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Nikhil Goyal

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New York, The United States


Member Since
July 2012

Nikhil Goyal is a sociologist who has taught as an adjunct professor in New York University’s Prison Education program. He is also the author of Schools on Trial (Doubleday, 2016). He has appeared on CNN, FOX, and MSNBC and written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, TIME, The Nation, and other publications.

Goyal is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, where he holds a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Education. He lives in New York.

Average rating: 3.71 · 139 ratings · 27 reviews · 2 distinct worksSimilar authors
Schools on Trial: How Freed...

3.61 avg rating — 79 ratings — published 2016 — 4 editions
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One Size Does Not Fit All: ...

3.85 avg rating — 60 ratings — published 2012 — 3 editions
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“What are the purposes of modern-day schools? The primary purpose is warehousing -- keeping children off the streets, out of the workplace, and out of the home for most of the day to the benefit of parents, some employers, and the general public. Call it the "jail function" as John Holt put it frankly. There is no attempt to cloak this fact. In a blog post bemoaning the number of days her children have off from school, one blogger's headline read: "November Is the Cruelest Month for Moms".

The second purpose is teaching children how to comply with orders, submit to authority, and fit into our consumerist, capitalist economy. This is not usually acknowledged. Schools, educators, and policymakers are not candidly saying that the objective of schools is to produce compliant students, but that's generally what happens.

The third purpose is ranking and sorting students based on their performance in school. It's an efficient way to determine who should be rewarded for her compliance, or in other words, who should go to the top colleges and universities and later hold positions of power and influence and society. As the eminent linguist Noam Chomsky once put it, "The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive, and so on -- because they're dysfunctional to the institutions.

The fourth is a distorted version of education. It really ought to be characterized as indoctrination and conditioning for entry into economic and social systems that have little use for free inquiry and thought, let alone resistance.”
Nikhil Goyal, Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice

“[In Prussia t]he elite children of society (0.5 percent) went to schools where they were taught "how to manage materials, men and situations -- to be problem solvers", as Gatto wrote in The Underground History of American Education. The next tier of children, roughly 5.5 to 7.5 percent of society, were destined to be politicians, doctors, engineers, and lawyers. They were sent to Realschulen, where they were taught how to think, albeit in a distorted fashion. The remaining 92 to 94 percent of children went to Volksschulen, an eight-year period of compulsory schooling, where they learned "obedience, cooperation and correct attitudes, along with rudiments of literacy and official state myths of history". Volksschule students were indeed churned into disciplined citizens faithful to the government.”
Nikhil Goyal, Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice

“Industrialists, financiers, and their private foundations soon became the ones bankrolling the compulsory schooling movement. Between 1896 and 1920, Gatto reveals, they had spent more money on the cause than the actual government. Consider this statement by Frederick Taylor Gates, president of the General Education Board, a philanthropic organization founded by oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, in 1906: "We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, editors, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply . . . For the task that we set before ourselves is very simple as well as a very beautiful one: to train these people as we find them to a perfectly ideal life just where they are". The ruling class used schooling as a tool to control the minds of the masses and perpetuate their own interests.”
Nikhil Goyal, Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice

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