Education in the Public Interest Kurt Love, Ph.D. Central Connecticut State University
PURPOSES OFEDUCATION What are reasons for having public education? Inspiring Build a socially/ecologically Creative just community Responsible Thinkers Citizens Follow Directions Critically Question Build a Labor Privilege/Oppression Force Support the Accumulate Fun Growth of the Knowledge “Whole” Student
PURPOSES OFEDUCATION What are reasons for having public education? Responsible Creative Critically Question Citizens Thinkers Privilege/Oppression Follow Build a Directions Fun socially/ecologically just communityBuild a Labor Force Inspiring Support the Accumulate Growth of the Knowledge “Whole” Student
Political Spectrum Aristocracy Plutocracy Communism “Democrat” “Republican” Fascism Liberal Conservative Moderate Theocracy Representative Oligarchy Socialism Anarchism Republic Libertarianism “True Democracy” Neoliberal Neoconservative*Not to scale
Current DiscourseWhat are the reasons most often given forthe purpose of school in the U.S.?Whose voices are generally included in thepronouncement of these reasons?Whose voices are generally not included?
Education and Getting Jobs What were the most important reasons that an applicant did not get a job? To what extent are the “core curricula” important in the hiring of hourly production workers? How much math does an entry level worker need to have according to ETS? What is the correlation between paper-and-pencil tests and getting hired? What are the skills that are needed to get an entry level job?
Employers Say...From Education Week 2006:“Manufacturers polled were less happy withstudents’ work-related skills than with theiracademic preparation.”Employers do want basic math skills(generally through 9th grade), reading skills,but more importantly surveys consistentlyshow that they want workers who will beon-time, have good attitudes and workethics.
What Else is Needed?Spring brings up the point that employers need workersthat can: Endure long periods of mundane work Repetition Withstand being located in uninteresting environments Follow directionsHow well does mainstream schooling prepare students forthis kind of work?
Education in the Public Interest Whose voices are strongest in shaping education and education policy? Whose voices are generally not included?
Purpose of Schooling and PowerStarting the 19th century, goals for public schoolsincluded teaching about: Patriotism and political values Morality Providing equal opportunityWhat purposes do each of these serve for politicalleaders and business owners?How do these potentially affect workers, families,people with low income, people with middle incomes?
More GoalsHow do the juvenile crimepurposes of schoolconnect with: nutritional health urbanization epidemic disease industrialization globalization racial and cultural harmony
A little history lesson...Indigenous Era: Prior tothe arrival of theEuropean colonizers (aka“colonists”), education wasseen as lifelong, generallyinformal, connected tonature, spiritual, and insmall group or one-on-one settings. Much of thisis echoed in what is called“indigenous education”today.
A little history lesson... Massachusetts, 1647: The Europeans establish a law that says teachers and grammar schools must be made available to villages and towns depending on population. The original intention was to keep the “old deluder” (Satan) away. The focus of these teachings was on Christian morals and values.
A little history lesson... 1820s-1840s: Teaching common moral and political values, equality of educational opportunity 1880s-1920s: Americanization of immigrants, train work force for companies, anti- communism, anti-radicalism 1920s-1940s: Expansion of high schools to control youth and keep youth out of labor market
A little history lesson... 1950s-1980s: Radical and cultural harmony, War on Poverty, make more scientists and engineers, career education, equality of educational opportunity 1980s-2000s: Standardization, testing, preparation for a global economy
Thomas JeffersonProposed thatnonslaves should have3 years of freeschooling.Offered thatmeritocracy should bethe guiding force inschools
Thomas JeffersonBill for the MoreGeneral Diffusion ofKnowledge“By this means twentyof the best geniuseswill be raked from therubbish annually, andbe instructed, at thepublic expense.”
Thomas JeffersonArgued that readingwas fundamental, butthat people shouldlearn about politics inthe newspapersAdvocates forcensorship of politicaltexts at University ofVirginia
Horace MannBecomes theSecretary of theMass Board ofEducation in 1837Establishes normalschools and commonschools
Horace MannAdvocated for theinstilling of a commonpolitical creed in allstudents to reduce orprevent radicalismMann argued thatcrime, class conﬂict,and suffrage wouldincrease violence andcreate mob rule.
Horace MannPolitical liberty iscontrolled andconstrained by whatstudents learned andwere assimilated to inschools.The purpose ofschools is politicallycontrol people.
Francis Bellamy1892: Bellamy, asocialist, writes thePledge of Allegiance.He wanted to includethe word “equality,”but the statesuperintendents rejectit because they opposeeducation for womenor African Americans
Patriotism or Propaganda?Reasons for using the Pledgeof Allegiance in schools: Make immigrants loyal Support war efforts
Patriotism or Propaganda?“Under God” was addedin 1954 as a way to denycommunism“In God We Trust” addedto money in 1955 for thesame reason
World War IPatriotic songs,Pledge of Allegiance,and studentgovernment all usedin schools as ways toincrease patriotismand politicalassimilation
Patriotism or Propaganda?According to Spring, sports teams and cheerleadingwere seen as ways for schools to build school spiritand consequently prepare students for military service
School Governance in NYC Mayor Bloomberg eliminates elected school boards in 2002. Brings on several CEOs to shape the practices of the largest body of schools in the nation