The Catastrophic Decline Of Public Schooling: Twenty One Facts About Why Public Schooling Performs So Poorly

Zy Marquiez
January 18, 2017

“The historical record indicates that, if anything, the implicit collectivist impulse in standardized testing stands in stark contrast to the basic values of individual genius and responsibility that formed the central core of the founding of the republic itself.”[A][Bold Emphasis added][Dr. Joseph P. Farrell and Gary Lawrence, Rotten to the (Common) Core, pg. 5.]

“…such tests in the end punish, rather than reward, real ability, with the end result that such tests really measure the ability of an individual to conform to the outlook and interests of the elites composing such tests…”[B][Bold Emphasis added][Dr. Joseph P. Farrell and Gary Lawrence, Rotten to the (Common) Core, pg. 57.]

Every day, its growing more apparent that the current system of public schooling isn’t progressing from the relentless push for standardized testing we’ve been told would benefit public schooling.

It is no secret that US public education schooling keeps plowing down the mountain of stupidity/mediocrity.  And yet, we might have just reached new all time lows.

In recent news reported by, new studies found that the United States performed dismally when compared to other developed nations in education.

The Article, “U.S. Kids Keep Getting Dumber; Ranked 31st out of 35 Developed Nations In Math, New Study Reveals” reveals that:

Our schools no longer teach reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Rather than be taught how to think and problem-solve, children are thought what to think and how to feel. All these money-making and money-spending schemes tend to sound nice, of course, but they inevitably fall flat.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

If this exacerbating/disturbing issue continues unabated, the US will continue to morph into the mindless police/technocratic/fascist state that it’s torpedoing towards, but at an increasing rate.

But it gets better!

The Unites States also ranked 24th in the world in reading literacy and 25th in science.

To illustrate some of the insidious reasons this is taking place, let’s take a gander at what award winning teacher with over 30 years of experience John Taylor Gatto has stated.

In his phenomenal book, A Different Kind OF Teacher, Gatto outlines 21 facts about schooling that we should all privy to:

1.  There is no relationship between the amounts of money spent on schooling and “good” results as measured by parents of any culture.  This seems to be because education is not a commodity to be purchased but an enlargement of insight, power, understanding and self-control almost completely outside the cash economyEducation is almost overwhelmingly an internally generated effort.  The five American states which usually spend least per capita on schooling are the five which usually have the best test results (although Iowa which is about thirtieth in spending sometimes creeps into the honored circle).

2.  There is no compelling evidence to show a positive relationship between length of schooling and accomplishmentMany countries with short school years outperform those with long ones by a wide margin.

3.  Most relationships between test scores and job performance are illegitimate, arranged in advance by only allowing those testing well access to the work.  Would you hire a newspaper reporter because he had “A”s in English?  Have you ever asked a surgeon what grade he got in meat-cutting?  George F. Kennan, intellectual darling of the Washington elite some while ago and the author of our “containment” policy against the Soviet Union often found his math and science grades in secondary school below sixty, and at Princeton he had many flunks, “D”s and “C”s.  “Sometimes,” he said, “it is the unadjusted student struggling to forge his own standards who develops within himself the thoughtfulness to comprehend.”  Dean Acheson, Harry Truman’s Secretary of State, graduated from Groton with a sixty-eight average…Is there anybody out there who really believes that grades and test scores are the mark of a man?

4.  Training done on the job is invariably cheaper, quicker, and of much higher quality than training done in a school setting.  If you wonder why that should be, you want to start, I think, by understanding that training and education are two different things, one largely residing in the development of good habits, the other in the development of vision and understanding, judgment, and the like.  Education is self training; it calls into its calculations mountains of personal data and experience which are simply unobtainable by any schoolteacher or higher pedagogueThat simple fact is why all the many beautifully precise rules on how to think produce such poor results.

5.  In spite of relentless propaganda on the contrary, the American economy is tending strongly to require less knowledge and less intellectually ability of its employees, not more.  Scientists and mathematicians currently exists in numbers far exceeding any global demand for them or any national demand, and that condition should grow much worse over the next decade, thanks to the hype of pedagogues and politicians. Schools can be reconstructed to teach children to development intellect, resourcefulness, and independence, but that would lead, in short order, to structural changes in the economy so profound it is not likely to be allowed to happen.

6.  The habits, drills, and routines of government schooling sharply reduce a person’s chances of possessing initiative or creativity.  Furthermore, the mechanism of why this is so hard has been well understood for centuries.

7.  Teachers are paid as specialists but they almost never have any real world experience in their specialties; indeed the low quality of their training has been a scandal for eighty years.

8.  A substantial amount of testimony exists from highly regarded scientists like Richard Feynman, the recently deceased Nobel laureate, or Albert Einstein, and many others, that scientific discovery is negatively related to the procedures of school science classes.

9.  According to research published by Christopher Jencks, the famous sociologist, and others as well, the quality of school which any students attend is a very bad predictor of later success, financial, social, or emotional.  On the other hand the quality of family life is very good predictorThat would seem to indicate a natural family policy directly spending on the home, not the school.

