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Education and Democracy

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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Privatized education creates separate and unequal. It didn't work 100 years ago and doesn't now, he stresses.

Quasi-privatized charter schools institutionalize class and racial separation, he maintains. Mandated robotized learning through standardized tests is "segregative and divisive."

Culture is starved. "Aesthetics are gone. Joy in learning is regarded as a bothersome distraction." NCLB and RTTT institutionalize "apartheid of the intellect." Kids are "trained to spit up predigested answers." They learn nothing. 

Horace Mann is called the "father of the common school." For him, it meant public ones. He believed universal public education was essential to ensure a nation of informed citizens. His six main educational principles included:

(1) Citizens can't be ignorant and free.

(2) Education should be publicly funded and controlled.

(3) It should be provided equally for all children.

(4) It must be nonsectarian.

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(5) It must emphasize the tenets of a free society.

(6) It must be provided by well-educated, professional teachers.

Mann's main educational goal was to foster universal equality. Education helps lift people out of poverty. Knowledge is power, he believed. An educated person no longer is a "slave" to the status quo.

Knowledge also is essential to a true democracy. It differs vastly from rote learning. The latter, he said, "was neither effective nor desirable."

"Children must be led to discover principles and relationship." Learning is a means to an end. Its value is self-improvement. It separates humans from beasts. If "all mankind were well fed, well clothed, and well housed (alone), they still might be half civilized."

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In his capacity as Massachusetts State Board of Education Secretary, he said:

"Surely nothing but universal education can counterwork this tendency to the domination of capital and servility of labor." 

"If one class possesses all the wealth and the education, while the residue of society is ignorant and poor, it matters not by what name the relationship between them may be called: the latter, in fact and in truth, will be the servile dependents and subjects of the former." 

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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