The slow school bus to academic servitude | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

The slow school bus to academic servitude

Last week, Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat candidate for Governor of Virginia, expressed his discontent with parents who want to have a say in the education of their children. In his second debate with Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, McAuliffe said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

His angst over parental involvement seems to have struck some as new and unusual. The historic roots of US public education and the public (i.e, government) school system in the US is well documented, so let’s review.

The name John Dewey is recognizable in the list of public education crafters in the US. While his contributions spanned the late 1800’s through the first few decades of the 20th century, he was a late-comer. The system for the design of our public schools preceded him by over 50 years. Horace Mann, another well known name in public school circles, began his work in the 1830’s when he adopted the Prussian model of free and compulsory education for Massachusetts, where he later became the head of the State Board of Education. This model was based on the Prussian Emperor’s goal of eliminating free thought so that his underlings would be obedient and unquestioning. From age 6 to mid-teens, the message to the students was “compliance.” Once the underlying message of equality (free school is equal for everyone) was sold and accepted, Massachusetts gobbled it up and public schools spread across the nation, replacing the “free to learn” community-based systems that existed since the first days of American independence.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Virginia code section 1-240.1. enumerates the “rights of parents” as follows: “A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.”

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