Showing posts with label socialism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label socialism. Show all posts

Friday, April 8, 2011

Educational Leaders Unmasked: Dewey Part II

Dewey once wrote, "The individualistic man is a victim of an unnamed form of insanity and only the collectivist man is sane."
And how might this notion affect education? I think back to my favorite influences (sarcasm here) of Prussian education and social efficiency; social efficiency educators [were] made up of an acceptance of a collective
society and a belief that an individual should be devoted to a specialized task
in society.” (see my Social Efficiency part III post) This notion is very Dewey-esque and is arguably still a practice in education.
Wikipedia states, “Dewey goes on to acknowledge that education and schooling are instrumental in creating social change and reform. He notes that “education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction” (1897) )”
I take this to mean that teachers are regulators, who must “adjust” students to fit their societal mold, as the key part in “social consciousness” (that sounds so hunky-dory and reminds me of my liberal arts education in college…social consciousness was nearly de rigueur in conversation and coursework). Does this sound like the role of a teacher to you? Perhaps it does but it is not my idea of a great teacher or desirable education. I think of teachers as “facilitators” who help mold students, yes, but not to their cog and wheel place in society but rather as a mentor, encouraging the student’s passions and interests, not societies pre-set passions assigned to them.
Learning by doing- Here’s where I favor Dewey. He was against a rigidly structured curriculum and felt that children learn best by doing, that is by experimenting, theorizing, playing with their learning. Too often we see classes heavy on lecture and/or scripted curriculum which study after study shows is not the most effective method. Think back to a lesson a teacher taught you, way back in elementary. Was it scripted curriculum, or learning by doing? I recall my favorite lesson was in 6th grade World History. After studying ancient civilizations, we worked in groups to create our own civilization, our own artifacts and Rosetta Stone which we sprinkled in dirt outside the school grounds. The next week each group went and did an “archeological dig” and pieced together the other group’s civilization. I think Dewey would support such a lesson.
The school must be made into a social center capable of participating in the daily life of the community . . . and make up in part to the child for the decay of dogmatic and fixed methods of social discipline and for the loss of reverence and the influence of authority.”