10.  Children learn fastest and easiest when very young; general intelligence has probably developed as far as it will by the age of four.  Children are quite capable of reading and enjoying difficult material by that age, and also capable of performing all the mathematical operations skillfully and with pleasureWhether kids should do these things or not is a matter of philosophy or cultural tradition, not a course dictated by any scientific knowledge.

11.  There is a direct relationship between heavy doses of teaching and detachment from reality with subsequent flights into fantasyMany students so oppressed lose their links with past and present, present, and future.  And the bond with “now” is substantially weakened.

12.  Unknown to the public, virtually all famous remedial programs have failedPrograms like Title I/Chapter I survive by the goodwill of political allies, not by results.

13.  There is no credible evidence that racial mixing has any positive effect on student performance, but a large body of suggestive data is emerging that confining one group of children with children of a dominant culture does harm to the smaller group.

14.  Forced busing has accelerated the disintegration of minority neighborhoods without any visible academic benefits as trade off.

15.  There is no reason not to believe that any existing education technology can significantly improve intellectual performance; on the contrary, to the extent that machines establish the goals and work schedules, ask the questions and monitor the performances, the already catastrophic passivity and indifference created by schooling only increases.

16.  There is no body of knowledge inaccessible to a motivated elementary student.  The sequences of development we use are hardly the product of “science” but instead are legacies of unstable men like Pestalozzi and Froebel, and the military governments from which we imported them.

17.  Delinquent behavior is a direct reaction to the structure of schooling.  It is much worse than the press has reported because all urban school districts conspire to suppress its prevalence.  Teachers who insist on justice on behalf of pupils and parents are the most frequently intimidated into silence.

18.  The rituals of schooling remove flexibility from the mind – that characteristic vital in adjusting to different situations.  Schools strive for uniformity in a world increasingly less uniform.

19.  Teacher-training courses are widely held in contempt by practicing teachers as well as by the general public because research has consistently failed to provide guidance to best practice.

20.  Schools create and maintain a caste system, separating children according to irrelevant parameters. Poor, working class, middle class and upper middle class kids are constantly made aware of alleged differences among themselves by the use of methods not called for by the task at hand.

21. Efforts to draw a child out of his culture or his social class has an immediate effect on his family relationships, friendships, and the stability of his self-image.[2][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added].

How can such dismal results be rectified?

In respect to this glaring issue, Gatto has not only spoken at length about scraping the public schooling system, but also speaking incisively and cogently about:

“The only way I can see after spending thirty-five years in and around the institution is to put full choice squarely back into the hands of parents, let the marketplace redefine schooling, and encourage the development of as many styles of schooling as there are human dreamsLet people, not bureaucrats, work out their own destinies.  That’s what made us a great country in the first place.”[111-115 – A Different Kind OF Teacher][Bold & Italic Emphasis Added][2]

Those reasons and more is why it’s imperative that individuals take full control of our destinies and education as individuals.  For if we do not, others certainly will.

The less individuals respect and appreciate true education and historical tradition, the more they shackle themselves to the comptrollers seeking control via a top-down technocratic society.  And if one were to seek total control of a society, vanquishing any semblance of education would be priority number one.

And as Gatto states, that’s exactly what they want.

The truth is that:

“…schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet.  No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes.  The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders.”[3] [Bold Emphasis]

To finalize, Gatto will be quoted at length, because he does a fantastic job at outlining what individuals can do:

Refuse to be trivialized by an economic order that assigns important work to titles like “Doctor of Philosophy” instead of to men and women.  Hold the authorities who clear-cut our forest and poison our water in contempt not awe.

Sabotage their undertakings in any way you can, even as small as misfiling their papers or dragging your feet on the way to jail.  Keeping score by income and status is a mark of a limited mind; past a modest point your possessions, your machines, and your tittles begin to own youPast a modest point they dictate your behavior, consume your time, dominate your human relations – and when that happens you have become a machine, however well fed and secure you are.  Instead, affirm a world of moral seriousness where everyday things are sacred to you.  When that happens the leaves and grass and water sprarkle and shine, lighting up the darkness.  When that happens you are wealthy beyond measure.

Trust in yourself.  Reject the insane claims that technological progress is human progress, that human destiny and machine improvement are wrapped up together in some way.  They are not.  The spirit of machinery seeks to infect living things and make them like machinery, too – that is, at the bottom of the cynical global system of industrial development.  Better to be John Henry than the steam hammer; better to be an outlaw than a votary if it comes down to that.  Live free or you won’t really be alive at all.  That, I can guarantee, really matters.”[4][Bold Emphasis added]

Sources And References

[A] Dr. Joseph P. Farrell and Gary Lawrence, Rotten to the (Common) Core, pg. 5.
[B] Ibid., Pg. 57.
[1] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, pg. 111-115.
[2] Ibid., pg. 115.
[3] John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling, pg. 21.
[4] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, pg. 211.