Sunday, September 23, 2012

Must-read books on education system and its hidden agendas

In case you're interested in finding out more about the present-day mainstream education system...


If you're new to this topic, you can start with Dumbing us Down. I'll recommend all parents of school-going children to read this, skip to the first chapter if you have less time. (the link is a google books preview and the main chapter can be read there)

Next, for data and references to back up the theories, Weapons of Mass Instruction is best (it's also his latest book so most updated)

You can buy the books here:
Dumbing us Down, Rs.156 on Infibeam
Weapons of Mass Instruction, Rs.195 on Infibeam

Some background: The present-day schooling system, with age segregation, subjects division, periods, top-down control, compulsory seating, divide-and-rule, standardized curriculum, grading human beings by irrelevant marks, etc was first set up in Germany, with the intent to create a more obedient and efficient population. Adolph Hitler passed a law banning homeschooling or unschooling in Germany before WW2, and that ban remains in place to this day.

Many scholars and authors over the past century have credited this system to having created the environment that made the First and Second World War possible -- little to no domestic opposition, loss of independent and critical thinking among citizenry, high obedience to authority, and loss of community responsibility among others.

It has also been credited with, in partnership with TV, for creating a consumerist culture and hogging up precious time that an individual could otherwise have used to ponder upon the deeper aspects of life.

Lastly, with the industry rigged to favour these arbitrary qualifications instead of actual competence, there was practically no free choice left for people who even knew that they were better off on their own.

As a result we today have a world where, from doctors to tax collectors to the upper levels of major companies, critical decision-making powers are vested mostly in the hands of persons who were able to best crack certain exams and courses, but who might not be so well-placed for the job in real terms (added of course the enormous egos and disconnect from the people they are supposed to serve); whereas the people who could have really made a significant contribution, are locked out due to being under-qualified just because they listened to their innate instincts a little more in childhood/youth and didn't score as well as they were ordered to.

Does that ring a bell? Then do read! Pls email me on nikhil.js [at] if you want to know how o get digital copies of the books.

OK, so is there a better way to raise our kids? I don't want to keep them locked up in home all the time.

If you want to see the potential of a REAL education and what a true school ought to look like, I highly recommend you check out Free at Last - the Sudbury Valley school.

No age segregation, no compulsory curriculum, no fractured time division, no treating children as dumb, no grading or discrimination between students. The link above leads to a google books preview and most of the book is available for reading. You can also buy it at:

Free At Last the Sudbury Valley School, Rs.234 on Infibeam

Here's an excerpt: And-Rithmetic-by-Daniel-Greenberg which shows that it's possible for a kid to learn all basic math, from 1+1 to square roots in 20 hours (1 hour per week), not six years as assumed in mainstream schooling.

Update: Got a freely distributed ebook by Sudbury Valley School, 58 pages, that includes all the most important and awesome details! Highly recommend this to anyone who's got an interest in exploring how children ACTUALLY learn.

The Sudbury Valley School
More Addendum:
The paragraph below (excerpt from Free at Last) is dedicated to all the amazing, brilliant and incredibly hard-working Teach for India Fellows, along with the message : You've all been barking up the wrong tree.

 Not long ago, in 1968, Sudbury Valley School decided to take a fresh look at reading. Children were left alone and never forced to learn how to read. The result was stunning. During the years that have elapsed since the school was founded, all the children learned how to read, but at widely different ages. Some learned at 4, others at 6, others at 8 or 9 or even later. By the time they were teenagers, you couldn't tell the difference between early readers and late readers. No one hated reading, all did it quite well, and there have been no observed functional disorders at all.
-- from

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