School Reform

We had a great time in Michigan. Spunky’s written about much of it here, and I suggest you go see what she says. I concur for the most part. Among other things, she says:

Gatto’s talks were centered around the theme of “Fourth Purpose Schooling”. He introduced each purpose in his first talk The Underground History of American Education. (You can read his whole book of the same title here. )

From the public’s perspective he outlined the four purposes of education:
1. To make good people.
2. The make good citizens.
3. To allow each individual to be their personal best.
4. The managerial goal of social efficiency.

Gatto believes we have moved past the first three purposes in the United States. He asserts that we are now in the fourth purpose that of a managed economy directed by the state and its largest corporations. (This was first introduced in the late 1800’s by the NEA’s Committee of Ten and its suggestion of core curriculum standards.)

Actually, The Committee of Ten wasn’t so bad. It was the later committee which undid their good work (The Commission of Reorganization on Secondary Education). That later committee was so bad that Richard Mitchell refers to them as ‘the gang of twenty-seven.’ The work of both committees is online as etexts. I linked to both of them last June in this post, (and I was disappointed that nobody commented on my clever pun).

I’ve commented before that it seems to me that much of so-called ‘school reform’ is about doing what is best for the institution of government schooling rather than what is best for the children. Isn’t it odd that no matter what the complaint, the solution is always to strengthen and centralize control of the institution? This should come as no surprise. The goal of those in the upper echelons of institutions is ultimately perpetuation of the institution itself. Our institution of public education is extremely successful. As Richard Mitchell says,

“Furthermore, any institution that still stands must, by that very fact, be successful. When we say, as we seem to more and more these days, that education in America is “failing,” it is because we don’t understand the institution. It is, in fact, succeeding enormously. It grows daily, hourly, in power and wealth, and that precisely because of our accusations of failure. The more we complain against it, the more it can lay claim to our power and wealth, in the name of curing those ills of which we complain. And, in our special case, in a land ostensibly committed to individual freedom and rights, it can and does make the ultimate claim–to be, that is, the free, universal system of public education that alone can raise up to a free land citizens who will understand and love and defend individual freedom and rights. Like any politician, the institution of education claims direct descent in apostolic succession from the Founding Fathers.”

~Richard Mitchell, Graves of Academe, Propositions Three and Seven
I quoted that previously in this post.

Personally, I think every time we push for reform we merely give better weapons for our keepers to beat us over the heads with. Look where testing is leading- to nationalizing the curriculum. I never thought to ask who writes those tests!

We can’t reform it. It needs to be dismantled.

This entry was posted in Books. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

One Comment

  1. jdavidb
    Posted January 30, 2006 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Yep. The only school reforms I have in mind now are:

    1) complete abolition of the system and the system of theft (taxes) used to fund it
    2) any net reduction in the money stolen to fund it
    3) total or partial abolition of compulsory attendance

    Governments are instituted among men to secure rights. That statement presupposes that those instituting the right-securing institution have already taken it upon themselves to be educated enough to “[lay] its foundation on such principles and [organize] its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” It also implies nothing about the right-securing institution taking on extra jobs, such as providing free education or welfare.

    And you already know what the author of that statement said about forcing children to be educated against the wishes of their fathers. Remarkable how consistent that old geezer was, and how inconsistent those who would take his name and the name of his contemporaries in vain to support such causes.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • The Common Room on Facebook

  • Amazon: Buy our Kindle Books

  • Search Amazon

    Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • Brainy Fridays Recommends: