10 Provocative Quotes from Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society"
10 Provocative Quotes from Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society"
By Daniel Lattier / intellectualtakeout.org

Ivan Illich’s groundbreaking book Deschooling Society (1971) offers a radical critique of the institutionalization of education within modern societies. Illich believed that we wrongly identify education with schooling, since most of our education happens outside of the school environment. He advocated restructuring education to provide people with multiple opportunities for learning outside of school. “What are needed,” he wrote, “are new networks, readily available to the public and designed to spread equal opportunity for learning and teaching.” 

Here are 10 thought-provoking quotes that will give you an idea of what the book is about:

1) “Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby ‘schooled’ to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new.

His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavor are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question."

 

2) “The paradox of the schools is evident: increased expenditure escalates their destructiveness at home and abroad.”

 

3) “Most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school, and in school only in so far as school, in a few rich countries, has become their place of confinement during an increasing part of their lives.”

 

4) “Skill teachers are made scarce by the belief in the value of licenses… Most teachers of arts and trades are less skillful, less inventive and less communicative than the best craftsmen and tradesmen. Most high-school teachers of Spanish or French do not speak the language as correctly as their pupils might after half a year of competent drills.”

 

5) “Institutional wisdom tells us that children need school. Institutional wisdom tells us that children learn in school. But this institutional wisdom is itself the product of schools because sound common sense tells us that only children can be taught in school. Only by segregating human beings in the category of childhood could we ever get them to submit to the authority of a schoolteacher.”

 

 

6) “Once a man or woman has accepted the need for school, he or she is easy prey for other institutions. Once young people have allowed their imaginations to be formed by curricular instruction, they are conditioned to institutional planning of every sort.”

 

7) “School initiates young people into a world where everything can be measured, including their imaginations, and, indeed, man himself.”

 

8) “School prepares for the alienating institutionalization of life by teaching the need to be taught. Once this lesson is learned, people lose their incentive to grow in independence.”

 

9) “The public is indoctrinated to believe that skills are valuable and reliable only if they are the result of formal schooling.”

 

10) “School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.”

 

Read the full text of Deschooling Society here.

4.6 ·
6
What's Next
Trending Today
The Comprehensive Activist Guide to Dismantling Neoliberalism
Drew Serres · 5,599 views today · “The creation of today’s market society was not the result of a sequence of spontaneous events but rather of state interference and violence.” – Naomi Klein in The Shock...
Shocking New Report: Bombing People Causes People to Hate You
gjohnsit · 5,530 views today · You better sit down for this one because it will blow your mind. You are probably aware that we on a global quest to rid the world of Evil, one smart-bomb at a time. Yet, for...
In Praise of Short-Term Love
7 min · 3,438 views today · So much in our culture emphasises long-term love; it may be time to hear a word or two in praise of the short-term approach.
Harry Patch: Anti-War Hero
6 min · 3,370 views today · Harry Patch had no time for, 'Thieving politicians lies'. Poem: Heathcote Williams Narration: Alan Cox Montage: Alan Cox and Margaret Cox
13 Wonderful Words About Love and Connection
4 min · 2,421 views today · The complexity of love, in 13 words that don't directly translate into English.
Henry David Thoreau on Happiness
Gavin Aung Than · 2,200 views today · Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American writer, poet, philosopher and one of the leading figures of the transcendentalism movement. Besides writing Civil...
A Social Movement for Broken People
Joe Brewer · 2,108 views today · The world is a pretty screwed up place. So how do we fix it when we ourselves are broken? This is the question that rarely gets asked — and it is a keystone piece of the...
Neoliberalism - the Ideology at the Root of All Our Problems
George Monbiot · 1,974 views today · Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into A Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,903 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 1,788 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 1,712 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
The One Simple Truth about Our Existence That Everyone Needs to Know
3 min · 1,592 views today · If humanity came to understand this - everything would change. This is a clip from "UnVeiled & Lifted," which was released online for free by the film-makers in 2013. Watch...
Make Inishturk Great Again
10 min · 1,513 views today · Even in the best of times, escaping the grind for a small foreign island seems a preferred choice. And the 58 residents of Inishturk, a charming, heavily sheeped island off the...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 1,106 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
While You’re Busy Mocking Abigail Fisher, the Powerful Racist Forces Behind Her Are Getting a Pass
Jon Booth · 1,071 views today · It might feel good to mock “Becky with the bad grades,” but focusing on her lets the real power players in her anti-affirmative action case off the hook.
25 Documentaries That Tell the Truth About How Government Really Works
Tim Hjersted · 914 views today · And 6 that show how people are responding.
Roots in the Rubble
George Monbiot · 866 views today · The decision to leave the EU is a disaster, but also a great opportunity for renewal
Oliver Stone: The Untold History Of The United States (2012)
570 min · 813 views today · There is a classified America we were never meant to see. From Academy Award®-winning writer/director Oliver Stone, this ten-part documentary series looks back at human events...
From Paris to Istanbul, More 'War on Terror' Means More Terrorist Attacks
Phyllis Bennis · 780 views today · As ISIS loses territory, it returns to mass-casualty attacks against civilians. That's why military-first approaches to terrorism are doomed to failure.
The Left Should Celebrate Brexit: The UK Just Kicked Neoliberalism in the Nuts
Matt Ellis · 721 views today · It is a sad and ironic indictment on the state of the global Left and the progressive agenda, that the very compelling reasons to support a Brexit have been lost amongst the...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
10 Provocative Quotes from Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society"