There are certainly merits for de-institutionalizing education. However, I could not get past the idea that the system described would be incredibly disadvantageous to children of lower socio-economic households. I wonder if Illich had spent much time with children and parents who live in multi-generational poverty. Those households are in constant chaos. Parents for the most part have no interest/ability to guide their children in education. Along these lines, in Outliers, there is a report on Annette Lareau’s research on parenting styles. She found the styles divided along class lines and cited examples like coaching children to speak up, finding resources and opportunities for children and interacting with people in authority. Lareau concluded that children from wealthy homes are taught attitudes that are “suited to success in the modern world.” Illich mentions the role of parents, but does not address how to overcome the wide disparity of abilities.
About midway through, the article on deschooling hit me as an article on home schooling.
One of Illich’s indictments of educators is their desire to keep knowledge a secret. This made me think of our discussion of the apparent unwillingness of the IT guys to share their knowledge. But really aren’t most professions guilty — doctors, lawyers accountants? I’m reminded of an email this week referring to a mechanic’s keeping secret the location of a radiator drain plug. Maybe this desire to keep secrets is actually the very reason a system of education has developed. The experts are not willing to share! IF that is the case, Illich’s entire scenario would fall.
An Aside — Is it just me, or do articles in electronic form have way more errors than articles in print?