have figured out by now that I think we have to scrap mudsill theory before mudsill theory scraps us. Getting rid of it is a necessity, but unfortunately there is no painless transition formula. The thing is institutionalized in every school - with buzzers, routines, standardized assessments, comprehensive lifelong rankings intermingled with an interminable presentation of carrot and stick. The positive and negative reinforcement schedules of behavioral psychology are only possible to think of as tools if you subscribe to mudsillism. It is deeply ingrained in the whole work/school/media constellation.

4. The Lancaster Amish

At the heart of any school reform that isn't simply tuning the mudsill mechanism lie two hypotheses: 1) That talent, intelligence, grace and accomplishment are within the reach of every kid who hasn't been too badly damaged. 2) That we are better off generating our own lines of meaning for ourselves; independent livelihoods are superior than working for others.

But how on earth can you believe these things in the face of a century of institution-shaping/economy-shaping that claims something different? And in the face of a constant stream of media threats that jobs are vanishing, that the workplace demands more regulation and discipline, and that "foreign competition" will bury us if we don't comply with expert prescriptions in the years ahead? One powerful antidote to such propaganda is looking at evidence which contradicts official propaganda - like women who earn as much as doctors selling fresh-cooked shrimp from old white trucks parked beside the road, or 13-year-old Greek boys who don't have time to waste going to school because they expect to be independent businessmen before most kids are out of college.

I hope at least a few of you did a double-take on my last non sequitur but I promise to tell you about both of these anti-mudsill phenomena because I had personal experience with both not very long ago. First the Greek-American boy who we shall call

5. Stanley

Not very long ago I had a 13 year-old Greek boy named Stanley as one of my students. Stanley was big, very bright, hard as a rock and only came to school about one day a month. It seems Stanley had five aunts and uncles, all in business for themselves before they were 21: a florist, an unfinished furniture builder, a delicatessen owner, a taxicab owner and a dry cleaner/laundry. When Stanley cut school he passed from store to store where in exchange for free labor he got to learn the business. "This way I decide which business I like well enough to set up for myself," he told me when I was ordered to put the heat on him for absenteeism. "Listen. You tell me what books to read and I'll read them, but I don't have time to waste in school if I don't want to end up like the rest of these jerks working for someone else." After I heard that I couldn't in good conscience lean on him to stay in school. Could you? Why? So he could be "socialized"?

In 1896 there were 5000 Old Order Amish in the United States, now there are 150,000 of them in 19 states and several foreign countries. 85% of their grown children freely chose the Amish way of life even though nobody holds a gun to their heads. You might compare that to the grandsons and granddaughters of the Puritans who left the church in such great numbers it had to continually rewrite its own rules just to stay in business. And after 200 years had virtually collapsed into secular forms. Of course the Amish need to prove themselves a little longer, but a 3000% growth in numbers in the most secular of all centuries isn't doing too bad so far. Consider that virtually 100% of these people are engaged in an independent livelihood though none go beyond eighth grade - and wouldn't even go that far except the law forced them to. Almost 50% of the Lancaster Amish operate small businesses, not farms although not one of them uses a computer, electricity, or drives a motorcar. The community is crime-free, prosperous and has a 5% business failure rate compared to a non-Amish rate of 85% among computer-using, electricity dependent, motorcar-mad un-Amish competitors.

Isn't that a puzzle? According to mudsill, bell-curve theory it isn't strange, it's impossible. The next time you hear your children better shape up if they hope to survive in the global economy, remember the Amish. Why should you raise children to be hired hands anyway? The Amish don't.

Well, I promised to tell you about a Shrimp lady who makes as much as a doctor, so here is

6. The Shrimp Lady

In the northeast corner of an island a long way from here an older woman sells plates of cooked shrimp and rice from out of an old white truck in a remote corner of the island. Nobody is around the truck. A lot of people pass, however, because the road she's on goes to a famous surfing beach which attracts crowds year round.

She sells only shrimp and rice plus hot dogs for the kids and cold soda. The license to do this costs $500 a year, $43.25 a month, less than a dollar-and-a-half a day.

Anyone could do what this lady is doing who would get together about $15 thousand in seed capital. She's 59, has a high-school diploma, a nice smile and cooks good shrimp. A hand-lettered sign advertises the wares beside the road.

