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Dave Killion — January 18, 2011

Having received a Kindle for Christmas, one of the first books I ordered was James Tooley’s “The Beautiful Tree”.  Good move on my part.

Tooley is a professor of education policy at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, and ” The Beautiful Tree” tells the story of his discovery of, and research into, private schools for the poor in India, China, and Africa.  It is a remarkable tale of how many of the poorest people in some of the world’s poorest places reject free government schooling in favour of very inexpensive private schools that consistently provide a superior education.

In the course of his narrative, Tooley also looks at the history of private schooling in the West, and in India, and makes the case that public schooling is no improvement on the private systems that preceded it.  Although libertarian opposition to public schooling is based principally on objections to the initiation of violence inherent in redistribution, “The Beautiful Tree” provides powerful evidence that the utilitarian outcomes for eliminating public schooling will be very good indeed.

Obviously, I highly recommend this book.


David C says

I’m lovin the book reviews. Keep them coming!

— January 19, 2011

CodeSlinger says


Public schools are not for education. Public schools are for indoctrination.

From this point of view, public schooling is a huge improvement over private schooling.

Public schooling was pushed so aggressively by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations at the beginning of the last century, precisely because it gave them control over the indoctrination of the young.

Now, after several generations of this, you can see the results everywhere around you: people are ignorant, fearful and subservient.

And this was the intent all along.

— January 19, 2011

David C says

CodeSlinger: I agree that public schools are for indoctrination however I don’t buy the conspiracy line you are pushing. I think there was the honest belief that public schools would enhance society as a whole when it was being planned in the late 19th century. Teachers unions are one of the MAJOR problems with the public school system. They are probably the single biggest blockade in school reform. Ideally we wouldn’t have a public system at all but if we have one it would be nice to make it work a bit better.

I am open to the idea that Carnegie and Rockefeller among other groups have had a hand in influencing curriculum’s I just think if they didn’t exist we would still be in a very similar predicament.

— January 20, 2011

CodeSlinger says


Well, if you don’t believe me, why don’t you read John Taylor Gatto, who spent his whole life as a public school teacher in New York, and who was three times voted Teacher of the Year – twice for New York City and once for New York State. Since retirement, he has devoted the rest of his life to telling the truth about the American public school system (which is not significantly different from the Canadian one).

A lot of his material is available online. On this page:

he talks about the tax-exempt foundations. For example, he quotes Harold Rugg, a founding member, with John Dewey, of the Rockefeller-funded Progressive Education Association. In his 1933 book, “The Great Technology,” Rugg writes

“A new public mind is to be created. How? Only by creating tens of millions of individual minds and welding them into a new social mind. Old stereotypes must be broken up and new climates of opinion formed in the neighborhoods of America. Through the schools of the world we shall disseminate a new conception of government—one that will embrace all the activities of men, one that will postulate the need of scientific control. … Education must be used to condition the people to accept social change. … The chief function of schools is to plan the future of society.”

This is nothing other than a call to use the public schools to bring about a collectivist totalitarian scientific dictatorship, no less evil than the worst imaginings of the so-called “conspiracy theorists.”

If you think I am overstating the case, consider the following quote from the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Carnegie-funded Social Science Research Council, published in 1934:

“a new age of collectivism is emerging” which will involve the supplanting of private property by public property “and will require experimentation and almost certainly … a larger measure of compulsory cooperation of citizens … a corresponding enlargement of the functions of government, and an increasing state intervention. … Rights will be altered and abridged.”

Look around you. Have these goals been achieved? Is it getting worse?

Given that the Rockefeller Foundation alone has as much money as the rest of the USA combined, and that they stated these plans explicitly, and that now, 75 years later, these things have actually come to pass, you have to admit that this is not a conspiracy “theory.”

This is plain, simple fact.

Indeed, this same conclusion was arrived at by the Congressional Special Committee to Investigate Tax Exempt Foundations, also known as the Reece Committee, whose 1954 findings included the following:

“The impact of foundation money upon education has been very heavy, tending to promote uniformity in approach and method, tending to induce the educator to become an agent for social change and a propagandist for the development of our society in the direction of some form of collectivism. In the international field, foundations and the interlock, together with certain intermediary organizations, have exercised a strong effect upon foreign policy and upon public education in things international. This has been accomplished by vast propaganda, by supplying executives and advisors to government, and by controlling research through the power of the purse. The net result has been to promote ‘internationalism’ in a particular sense—a form directed toward ‘world government’ and a derogation of American nationalism.”

All of the above material comes from chapter 12 of Gatto’s book, “The Underground History of American Education.” The whole book is available here:

Alternatively, you can get the gist of it by reading “A Short Angry History of American Forced Schooling” which is a speech delivered by Gatto to the Vermont Homeschooling Conference. You can find that here:

In this speech, he has much to say about the role of teachers, teachers’ unions and teacher trainers, and how they fit into the overall scheme of things. He names some of the original designers of the scheme, and gives some very telling quotes from their own books. He points out that between 1900 and 1920, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller alone spent more money on education than the entire U.S. government at all levels.

I say again, look around you. They got what they paid for.

Public schools are not broken.

They are doing exactly what they were designed to do.

And they are doing it very well.

— January 20, 2011

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