“Prussian” Indoctrination – The Other Side

In doing a little searching for “The Prussian model” of schooling, I ran across an essay that claims to expose “The Invented History of ‘The Factory Model of Education’”.

It’s important to get the other side, so I read it and I’ll give you my thoughts here.

“There were laws on the books in Colonial America, for example, demanding children be educated”

Those “laws” were counterfeit. That they existed so long ago no more justifies similar counterfeit “laws” today than old slave “laws” could justify slavery today.

“There was free public education in the US too prior to Horace Mann’s introduction of the ‘Prussian model’ – the so-called ‘charity schools.’”

As long as it is funded voluntarily (charity) and attendance isn’t compulsory, it’s not a problem. Charity is great. Theft-funding anything is evil. Compulsory attendance is slavery.

“There were other, competing models for arranging classrooms and instruction as well…”

OK. Your point is…?

“Textbook companies were already thriving before Horace Mann or the Committee of Ten came along to decide what should be part of the curriculum.”

That’s to be expected, and it’s not a problem. Let parents choose the textbooks they want to buy if they want them. The problem arises in “one-size-fits-all” school “systems” where a local monopoly is created by government. Where children are taught from books they can’t opt out of or choose an alternative to, and their parents (and the community) are robbed to buy the books whether or not they want them.

“One of the side-effects of the efforts of Mann and others to create a public education system, unmentioned by Khan, was the establishment of ‘normal schools’ where teachers were trained.”

Was there no better way to train people to teach? And why is it assumed there need to be specialized teachers? If people are too stupid to teach their own kids– to show them how to learn– it means the school did a horrible job teaching the previous generation. You’re not going to solve such a problem by imposing it on generation after generation.

“Another was the requirement that, in order to demonstrate accountability, schools maintain records on attendance, salaries, and other expenditures”

That’s just standard practice for any business. I would expect any voluntarily funded school to do the same. Except that the records for attendance should be limited to the employees, not the customers.

“…control of public schools in the US have, unlike in Prussia, remained largely decentralized – in the hands of states and local districts rather than the federal government.”

If it’s under the control of any government, it’s not decentralized. Yes, it could always be worse, but it can be better and less centralized, too.

“The standardization of public education into a ‘factory model’ … was nowhere as smooth or coherent as Khan’s simple timeline would suggest.”

The smoothness or lack thereof is a distraction, not a counterargument.

“Arguments over what public education should look like and what purpose public education should serve … are not new.”

“Public” education shouldn’t exist, not in the way statists define “public”. That gets rid of the argument and replaces it with choice– with a market in education.

“For what it’s worth, Prussia was not highly industrialized when Frederick the Great formalized its education system in the late 1700s.”

Which was probably the point. Maybe it’s harder to become industrialized without a population of obedient drones.

OK. I’m tired of analyzing the nonsense and dishonesty in that essay. It proves nothing except that the writer is biased for government indoctrination. You know my bias since I’ve never tried to hide it. Decide for yourself which of us is more credible.

If you want to, you can read it all for yourself. That whole essay is just statist justification of government indoctrination day-prisons for children and youth. Death to kinderprison!

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Kent McManigal

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