| People love to work, but they must be convinced that work is a kind of curse, that they must arrange the maximum of leisure and labor-saving devices in their lives upon which belief many corporations depend; people love to invent solutions, to be resourceful, to make do with what they have, but resourcefulness and frugality are criminal behaviors to a mass production economy, such examples threaten to infect others with the same fatal sedition; similarly, people love to attach themselves to favored possessions, even to grow old and die with them, but such indulgence is dangerous lunacy in a machine economy whose costly tools are continually renewed by enormous borrowings; people like to stay put but must be convinced they lead pinched and barren existences without travel; people love to walk but the built world is now laid out so they have to drive. Worst of all are those who yearn for productive, independent livelihoods like the Amish have, and nearly all free Americans once had. If that vision spreads, a consumer economy is sunk. For all these and other reasons, the form of schooling we get is largely a kind of consumer and employee training. This isn’t just incidentally true. Common sense should tell you it’s necessarily so if the economy is to survive in any recognizable form.

Every principal institution in our culture is a partner with the particular form of corporatism which has began to dominate America at the end of WWII. Call it paternal corporatism, wise elites can be trained to provide for the rest of us, who will be kept as children. Unlike Plato’s Guardians whom they otherwise resemble, this meritorious elite is not kept poor but is guaranteed prosperity and status in exchange for its oversight. An essential feature of this kind of central management is that the population remain mystified, specialized dependent, and childish.

The school institution is clearly a key partner in this arrangement: it suppresses the productive impulse in favor of consumption; it redefines “work” as a job someone eventually gives you if you behave; it habituates a large clientele to sloth, envy, and boredom; and it accustoms individuals to think of themselves as members of a class with various distinguishing features. More than anything else, school is about class consciousness. In addition, it makes intellectual work and creative thinking appear like distasteful or difficult labor to most of us. None of this is done to oppress, but because the economy would dissolve into something else if those attitudes didn’t become ingrained in childhood. Read Entire Article

This excerpt is from chapter 18 of:
The Underground History of American Education – A Schoolteacher’s Intimate Investigation Into The Problem Of Modern Schooling.