Standardized Students

School: An Assembly Line for the Masses

Modern education, from pre-school through grad school, is designed to destroy the imagination, to cull free thinkers, and to mass produce mindless graduates easily controlled and manipulated. Why? Independent adults who think and do for themselves would bring down the walls of this corrupted civilization. We would see at last that it was nothing but a house of cards. We would see at last the proverbial man behind the curtain. We would see at last our strings and the puppeteers who pulled them.

Our schools should be sacred space, where we

“fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence…Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim…is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States and that is its aim everywhere else.”*

Disheartening, isn’t it? We spend our most energetic and curious years ~ the years we are the most receptive and alive ~ sitting in desks, indoors, being domesticated, tamed, and finally broken. If you do not comply? You are considered a failure. So, we’d better take those standardized tests seriously; think about that word, standardized. They are testing our children to ensure that they are becoming standardized.

None of us came out of the womb with a model number that matched hundreds if not thousands of the same batch. This is not a Brave New World. We are born individuals and we should do our damnedest to stay that way, all modern notions of success to the contrary. Success is not letters after your name or numbers in your account. Success is happiness, fulfillment, and purpose. Success is physical and mental health. Success is not only what we change, but what we allow to remain the same. To teach our children otherwise is to do them a grave disservice.

We are doing ourselves and our children a disservice when we passively allow our corrupted education system to shut down the reality of who we are and what we are capable of becoming. The vast majority of our programmed teachers are a product of this corrupted system and are defeated before they begin. Should one of them stray outside the box a reprimand is in order. Should this actual teacher dare to make it a habit, he or she will be unemployed. Good teachers are few and far between and most resign before they’re fired. I know one such teacher; he told me it was hopeless.

I don’t agree. In the words of another troublesome teacher, John Taylor Gatto, we can encourage our children to take an education rather than receive a schooling. We can meet the other parents, collectively refuse copious amounts of mind-numbing homework, tell our kids to turn off the damn televisions and video games and go outside and get dirty. We can encourage imagination, encourage questions, encourage wandering and wondering. Say no to all the electronic nonsense our children are conditioned to want; and say no to it ourselves. Don’t go to a movie. Go on a hike. Read to them. Buy books and balls, not Playstations. In short, act like you give a damn.


*H.L. Mencken in The American Mercury, April 1924.


Rachel Summers