Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Book Review - The Leipzig Connection

The number one thing I got out of this book: send your kids to Montessori schools folks!

What a fun, easy, clear read. It is what it is. It doesn't have solutions. Its remark on Montessori is but a paragraph. But it was the most important paragraph to me because if the super evil dude who wrote Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order used the Rockefeller fortune to suppress Montessori... well, I just assume that's the school I want :)

I took off one star for how it ends: our schools are giant brainwashing machines but that only sucks because they are in the wrong hands, if only they were in the right hands..... Oh Paolo. I really hope that was a bad joke.

Best paraphrases:

Although today Dewey's views are in practice in the great majority of American schools, before the turn of the century they were revolutionary. The Wundtian redefinition of "education" to mean feeding experimental data to a young brain and nervous system, rather than teaching of mental skills, led to the abdication of the traditional role of the teacher as educator, Its place was taken by the concept of the teacher as a guide in the socialization of the child, leading each youngster to adapt the specific behavior required of him in order for him to get along in his group. Dewey called for a leveling of individual differences into a common pool of students who are the object of learning technicians devising the social order of the future.

This is the view of Dewey and other Wundtians--that man is a social animal who must learn to adapt to his environment , instead of learning how to ethically adapt the environment to suit his needs and those of society. Individualism and the developing of individual abilities give way to social conformity and adaptation; the product of education becomes "well-adjusted" (conditioned) children.... which creates a society that operates more on the basis of gratification than on the basis of reason and responsibility.

Rugg: through the schools of the world we shall disseminate a new conception of government--one that will embrace all of the collective activities of men; one that will postulate the need for scientific control and operation of economic activities

Gates through General Education Board: In our dream we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands


  1. Our son attends a Mont. school. There are so many different cultures there and we LOVE it.
    Another question: so even my son home with me bored because I work 3/4ths time is better than public school?

  2. Hi Stephanie,

    There is no easy answer to that question! All schools available today (at least that I know of) will create the problems in the parent/child relationship that I mention in my Main Idea 2 essay. But a situation in which the child is miserable at home or the mom is not happy to have him at home will create quite a few relationship problems as well. Not to mention that the intrinsic-self destroying aspects of public school are used in most home schooling methods! And they are all over TV. It's an entire world-swtich and it is so hard to do. If it is not possible for your son to "come to life with you" i.e. do your work with you, perhaps you could look into alternatives to public school--none are perfect but almost all are better options, smaller schools are better in general as well. You could also try to meet other homeschooling or unschooling families and see if your son could join them (I plan to offer this service to one or two other kids, and the six-year-old who attends my camp has already started spending two days a month at the office with my husband).

    Perhaps you could also examine your beliefs about boredom? I don't know very much about your situation, but I do know that whenever a kid I was working with was "bored" it was a sign that a need wasn't being met. There is no such thing as a need "to be entertained" or "to be stimulated." Bored people are often tired people who don't want to rest. Or they are lonely people who aren't willing to know that they need some connection. But children do not need to be entertained and or "stimulated". This is all education sales-speak. The world is so amazing and so full of opportunities for them to learn and grow. If they are in charge of their growth, in charge of their learning, and using real life as their classroom--the opportunities are endless, even at their house. Most people in the history of the human race never traveled more than twenty miles from where they were born (I don't remember the actual number from this quote, but I remember it was shockingly small). Maybe think of it this way: when your son has mastered every single thing he could possibly learn at your house, then you can worry about him being bored, but until he can cook every meal, do the laundry, clean all the different objects, take care of the yard, plan a shopping list, repaint the walls, trim the trees... you see what I mean? There are SO many things for kids to learn just at home! Endless! And they are all useful life skills unlike what they will be doing at school. And children ARE capable of doing these things, and they feel so competent at life when they can do these things rather than memorize the names of animals they will only ever see at the zoo which does not make them feel confident or able to live life, it just makes me them feel like good boys for doing what they are told (the training for them to only ever seek to be good boys...).

    Anyway, I hope some of those things help you on your journey to figure out what is best for you! Feel free to email me or give me a call if you want to talk more. (Like I said, I know very little about your actual situation).