The day I stood in line five customers were in front of me. They bought 14 plates between them and 14 sodas. I bought two and two. By the time I got to the window 5 new customers had arrived behind me. I was intrigued enough to sit across the road for two hours and count the sales: 41 plates, l5 hot-dogs, 50 sodas. The plates were $9.95, the dogs $1.25, the sodas $1.00. She had taken in close to $500 in two hours and her sign informed me she was open eight hours, seven days a week. Was it possible this truck was grossing nearly three-quarters of a million dollars a year?

I was curious enough to come back the next day and go through the same observation and the next and the next. My wife Janet is a graduate of the famous Culinary Institute of America. She estimated the net after all expenses on the shrimp was $7.00; on the hot dog, 80 cents, and on the soda 60¢. Over the next few weeks we got to know the lady casually. She was delighted to tell us she averaged l00 -150 shrimp sales a day, but on special days up to 300. She worked the stand part of the time and when she wasn't there one of her three daughters did. All were grown and had families, and all were supported by that old white truck! It was a revelation. None of the daughters had gone beyond high school, nor felt a need to; all were intelligent, fun to talk to, happy people. And why not?

Halfway around the world in Manhattan, on the north side of the Metropolitan Museum where only one hot dog Wagon is allowed, and the rights to the spot are sold at auction yearly, the winning bid for 1997 cost $316,200. I don't know the degree of schooling the cart operator possesses but I do know he pays nearly $900 a day for the right to sell hot-dogs. Come to think of it he looked pretty happy himself.

Studying Chris Clarke, the Amish, my Stanley, the shrimp lady, or the hot dog peddler at the Metropolitan wouldn't be enough to float school reform aimed at small proprietorship because we would still face the propaganda barrier erected by the claims of statistical behaviorism. Its preposterous argument that it can demonstrate mathematically most kids don't have the right stuff. This, of course, is the ill-disguised Darwinistic argument that school is a kind of ambulance institution carrying the detritus of evolution for treatment. Could all the pedagogical scientists have gotten it wrong? Are ordinary people better than they think?

I found an important clue in Charles Murray's recent bestseller, The Bell Curve, where Murray denounces Marva Collins' description of completely literate black ghetto preteens. Oddly enough that was my own experience with black ghetto 13-year-olds but I was curious to see Dr. Murray so exercised. So certain was Murray that Collins was "mistaken" he dismissed her narrative while admitting he had no first-hand evidence contradicting it. The light went on when I realized bell curve mudsillism would not be credible if Marva Collins was telling the truth.

A student I had named Barbara cut school for weeks to set up a business on the streets of Manhattan selling handmade scarf/glove/hat sets knitted for her by women in old-age homes. With each set the purchaser received a picture of the knitter and her biography prepared by the entrepreneur. Barbara made a small fortune in six weeks at the age of 13, like Stanley, enough to take her mother with her to Paris that summer.

Is Marva Collins telling the truth? I think so.

Back in Orestes Brownson's day the central promise of American life was democratization of intelligence and winning an independent competency upon which to exercise that intelligence. In America every one got the chance to develop intelligence, not just the elites. Beyond the narrow uses of intelligence for work it found many private uses inside home and family circles. Public argument was the great incentive to master knowledge. But after Darwin a horde of voices said argument was a waste of time for the stupid masses. Mudsill theory became scientized with Charles Darwin, with the rise of the German research university in America, and with the religion of numbers and bell-curve statistics.

The wholesale denial that ordinary people could be intellectually competent which took place between 1890 and 1920 was always framed in the language of laboratory and university. It caused a decisive deconstruction of schooling for intelligence to take place around the turn of the last century, a deconstruction which accelerated rapidly after WW II and raced ahead after the cleverly contrived Sputnik hysteria of the late 1950s.

A kid named Bryan Bantry made page two of the New York Daily News in 1968 for earning $26,000 a year as a dog-walker. Inflation adjusted that would be over $100,000 at present. Bantry walked dogs, bunches at a time and employed dozens of classmates to walk dogs, too, taking a rake-off. His dad was a postal clerk. Bryan was 13.

7. Jaime Escalante

The best antidote to mudsill poison is the embarrassing story of Jaime Escalante, an overage Peruvian immigrant math teacher who wears a golf cap and looks like an angry truck driver. When I caught up to Escalante he had already been made famous by the film Stand and Deliver. Unbeknownst to the average filmgoer, Escalante was driven out of the scene of his triumphs, Garfield High, by a steady barrage of harassment, sabotage and vilification on the part of his co-workers and administration. Was he just another liar as Murray accused Marva Collins of being? Because if he wasn't he was just as deadly a threat to bell-curve mudsillism as Collins ever was.