"that to put the child in possession of his fullest talents,
education should be active rather than passive
; that to prepare the child for a democratic
society, the school should be social rather than individualist'
“Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper
social order and the securing of the right social growth. In this way the teacher is always the
prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of heaven.”
(just a creepy quote there...)
"the plea for the predominance of learning to read in early
school life because of the great importance attaching to literature seems to be a perversion." This echoes the Prussian idea of having education to educate the public just so much that they feel satiated. The people become more educated than they would be without completion of their compulsory schooling, and they are likely more desirable as a work force. However, they learn just enough but not enough to start to question the status quo. Reading well enough to function in life was what the Prussians encouraged; they feared a learned man that was a proficient reader because they were a threat to the “system”. Let the top 2-10% elitists, from their private education, rule and make decisions because they’re the experts and the common man is not and should be happy with his status. If this idea exists today in our schools (the supposed dumbing down of our schools would support such a theory) then it is time to put a stop to it. Man deserves to “be all that he can be” and deserves an elite education. Knowledge is power and frees us from the shackles of dependency, feudalism, and oppression. Reading is a great vehicle for change; many studies show that ones “level” of vocabulary is a great determinant in their success in life, and reading is a great exposure to, as I call them in the classroom, 50 cent words. If we don’t teach the importance of great literature to our children, our future generations, if we only teach them certain sight words that are in a blanched condenses and altered version of literary classics, then we are supporting “the man keeping us down”. Social stratification will continue to rear its ugly head.
founded the Progressive Education Association which promoted the seven principles to improve elementary education (of which I can only find five); 1) Child centered; education should be active rather than passive. (I must agree).2) Children should learn the contents of the activities of the children formed their own direct experience. (I somewhat agree…such an idea can go to far as is outlined in Diane Ravitch’s Language Police.) 3) "the process of teaching the course is to develop habits of mind". (Yes, we need critical thinking but do we as teachers encourage habits of the mind, or decide what those habits should be?) 4) . Dilute the authority of the conscious view of teacher. (I do like teachers as facilitators especially in the later years i.e. high school when students have a foundational knowledge. However, it seems teachers have lost authority but it has not gone to the students but rather the bureaucrats. 5) The concept of school spirit. Progressive educators believe that students should be encouraged to cooperate with the school. (I believe students should have pride in their school; however, should they blindly cooperate and idolize the school?)
Socialism- many argue that Dewey promoted socialism; you decide in his quote here; "I do not see how any honest educational reformer in western countries can deny that the greatest practical obstacle in the way of introducing into schools that connection with social life which he regards as desirable is the great part played by personal competition and desire for private profit in our economic life. This fact almost makes it necessary that in important respects school activities should be protected from social contacts and connections, instead of being organized to create them. The Russian educational situation is enough to convert one to the idea that only in a society based upon the cooperative principle can the ideals of educational reformers be adequately carried into operation."
From (and it is a valid source; I’ve seen it backed up by research but the author says it more succinctly than I);
“Under the pretext of improving teaching methods, they changed what was taught to the American children. What did Dewey believe? In his writing and teaching, Dewey rejected fixed moral laws and eternal truths and principles. He adopted pragmatic, relativistic concepts as his guiding philosophy. Denying God, he held to the Marxist concept, that man is without a soul or free will. Man is a biological organism completely molded by his environment. Dewey believed that because man’s environment is constantly changing, man also changes constantly. Therefore, Dewey concluded, teaching children any of the absolutes of morals, government or ethics was a waste of time. On this moral philosophy, amoral philosophy, he developed his teaching formula, commonly labeled Progressive Education. Dewey published a thing called My Pedagogic Creed in 1897, and in it he saw the destruction – listen to this – the destruction of the child’s individualistic traits as the primary goal of education.” The idea of ethics verses morals, and that morals are fixed but outdated or wrong, is replaced with ethics which can change by the situation at hand. This in my opinion deteriorates one’s own moral fortitude. If morals must be taught in school (I argue against it; this is the role of the family) then shouldn’t we teach moral fortitude and not arbitrary, situational ethics? Of course Dewey stated morals and ethics should both not be taught in schools and I do agree; however some ethics and morals must be part of schools or else you’d have chaos- for example, we as teachers must reiterate what we hope is taught at home; i.e. share with others, get along with others, respect your elders, respect yourself and others…
Phrenology- Dewey believed in phrenology (as did Horace Mann) which was a pseudo-science of psychology that measured the skull. More precisely, the dimensions of one’s head and the bumps on the skull were measured and often used to promote racial superiority.
A good source that summed things up much better than I did and is well worth a visit if you want to read something that reflects my perspective:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Social Efficiency Part III

(As always bear with the formatting and font issues. No matter what I do it won't format correctly and the more I fix it, the worse it becomes.)

Quick re-cap...what is social efficiency and what does it have to do with schools? To quote author Ann Gibson Winfield, "Reflecting the general societal trend, social efficiency educators were "imbued with the power of science" and believe that the application of business and industrial standard would eliminate waste in education." She goes on to say, " The conduits comprising the interface between eugenic ideology and education was formed through a combination of historical, political, socially Progressive and demographic influences in play during the first decades of the 20th century".

Social Efficiency and the New Nationalism by Joel H. Spring (an author I've found to be quite knowledgeable and unbiased) wrote...

"The common ideological bed shared by the New Nationalists and the

social efficiency educators was made up of an acceptance of a collective

society and a belief that an individual should be devoted to a specialized task

in society. The social efficiency stream in early twentieth-century American

education has recently been pointed out by Edward Krug in The Shaping

of the American High School and in Walter Drost's biography of social

efficiency educator David Snedden. Krug's thesis is that social efficiency

was a combination of education for social service and social control. The

social service aspect of social efficiency education involved the same

type of attack upon rugged individualism that Bowers found as one of

the striking characteristics ofthe social reconstructionists. It was an education

directed at training the individual for a life devoted to the good

of the collective whole"

