Category: The Case Against Public Education (Read Online)

THE STANDARDS TRAP – iii. Soft Despotism from A to D

  One had to cram all this stuff into one’s mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year.[i] Albert Einstein   Making grades and the tests...

A SUMMARY OF OUR SHAME

  [Periander] had sent a herald to Thrasybulus and inquired in what way he would best and most safely govern his city. Thrasybulus led the man who had come from Periander outside the town, and entered into a sown field. As he walked through the corn, continually asking why the messenger had come to him from Corinth, he kept cutting...

PART TWO: FROM FREE WILL TO FREE LOVE

  [T]he rulers’ interest in the welfare of their own nation instead of in what is best for humanity, will make them, if they give money for the schools, wish to draw their plans. We have in this view an express statement of the points characteristic of the eighteenth-century individualistic cosmopolitanism. The full development of private personality is identified with...

MEET THE REAL FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION

  [Egerton] Ryerson from Canada, Horace Mann from Massachusetts, Sir [James] Kay Shuttleworth [sic] from England, besides many others, about this time paid visits to Prussia, and went home to recommend the adoption of much that they saw. These men were acute observers. They recognized that the Germans had learned something that was not generally known by other teachers. How...

MEET THE REAL FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION – ii. Such Oppressive Fetters

  From a doctorate exam.—“What is the task of all higher education?”—To turn man into a machine.—“By what means?”—He has to learn how to feel bored.—“How is that achieved?”—Through the concept of duty.—“Who is his model?”—The philologist: he teaches how to grind.—“Who is the perfect man?”—The civil servant.—“Which philosophy provides the best formula for the civil servant?”—Kant’s: the civil servant...

MEET THE REAL FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION – iii. Epilogue: Sleepwalking Through Fichte’s Dream

  Of course, the conditions that would be required to realize an authoritarian dream as grand as Fichte’s are rarely, if ever, available. In reality, cutting a society off from its traditions is difficult to do, at least all at once. And practical contingencies make the complete disappearance of a generation of children impossible. They are loved by their parents,...

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE DIDASKALOCRACY – i. The Teachers

  One of the most remarkable episodes in the Gospels is John 20.11-16—the climactic and defining event of John’s narrative:  But Mary was standing without at the tomb weeping: so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she beholdeth two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body...

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE DIDASKALOCRACY – ii. The Will to Power vs. The Will to Truth

  What has first to have itself proved is of little value. Wherever authority is still part of accepted usage and one does not “give reasons” but commands, the dialectician is a kind of buffoon: he is laughed at, he is not taken seriously.—Socrates was the buffoon who got himself taken seriously: what was really happening when that happened?[i] Friedrich...

SOFT FICHTEANISM – i. Stalin’s Propagandist, The World’s Teacher

  Joseph Stalin had been General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party for six years in 1928, when John Dewey, in popular iconography “the father of progressive education,” toured Russia with a group of educators. Later that year, The New Republic published Dewey’s “Impressions of Soviet Russia and the Revolutionary World.”[i] This series of essays stands as a remarkable testament...

SOFT FICHTEANISM – ii. Universal Kindergarten

  CAPTAIN: They’re children, Colonel. They’re just like children. COLONEL: The majority of them are adults. CAPTAIN: Chronologically, yes. They range in age from six months to sixty years. But psychologically and socially they’re children. Colonel Sloan, I’ve kept these people alive and together all these years, and when we get back to Earth, I will simply have to continue...