Fortunately numbers are the voice of God in our pedagogical sub-religion and numbers are available through which the performance of Escalante's ignorant clientele, sons and daughters of Mexican immigrant parents, can be compared with offspring of high-tech. Silicon Valley families&emdash;or with kids rich and poor across the nation for that matter. When Jaime came to Garfield in 1974 the Western Association of Schools had threatened to revoke its accreditation. Keep that in mind as the baseline.

By 1987 only three public schools in the nation were producing more Advanced Placement calculus students than Garfield, and the school was setting standards in algebra and trigonometry, too. His percentage of poverty-stricken Hispanic students passing the difficult second year advanced placement calculus tests was the highest in the state. Few groups of privileged white students even came close. The full implications of this data are fairly shocking because they tend to suggest - not that Escalante is a great teacher (which I'm sure he is) - the real role of orthodox government schooling as a screen to control the rate and extent of learning, or to prevent it entirely in many cases.

Escalante's methodology is astonishingly old-fashioned, dirt cheap, and independent of star teaching for its success. Its simplicity makes it fully revolutionary since anybody could apply the same principles easily and cheaply. Its more a matter of attitude than brilliance. But widespread application would cost materials producers a bundle, and there would be a loss of jobs for remedial teachers and many ripple effects in the civil service economy.

Picture a classroom crammed with signs, posters, banners, all hand lettered. One reads, "Stand and Deliver," another "Students who say it can't be done should not interrupt students who are doing it," another "Calculus need not be made easy, it is easy already," and another, "Ganas is all you need" (a Spanish word for "wanting it badly enough"). Escalante's lessons are punctuated with an endless stream of personal philosophy and moralisms, all delivered with high energy as though he meant what he said. Every student signs a contract outlining what is expected, the highest standards of effort, the toughest challenges tackled, the highest quality of individual attention owed from the instructor.

What you and I have just talked about is the Darwinian attitude that most of us are hopeless anyway, and useless in any case. Stated more scientifically and less bluntly, this is the attitude which has driven the managers of government school for a century, and drives them at this minute. What Abraham Lincoln called "mudsill theory" is alive and well all over the policy circles of America, you might look at it as the necessary attitude to underwrite the end of national sovereignty (what's the point, the people can't handle the rights extended them by the Constitution?), and the advent of a global order where Americans are leveled into a global mass , dumbed down for their own good, stripped of useful knowledge by schooling, and narcotized by endless rivers of mass entertainment, low-level public spectacles, and trivialized sexuality.

The richest and most bitter irony is that what is happening unless we stop it is precisely what British class theory has always held must happen, and the British state religion - which holds that social class is divinely ordained and must not be challenged - has always taught in its schools. Stay in your place, listen to the paternal/maternal state, don't question your betters. This is exactly the reason we threw off the yoke of England just three long lifetimes ago.

I'm well aware that each one of us here has been trained to look at Russia as the enemy or China as the enemy or Japan as the enemy or - give me a break - the tiny island of Cuba as the enemy, but I ask you consider in the days ahead that the real enemy is an ancient one we know in our bones, the British idea of a Royal Mind that brooks no opposition, thinks globally, is endlessly ambitious, and can only survive amidst a dumbed down population.

From reading and thinking about American history for more than half a century, from looking at kids like Stanley, people like the Lancaster Amish, teachers like Jaime Escalante and Marva Collins, strangers like the Shrimp Lady I'm utterly convinced of a bad thing and a good: the bad is that we have been utterly euchred and our country stolen from us, the good is that there is a tremendous untouched genius locked up in ordinary people that could still turn this mess around in a generation. Children inspired to initiate their own lines of economic meaning, who come to see themselves as able to handle the leadership demands of an independent livelihood will have a fighting chance to do well for themselves by conventional standards and in the things that really count which we appear embarrassed to even talk about any more, so far are they from what public life is about.

But a warning: the reverse is not true. If you allow your child to be "loved" by ranks of paid strangers and to be trained as a hired hand - which is all mudsill pedagogy allows - you will foreclose the palette of human possibility. You will become the enemy within, narrowing your children's focus to what the boss wants, and instilling enough fear in them a lifetime won't get rid of it. To any chiefs and bigshots who might come across this old schoolteacher's words I leave them with this appeal and warning: training children to be cogs in a state/corporation machine is not sound public policy for a nation with the historical character of the United States. If you sow these seeds you will reap the whirlwind.

© 1997 John Taylor Gatto,
235 West 76th Street,
NYC, NY 10023
Fax: 212-721-6124
 
This article reprinted with permission from the author.
 
 
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