Again the social efficiency notion of training someone for a specific task or career and nothing more. For example, a person trained to be a carpenter would only know history of carpentry (no need to know of world wars, the constitution, etc), carpentry-based math, etc. This in my eyes does not make a whole person and robs man of the freedom of knowledge. Social efficiency gets as creepy as can be here, as it begins to sound like Mao-era China when Spring says, " social efficiency was a combination of education for social service and social control". When I read that education should be about social control, I think some blood shoots from out my eyes. Education should FREE man, knowledge is power, enlightenment, freedom. If education is control then it is indoctrination as well and I stand against that. This idea goes perhaps even beyond the Prussian idea that education should teach us to bow down to the king. And yet it gets worse...a socialist mantra indeed, that education should train us to devote our lives to the collective whole. Last time I checked, America was founded by the founding fathers that promoted individualism and freedom, not kowtowing to the government for the good of the collective whole.

"The social efficiency educator at the University of

Wisconsin, Micheal V. O'Shea, told teachers in a 1909 textbook entitled

Social Development and Education, "Intense individualistic feelings and

actions must be brought under control, and cooperation must largely

take the place of original tendencies to opposition and aggression."

William C. Bagley went further than this in 1904 when he wrote in his

The Educative Process that a socially efficient man was one who was

willing to "sacrifice his own pleasure . .. when its gratification will not

directly or indirectly lead to social advancement." sociologist,

Edward A. Ross. Ross wrote his book Social Control while at Stanford

during the eighteen-nineties. Insisting

that communities held together by close face-to-face relationships were

rapidly becoming things of the past, he advocated new means by which

society could maintain social order. "Success in social organization," Ross

wrote, "implies that each man, whether watched or unwatched, sticks to his

appointed work, and interferes with no one else in his work." Ross hailed

education as a means of achieving successful social organization. Teachers

could become "an economical system of police." Education for social control

meant training student to fit into a particular slot in the social

organization. “

Here Spring identifies yet again my point of social efficiency being for social control and to teach people just what they need to know, nothing more. The “powers that be” of this era saw, as I’ve mentioned, the family and community unit breaking down and so through social control in the schools, social order could be maintained and everyone would know their proper place in the collective whole.

“ Social specialization was to be achieved through a differentiated curriculum. Courses and course material were to be selected on the basis of the social destination of

the student. Collective harmony was to be achieved through social education.

Within the school the child was to be divested of all selfish individual

interests. Group play and group work were to prepare the individual for

a collective society”

Differentiated curriculum is a buzz word in current education, but if this is its origins, I am weary. This reiterates that schools are to train people for their pre-determined roles, nothing more. And through this brainwashing…I mean “education”, we would reach a utopia of “collective harmony” and we would no longer have individualism or selfish thought. Even our play-time was to be infiltrated and turned into a socialist exercise. Prussia monitored children’s play by creating government run children’s clubs such as judendeutchland (no clue on the spelling) or “Young Germans”.

“Social efficiency education and the New Nationalism were therefore wedded

to the goals of a highly organized society in which efficiency was to be

maintained through social specialization and unselfish devotion to common

social causes. The New Nationalism as a progressive political movement did

not die with Roosevelt's defeat in 1912. As Eric Goldman has pointed out,

New Nationalist thinking became a part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal

Here it is again- our pre-determined roles, promoted/mandated through our education, will make our society more efficient (easier to control). The “devotion to social causes” sounds innocuous but their social causes here are anything but, as they are all about control and a push for a utopian socialistic mantra of collectivism. For those who claim the New Deal was all about socialism, this to me aligns to that claim, as Spring suggests below;

If this is true, then the question that has to be answered is: Were the social

reconstructionists a new breed of progressive educator or were they in

the tradition of social efficiency education? Though it is true that early social

efficiency educators did not demand a completely planned society in the

manner of the social reconstructionists, it is not difficult to imagine that a

plea for social specialization and collective harmony would move in this

direction under the pressure of a depression. T his question must be answered

before we can come to a clear understanding of what progressive education

was all about.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Top Five Percent: A Conspiracy Theory of Governmental Control

an article I wrote for a website...

I read an article online at about schools skimming the cream of the crop, the top 5%, off and into select schools and this article reminded me of a book I’d read recently about the history of our education system. I began to find connections to socialism, eugenics, the Fabian Society, and a whole lot more. Big brother is controlling your every action from birth, and it is a complex situation I hope to help unravel it for you, so please bear with me as I approach it from an educational perspective, since that is my discipline.

In the beginning of the 19th century, a new method of schooling was popping up in America’s larger cities, one in which children of the lower-class were conditioned to obedience under pretext that they were learning. These were the Lancaster schools, which were also a Hindu invention, designed with the purpose of “dumbing us down.”

Educationalist Andrew Bell found an opportunity when he studied the structure Hindus arranged for training the lower castes, about 95 percent of the Indian population. He observed that the five-category ranking of the caste system was similar to those in schools. Prestige and authority are only for the top three castes which only comprise 5 percent of the total. And remember, in the caste system, you can fall but you cannot rise. His system influenced the Lancaster schools, however his exact system did not survive past his death, as it needed close and enthusiastic supervision and small classes and was only really useful when funds were sparse and teachers in very short supply. (However, such a situation seems eerily familiar, especially in California with billions of dollars cut, teachers fired, and class size increasing. Maybe this is NCLB’s utopian situation?)

So there is some of my “5%”. But wait, there’s more!

Our IQ tests are part of this grand 5% conspiracy. Prior to WWI, eugenicists[1] evaluated racial and national groups by comparing numbers of one group or another on "lists of distinction”. Psychology, wishing to attain higher status in science, claimed to be able to go deep into the hidden regions of the brain, through an invention of an "intelligence test," an "IQ" score which would aid in what eugenicists desired- a genetically and scientifically proven method of categorizing and marginalizing people. Psychologist Carl Brigham concluded in 1923 that "the intellectual superiority of our Nordic group over Alpine, Mediterranean and Negro groups has been demonstrated." To emphasize the evil of eugenics, renowned Teachers College Professor Thorndike, and his fellow psychologist H.H. Goddard at Princeton, claimed 83 percent of all Jews and 79 percent of all Italians were in the mental defective class based upon the IQ test. These very such tests infiltrated the schools, and thus every child would now be given a number based on their score. And remember, IQ scores were unvarying, unchangeable, a true mark of ability. Mental ages were dutifully entered on permanent record cards with as much assurance as Barnas Sears, William Torrey Harris, Horace Mann, G. Stanley Hall, and John Dewey had accepted skull maps drawn by their favorite phrenologists, whom believed the shape of your skull indicated your intelligence. Oh, and these men all had stakes in our educational system.[2]

This all plays into eugenics, the Prussian Education system, and the Fabian Society, so stay with me.

To quote Gatto as he said it best, “The eugenics movement begun by [Sir Francis] Galton [Darwin’s first cousin] in England was energetically spread to the United States by his followers. Besides destroying lesser breeds (as they were routinely called) by abortion[3], sterilization, adoption, celibacy, two-job family separations, low-wage rates to zest for life, and, above all, schooling to dull the mind and debase the character, other methods were clinically discussed in journals, including a childlessness which could be induced through easy access to pornography. Galtonians advocated the notion of breeding a super race.” This is Eugenics in a nutshell, and milder versions are still alive and well in our nation, the aforementioned IQ tests are part of it as you can easily infer. How else do you prove the top 5% as being justified, and how else can you scientifically categorize and prove the remaining 95% as being inferior? Through eugenic science, my dear. In fact, the Progressive Era, through eugenic influence, has practiced exclusionary labor force practices, ridding of unfit workers labeled parasites, industrial residuum, and the unemployable[4]. This eerily echoes the statistics of the “type” of people generally incarcerated, uneducated, and on welfare. One must ask if it is coincidence or not.

The late business professor and progressive Simon Patten stated that we were training the unfit, and “every improvement increases the inefficiencies which the laboring class may possess without their being thereby overcome in the struggle for subsistence that the survival of the ignorant brings upon the society.” This, to me, sounds like a call for socialized health care, welfare, etc. It is a way to appease the 95% masses and simultaneously enslave and subordinate them. This idea will tie in later, but back to education.

