Thursday, May 27, 2010

Deschooling Society: School as a Religion

Morpheus: "School is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save...You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."

I am taking small liberties with the movie script, to illustrate my point: I think School is a belief, a faith that people have. From Deschooling Society:
"School has become the world religion of a modernized proletariat, and makes futile promises of salvation to the poor of the technological age."

Why do I feel like I'm the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind? Why is this so difficult for other people to see?

I'm not trying to disrespect people who believe in School, because I believe in tolerance of other religious views. But I know I am in the minority because I do not have that School-religion any more, and I know that the struggle to free our world will be long and difficult. I think it will get worse before it gets better.

This is going to be a tough row to hoe. There are more than 74 million people in the US with a Bachelor's Degree or higher, 2 million+ owe their livelihoods to the School system. All of these people, including me, have a vested interest in protecting School, protecting the value of their Degree. Otherwise, why did they devote years of their lives and thousands of dollars? If we all agree it has value, then it does have value, right? I for one have lost that blind faith in School.

If all those people were not enough to block our path to an enlightened School-free future, let me add a few more layers. Many millions of people all around the world believe that:
  • School is the only way to success in the modern world

  • School will empower the powerless

  • School is the great equalizer, regarless of your skin color, economic background, caste, ethnicity, School will set you free.

The one area of hope I can see in this is through technology. As online learning is replacing classroom instruction, and more and more institutions make their secret sauce available on the Internet, students from all walks of life can explore and find areas of learning that make sense for them. Learning will continue without School, even in spite of School. And that is a good thing.

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