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The Militarization of American Education

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Gary Brumback       (Page 1 of 7 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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From flickr.com/photos/20574219@N06/4675703351/: What was learned in this fourth grade class in the 1950's?
What was learned in this fourth grade class in the 1950's?
(Image by Michael 1952)
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The roots of American education were grounded in two necessities. One was the need for the Industrial Revolution to depend on, as the wit and social critic, H.L. Mencken put it, "a standardized citizenry." [1] The other was the need to help get America ready for WWI, and so the American Council on Education was hurriedly formed to ensure a supply of trained military personnel. [2]

Since WWI and Mr. Mencken's time American education, whether the public or private version has had to endure countless critics. And the critics are often right but not always for the right reasons. The evidence for what this American education produces is all around us and is often described in very unflattering terms; the uneducated American, the functionally illiterate American, the dumbed-down American, the moronic or idiot American.

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But this is not the place to go into a discourse on the dysfunctional condition of American education. That has already been done by many authoritative critics. [3] This, instead, is the place to illustrate briefly some of the ways in which the government's warriors and spies and the war and intelligence industries directly and indirectly influences American education and through it young minds by infiltrating early school years; by actually teaching warring and spying; by constantly putting on displays of jingoistic patriotism; and by using public high schools as recruiting stations.

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Infiltrating Early School Years

Give me your youth

Said the war/spy shape monster

Shape them slowly I shall

Shape them surely I will

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---The author

l

Of all the humanities' subjects the teaching of American history is the most vulnerable to "militarization." As the saying goes, history belongs to the victors. Their wars are the facts to which self-serving reasons are given and conclusions drawn.

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Retired organizational psychologist.

Author of The Devil's Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch; America's Oldest Professions: Warring and Spying; and Corporate Reckoning Ahead.

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