The Deschooling of Society

From "The Deschooling of Society" by Ivan Illich...

Schools are designed on the assumption that there is a secret to everything in life; that the quality of life depends on knowing that secret; that  secrets can be known only in orderly successions; and that only teachers can properly reveal these secrets. An individual with a schooled mind  conceives of the world as a pyramid of classified packages accessible only to those who carry the proper tags. New educational institutions  would break apart this pyramid. Their purpose must be to facilitate access for the learner; to allow him to look into the windows of the  control room or the parliament, if he cannot get in by the door.  Moreover, such new institutions should be channels to which the learner  would have access without credentials or pedigree--public spaces in  which peers and elders outside his immediate horizon would become available.

And a way forward:

What are needed are new networks, readily available to the public and designed to spread equal opportunity for learning and teaching.

In the text you’ll find many more provocative statements, explorations of deeply rooted assumptions, and arguments for change (almost one per page!) to avoid our societies over-institutionalizing education.

Interesting to note it was written in the late 60s. Obviously pre-internet, and yet society has in some ways become more schooled than ever.

You should be able to find a pdf of this one online. Well worth it. A short book but not a quick read—you might find yourself examining how it is that you have learned what you know, and how you plan to learn anything new in the future.