Sunday, February 13, 2011

No more factories! How about we stop training students to be factory workers then?

The New York Times ran an article today about the closing of the last silverware factory in the U.S. While the shutting down of factories in the U.S. is sad, sadder still is the continuation of the "factory model" of education which was indeed, designed to make compliant factory workers.

Most people don't know that the schools we have today were meant to behave like factories:

In 1905, Elwood Cubberly—the future Dean of Education at Stanford—wrote that schools should be factories

“in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products…manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry.”

William Torrey Harris, US Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906, wrote:

“The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places…. It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.”

Since we now have no factories, perhaps it is time to get rid of the factory model of education and allow children to learn in a way that is less stifling, less dark and ugly, and more likely to produce the kinds of people who can fill jobs that will exist in this century.

Politicians in nearly every country have thrived by producing graduates of school who cannot think for themselves and mindlessly go about their lives. This may have worked in the era of the factory, but there are no more factories. Yet school is still a dreary mind numbing experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment