Nine Unexamined Assumptions About Forced Schooling

Nine Unexamined Assumptions About Forced Schooling
by John Taylor Gatto

Challenge Every Assumption! we were ordered, including the assumption that school–even this one–is a good thing and the additional Assumption, implied, that no better use could be made of the time. Schools exist, we were told, because nine assumptions are believed by most of the ordinary public, assumptions put there by special interests that benefited directly from the existence of an institution of legally compulsory schooling. Think hard about each of these assumptions–examine them–and decide for yourselves which, if any, can be defended best before a panel of judges, and which have the least credibility.


  1. Social togetherness (cohesion) is promoted best by confinement of all social classes together in schoolrooms for years before adulthood.

  2. Without schooling, the young would find one another intolerable.

  3. The safest adult companions for children are government-licensed experts; children must be constantly protected from unauthorized contacts.

  4. Compelling children to replace behavioral, cultural, and religious norms learned at home with diluted substitutes imposed at school has no adverse effect on intellectual or character development.

  5. For the good of the student, parental influence is best diluted and transferred to strangers called schoolteachers.

  6. Children who escape state oversight will become immoral.

  7. The political state has primary sovereignty for intellectual development, moral training, and tolerable beliefs.

  8. Children who deviate from official norms must be forced to conform.

  9. Coercion in the interest of standardizing a population is a valid use of state power.