"Some words become so flexible that they cease to be useful. 'School' and 'teaching' are such terms." Illich
"The school system is a modern phenomenon, as is the childhood it produces." Illich
This notion of childhood being a product of schooling is interesting. In many ways I think our society has found ways to further extend childhood for many people. I see it in my own family. The constant need to be good consumers and the rising expectations placed on that level of consumption has sent many many people back home to live with their parents (not that living with your parents is childish, many societies co-habitate with many generations under one roof). According to Illich, the purpose of school is to produce good consumers for a production-consumer driven world. If schooling is the institution that produces that kind of person and a byproduct of that is a creation of childhood then increased expectations and higher standards will only prolong childhood. Indeed, if childhood is an artificial state than the prolonging of it is abhorrent.
However, as I read this I kept thinking about all those child actors who claimed to have had their childhood stolen from them. Not quite sure if eliminating childhood would be a good thing. It didn't work out that great for a lot of child movie and TV stars, but maybe that is only because our "schooled" society schooled them into believing they were missing something great. Who knows?
"Only by segregating human beings in the category of childhood could we ever get them to submit to the authority of a schoolteacher." Illich
"By definition, children are pupils. The demand for the milieu of childhood creates an unlimited market for accredited teachers." Illich
I often ask high school seniors who plan on attending college why they are going. They almost all say they are going so they can get a good high-paying job. Almost never do they say they are going so they can pursue their love of learning, pursue a personal interest, get better at something they love, or become better learners. Sometimes I hear from parents that they want their child to become "well rounded" but rarely do hear them say that they want their child to go to school to become "life-long learners" that I often hear teachers say is the purpose of school. Interesting and even more interesting how this all plays out in the process we call schooling. I sense that most teachers themselves never went to school to develop a "live-long love of learning." I wonder how they came to see this as their role?
"this hidden curriculum serves as a ritual of initiation into a growth-oriented consumer society for rich and poor alike." Illich
How much was John Taylor Gatto influenced by Ivan Illich? Reading 'Deschooling Society' makes 'Dumbing us Down' seem like plagiarism