You have likely begun to gain a perspective that public schools are generally not for the top 5% and you would be correct. To further emphasize, The NEA (National Education Association) reports of 1911 and 1918 attacked "the bookish curricula" which are "responsible for leading tens of thousands of boys and girls away from pursuits for which they are adapted," books gave children "false ideals of culture." An interim report of 1917 asked for emphasis to shift away from history to something called "social studies"; the thrust was away from the past so that attention might be focused on the future. Their 1917 report, "Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education," asked for schools to teach health, vocational training, and specified behaviors; the goals of education were no longer character or mental development.

Prussia[5], in present-day Germany, was a German military state, which consciously modeled itself after Sparta. The Prussians had a remarkable education system envied world wide; it was free and compulsory (that’s good, right?) and comprised of national testing for all students in order to classify them for specific job training. Students in the system learn their rank and learn to follow orders. Prussia’s aim was social obedience of the lower class. Horace Mann[6] was the leader in having brought the Prussian education system to America which changed the face of education forever. Under his and the Prussian influence, many American dignitaries went to Prussia to study their education system first hand; they brought the methods back with them and were subsequently placed in the major teacher preparation colleges and other universities across the nation. The Prussian system was initially only adopted in Massachusetts, then in New York by Mann’s sister in law, a Peabody of The Peabody Foundation, which then spread it to the South. With the culmination of their work and that of the Prussian trained professors, the system spread like wildfire across the nation. Johann Gottlieb Fichte, a man with great influence upon the Prussian system as well as a man interested in Kant and Hegel ( as well as was paraphrased and written about by Socialist Bertrand Russell) said, "Although this science [of manipulation] will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.” Fichte, Hegel, and Kant’s ideas are part of the Fabian Societies beliefs.

I’d love to keep going, but really, this is where all the pieces come together. The Fabians supported many things including health services in order for "the breeding of even a moderately Imperial race" which would be more productive and better militarily than the "stunted, anemic, demoralized denizens...of our great cities"; and a national education system because "it is in the class-rooms that the future battles of the Empire for commercial prosperity are already being lost". Google or wikipedia Fabian society or Elitism and certain key terms are abound: universal health care, liberalism, liberal reform, socialism, labor unions, tax increase…the list goes on. Fabians believe that control must rest with the “experts” and thus oppose ideas of working class control and a mass participatory democracy. The working class mass does not understand the complexities of modern society economically, politically, socially, or in any other way.[7] Suddenly, this all seems to be a big, complex, master plan of sorts to control us all. The 95% working class, controlled mass, could never take over the top 5% elitists because we wouldn’t even being to think such a thing. We’ve been trained to not question authority and not to rise up, all under the guise of social reform and governmental aid.

However, I’m sorry to the Fabian Elitists that seem to surround me. Your plan is flawed. We wore gold sashes at our high school graduations, forever more labeling us at the top5%. We attended the same private universities. We read the same liberal philosophy and sociology texts. We acted as if we subscribed to your nonsense. But you know what? Sorry, there are some of us that believe all men are created equal. We’ve I will rise up, using the ladder your system provided to me, to free them from your servitude. I will work to my death to become one of your “status quo” in the education system and I will use my mind, my passions, my constitutionally and God-given right, to take your carefully controlled system crashing down for the good of the people.


Gatto, J.T. “The Underground History of American Education.” (Andrew Bell, Horace Mann, Barnas Sears, WilliamTorrey Harris, John Dewey, and G. Stanley Hall, Prussia)

Neisser, Ulric. “The School Achievement of Minority Children.” at

[2] On a related tangent, EDS, which develops California’s school exams, sub-contracts out to Metritech Inc, which has a CEO and founder, Dr. Samuel E Krug, who studied psychometrics, which relates to eugenics. He has written books on personality and ability testing, computer based behavioral assessments for education, anxiety and depression, and school leadership. He also wrote about the “16 PFs”, based on the 16PF Personality Questionnaire, which remains in use by universities and businesses for research personnel selection and the like. Research has indicated that the test is useful in predicting a wide variety of behaviors, such as creativity, academic success, cognitive style, empathy and interpersonal skills, leadership potential, conscientiousness, self-esteem, frustration tolerance, coping patterns, marital compatibility, and job performance. There is an adolescent version.



[7] Pritchard, C. Social Work.