When Horace Mann, the "father" of American government schooling, started the system, around 1850, his purpose was to turn a diverse population into a "workforce" of docile and predictable masses. Where did Mann look for his model system? In Prussia, where the rulers used state-run schools to turn out factory workers and soldiers to fight their ongoing wars against Napoleon. Well-schooled Prussia became Fascist Germany with its Socialist Governments, and brought us two world wars and the holocaust. Mann copied the Prussian factory system of schooling for this country. Little has changed since that time.
Never in history has government wanted its citizens to become truly educated and inquiring people who might question its authority or power. Government is only interested in indoctrinating us to whatever beliefs, attitudes and opinions are deemed by its leaders as correct for the time being. As yesterday's post attests, the state insists that its teachers offer a tightly scripted curriculum. Therefore, even during the time when public schools in America had a "hey-day," their purpose was to deliver a limited product of information and skills -- just enough to satisfy the army and business.
Did Mann have "socialization" in mind? No, he was, in fact, a puritan who wanted a religious-based society of "good people" and "good citizens." However, influenced by men such as John Dewey, the system was taken over early in the 20th century by those who wanted socialism, and that required a dumbing down of the population. The "Look-Say" method of reading (later called Whole Language) was popularized and Phonics was phased out. Math has been turned into "math appreciation" thanks to an endless series of fads, but leaves out the necessary component of basic knowledge of numbers and the ability to compute. As a result of those fundamental changes, children today are taught neither how to read nor how to calculate.
Today's public schools use the idea that the group is more important than the individual -- perhaps the most fundamental Socialist concept. In contrast, America was founded on the concept that the individual is sovereign.
In recent years, public school standards have been lowered to a point (in many states) of elimination, in favor of political correctness, group thinking and psychological conditioning. We hear their employees say, "We want the students to gain consensus on subjects." I remember a former superintendent in my town saying, "I don't care about test scores so much as how the children feel about themselves." To the schools, socialization means group thinking -- the opposite of critical thinking. Thus, "socialization" has replaced academic learning as the reason for the existence of government schools.
How do you feel about that?