Public Schools in the USA
Public School Exists To Standardize People
From the beginning, the idea driving the creation of a public school system was to ensure that youngsters learned specific information for a specific purpose. Contrary to the popular idea of "opening up a child's opportunities" the legal intention was to control what information is taught to the children. The public school system is designed to standardize people.
"Why do you, CM Hoisington, feel the need to propose such a divisive and argumentative statement?" Please, don't just be mean in your comments, but you ask a valid question. I've been writing these Hubs about Emotional Attunement and the public school system I grew up in was not conducive to independent thinking in so many ways. One of the things that is so important in Emotional Attunement is accepting our own uniqueness.
Hence a little look at the foundation and intention behind public education. My intention is not to attack or deride our beloved school system. I think that it fulfills its intended purpose despite the public media outrage at under-funding and poor academic performance and the ever present threat of complete collapse.
My intention is this: If we are aware of the loss of our unique individuality and the impact that that loss has had in our ability to emotionally acclimate and fully contribute who we are in all areas in life then we are on the path to understanding ourselves and becoming more emotionally attuned and becoming more emotionally attuned is my ultimate goal for me and for you.
Historical Precedence for Human Standardization
This is by no means a comprehensive look at public schools either. It is a simple gander; as simple as possible. Depending on the timeline being used the very beginnings of public education come from various sources.
It is a fascinating search but it reveals more in the reality of their differences than what they actually tell us about history, but that is part of the convoluted perception of public education. Is anyone really clear about what the purpose of teaching children in a publicly funded institution is for any more?
Each timeline is constructed of certain events to prove some kind of point, so none of them are really believable due to their bias. But an idea emerges as one delves into the sources and quotes contained in the various reference points in each timeline.
Say for instance this blurb about Thomas Jefferson's views on public education I found on arc.org the website for Applied Research Center on a timeline labelled, "Historical Timeline Of Public Education In The US."
Thomas Jefferson proposes a two-track educational system, with different tracks in his words for "the laboring and the learned." Scholarship would allow a very few of the laboring class to advance, Jefferson says, by "raking a few geniuses from the rubbish."
Here's another blurb from a different timeline found on eds-resources.com (I'm not sure of its source, but it said it was updated 7/31/13 (which is yesterday right now.) So:
1690 - John Locke publishes his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which conveys his belief that the human mind is a tabula rasa, or blank slate, at birth and knowledge is derived through experience, rather than innate ideas as was believed by many at that time. Locke's views concerning the mind and learning greatly influence American education.
Yet another I found on childbook.com a Chinese language focused website for US public education on a page labeled "Major Events in American Education"; this is the first entry on the timeline
1635 - Founding of Boston Public Schools
Latin grammar curriculum for boys 8 to 15. Based on European Schools in a Puritan area. Schools were to prepare boys for college and the service of God. Shows heavy influence of religion on schools at the time. Protestantism believed in education was needed so that individuals could interpret the bible.
I just grabbed these off a search as I write, this is not a really thorough research, nor is that necessary to prove my point.
My Point: From the beginning the idea behind a systematic education of the children of the American public was that they be standardized, they must be educated to believe the same thing and to try to achieve the same things.
Silent Drill Fail
What Does It Mean To Be Standardized?
The obvious meaning of standardization is that like things are systematically made even more alike. It is brilliant in the cultivation of franchises, such as McDonald's, but children are not able to be standardized. Any parent of more than one child knows this, and yet... no amount of protests, complaints, or refusal of funding seems to make any difference.
They set the standard and people are expected to meet it. That is how the military works, the fire department, the police department, everywhere we are subjected to and promised a certain standard of some kind that people have to meet. The grading system has for years been criticized for its inadequacies, and the simple idea that everyone might be judged according to a certain standard of performance creates within the student an unshakable desire to compare oneself with those around one and be as much or more like them.
It is through this idea of human standardization that democracy is built, right, all men are created equal? Funny thing is, in this country we've been convinced that freedom is the same as being able to be like everybody else.
But the real damage is done to us on an individual level, because we have been thoroughly (I really don't want to write this because of its negative context, but its the honest truth) brain-washed into operating under this perception and have undergone a very ritualistic and cruel program of conformity.
Our emotions have been galvanized into rigid structures of good and bad that respond in predictable ways to specific stimuli.
Our emotions are a very unique and personal form of understanding our place in the world. It is hard to imagine a life without emotions, but we would have a completely different reason for calling a place a home. And a different reason for hooking up with someone. A different reason for buying a car.
Good sales people know how to manipulate a consumers emotions to get them to buy. It's a commonly understood fact. Pay attention to your emotional reactions when you watch TV. Ask yourself why you felt something, or even what is it that you feel. Don't always believe your first answer, we're brilliant at deceiving ourselves.
Our emotions were standardized in the school system in a variety of ways. The most basic standardization came from the other kids. Is there a person on the planet that didn't experience some form of emotional torture at the hands of other kids when the adults weren't around? Either they endured it directly, or they dished it out, or both as in my case. I don't think anyone is immune to those horribly painful childhood interactions.
Then the teachers... who doesn't have nightmare emotional stories about a teacher or two? I'm not talking about issues that came up in general, because emotions are part of human interaction, but I am talking about harsh treatment, bullying (teachers bully too), those situations that stick in the head as bad memories to remind us to protect ourselves better.
Those moments when we were vulnerable and someone else took advantage of that vulnerability and we got hurt in a way that made us promise to never let that happen again. I saw a video on YouTube.com called "Silent Drill Fail", I think it encapsulates one very official form of emotional standardization.
In this video a soldier drops his rifle and it is ceremonially retrieved with the very clear intention of drawing full attention to the failure and the person who failed. Maximum humiliation to which every human being on the planet is deeply susceptible and is the ideal tool to force emotional conformity.
The military has honed this tool to a science, and is the most successful at brain-washing, but there is a pandemic of suicides that has the experts baffled. Suicide is a purely emotional decision. Is it really any wonder?
Okay, So What?
Well, there is a paradoxical message being exploited in the name of free-trade. The idea being pumped in every way from the very beginning of first grade is that we live in America and we are free to pursue our dreams, whatever they may be. Achievements need hard work and lots of funding, but don't give up on your dreams keep going forward.
You have to attend school because it opens up your possibilities, or it unlocks your potential. It certainly inducts you into the system and you are financially locked in with student loans. You come out of school fully conditioned to join whatever rat race before you to try to keep up with payment and maintain a lifestyle that somewhat resembles your dream. Throughout the process the thinking and the emotions have been conditioned in a specific way by other people for the most part.
So, what happens in adulthood is we find ourselves in some very awkward and painful situations with other folks and don't know why we're caught in such a way. If your life is full of drama and you don't really want to live in it anymore, then you feel me right now. If your life is boring and your family can't seem to get along, you know what I mean. If you're lonely, but you don't do anything about it, you know what I mean.
These are all symptoms of emotional standardization backfiring.
If something needs to change start changing it, and your emotions will reveal themselves, then you have the opportunity to ask, "Why do I feel this way?" A 'feelings journal' can be a powerful tool in rooting out insights, but another person that is fully trusted for this kind of work is really necessary for real work on our standardized emotions.
I can't recommend therapy enough, as long as you go in knowing that things need to change and only you can change them. Most health insurance policies cover this type of service under mental health.