Context: "People yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand" - Gates

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
First of all, Fredrick T. Gates is not related to Bill Gates.

This out-of-context quote from the Rev. Frederick T. Gates exemplifies an article on the "Thrive" web site:

THE ORIGIN OF COMPULSORY SCHOOLING

“In our dream we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science. We are not to raise up among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply."​


- Rev. Frederick T. Gates, Business Advisor to John D. Rockefeller Sr., 1913 [1]

The current American school system took root around the turn of the century. In 1903, John D. Rockefeller founded the General Education Board, which provided major funding for schools across the country and was especially active in promoting the State-controlled public school movement.

The General Education Board was not interested in encouraging critical thinking. Rather, its focus was on organizing children and creating reliable, predictable, obedient citizens. As award-winning former teacher John Gatto puts it, “school was looked upon from the first part of the 20th Century as a branch of industry and a tool of governance.” The Rockefellers, along with other financial elite and their philanthropic organizations (such as the Gates, Carnegies, and Vanderbilts) have been able to mold society by funding and pushing compulsory state schooling for the masses.
Content from External Source
The original context of the quote comes from an article titled: The Country School of Tomorrow - In which young and old will be taught in practicable ways how to make rural life beautiful, intelligent, fruitful, recreative, healthful, and joyous. Which you must admit sounds like a good thing. So why does Gates say we should not to try to make lawyers and doctors out of people?

First let's look at the context. I'm going to give the paragraph first in its surrounding context, and then give the entire article, with relevant parts highlighted. You can just skip down, or read the whole thing if you are really interested.

In reading this, the basic context you need to understand is that he is talking about rural schools, i.e. schools in the country, and those schools were in terrible shape.

http://books.google.com/books?id=ArdKAAAAYAAJ&pg=PP12&output=text

Here, then, is a vast, various, costly educational system of a Christian people, unrelated directly or in any effective way even indirectly to the earthly life and needs of those for whom it exists and by whose sacrifices it is, in the main, supported — a putting asunder of what God hath joined together, disastrous alike to both. Here are shepherds and there are sheep, suffering from hunger, devoured and torn by wolves, and neither knows the other. Can shepherds and sheep be brought together in mutual love and service?

A VISION OF THE REMEDY

Is there aught of remedy for this neglect of rural life? Let us, at least, yield ourselves to the gratifications of a beautiful dream that there is. In our dream, we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science. We are not to raise up from among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply. We are to follow the admonitions of the good apostle, who said, "Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low degree." And generally, with respect to these high things, all that we shall try to do is just to create presently about these country homes an atmosphere and conditions such, that, if by chance a child of genius should spring up from the soil, that genius will surely bud and not be blighted. Putting, therefore, all high things quite behind us, we turn with a sense of freedom and delight to the simple, lowly, needful things that promise well for rural life. For the task that we set before ourselves is a very simple as well as a very beautiful one : to train these people as we find them for a perfectly ideal life just where they are — yes, ideal, for we shall allow ourselves to be extravagant since we are only dreaming; call it idyllic, if you like — an idyllic life under the skies and within the horizon, however narrow, where they first open their eyes. We are to try to make that life, just where it is, healthful, intelligent, efficient, to fill it with thought and purpose, and with a gracious social culture not without its joys.
Content from External Source
And here is the entire article. I've highlighted various key sections:


THE COUNTRY SCHOOL OF TO-MORROW
IN WHICH YOUNG AND OLD WILL BE TAUGHT IN PRACTICABLE WAYS
HOW TO MAKE RURAL LITE BEAUTIFUL, INTELLIGENT,
FRUITFUL, RECREATIVE, HEALTHFUL, AND JOYOUS
BY
FREDERICK T. GATES
(CHAIRMAN Of THE CENTRAL EDUCATION BOARD)

THROWN on a screen at a recent conference on rural life was a series of photographs of country school houses in various states, taken by superintendents of rural schools. A few were neatly constructed and about them were pleasant grounds. The larger number were small, one-roomed structures set on pegs, weather-blackened, window-smashed, often with wrecked entrance steps and lockless door; for chimney, a length of stove-pipe thrust through side or back; for furniture, a perpendicular combination of bench and desk, well-fitted to be an engine of torture. Improvement of the grounds had rarely been conceived. On the contrary, the original picturesqueness of wild nature had been defaced and belittered. From November onward, for three to seven months, somewhat less than one half of the school population of the district may be found there, usually taught by a young girl, often a last year's older pupil of this or a neighboring school. Enter, and you shall see her painfully teaching her class to read sentences of English, quite likely as one would pronounce the successive words in the perpendicular columns of a spelling book. Such in the main, we were told, are very many of the rural district schools of the South, and similar are many in the Northern States. Continuing the series of pictures, the inspectors and physicians of the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission came forward. They had caught the schools in session, and photographed teacher and pupils, grouped in front of the school house. In some instances all, teacher and pupils alike, were suffering from hookworm disease. Their emaciated, misshapen, or bloated bodies, their sad, pale listless, hopeless faces, marked with habitual suffering, faces which no art could charm into a smile that would not be ghastly, told the story of disease and neglect. There are well nigh or quite two million of these children in the South, between six and sixteen years of age, weighed down, arrested, and stunted physically and mentally by this disease, many thousands each year finding relief from it in death. This number must be multiplied by the indirect toll of increased fatality in other diseases, traceable solely to this complication. Sixty thousand people, most of them children, have already been treated in North Carolina alone, and the work has been conducted systematically in a few counties only. Here is a word picture drawn by one of the State Superintendents of the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission, of the crowds, often numbering several hundreds, which throng his improvised dispensaries:

"The people come from far and near, from all stations in life. They come on trains, by boat, in wagons, carts, and buggies. Many come on foot from ten to twenty miles. Some, too weak to make the journey and falling by the wayside, are picked up by passing vehicles and brought in. Some, unable to stand or sit, are brought in on stretchers. The results following the treatment are indeed marvelous. A gain in weight of a pound a day is common. To see the crowds, to witness their transformation from invalidism, wasted ambition, and poverty, to health, happiness, activity, and prosperity, brings to one's mind the miracles of the New Testament, and the healing of the multitudes."

The inspectors not confining their work to hookworm disease, have given all the children in many schools a general physical examination. They report 43 to 63 per cent. of the children defective and more or less disabled from other preventable and curable ailments.

MISERIES OF RURAL LIFE

The Farm Demonstrators of the General Education Board, of which there are several hundreds in the South, complete the series of pictures of rural life in the more neglected sections — of worn out soil, inefficient cultivation, scanty crop, abandoned field overgrown with bushes, deeply washed and gullied hillside, rotten orchard, sprawling fence, tumble-down houses, with unkempt and littered surroundings. The picture is emphasized by contrast. Growing side by side were shown in the same picture on one hand the thin, scant, meagre crop of the one-mule farmer, and the rich, luxuriant, bountiful harvest of the farm demonstrator, in the same field.

Such are the pictures too often found among our everywhere neglected rural folk — among people of our own land, of our own blood, of Anglo-Saxon lineage and intelligence. To me they tell a story unmatched in pathos, resistless in appeal. No one can look on scenes like these and turn lightly away. One is bound to pause and to muse while the fire burns. For this condition of things exists to-day and now, in spite of the fact that, for decade after decade, these people have enjoyed the advantages of a common school system, of county and state superintendents of public instruction, of normal schools, of high schools in all the centres, of Christian colleges founded by denominational zeal, of state universities supported by taxation, the whole supplemented by agricultural and mechanical colleges founded by the United States Government. Also, from the viewpoint of rigidly orthodox Puritan Christianity, these communities have been made Christian statistically in larger percentage than any other equal portion of mankind.

Here, then, is a vast, various, costly educational system of a Christian people, unrelated directly or in any effective way even indirectly to the earthly life and needs of those for whom it exists and by whose sacrifices it is, in the main, supported — a putting asunder of what God hath joined together, disastrous alike to both. Here are shepherds and there are sheep, suffering from hunger, devoured and torn by wolves, and neither knows the other. Can shepherds and sheep be brought together in mutual love and service?

A VISION OF THE REMEDY

Is there aught of remedy for this neglect of rural life? Let us, at least, yield ourselves to the gratifications of a beautiful dream that there is. In our dream, we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science. We are not to raise up from among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply. We are to follow the admonitions of the good apostle, who said, "Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low degree." And generally, with respect to these high things, all that we shall try to do is just to create presently about these country homes an atmosphere and conditions such, that, if by chance a child of genius should spring up from the soil, that genius will surely bud and not be blighted. Putting, therefore, all high things quite behind us, we turn with a sense of freedom and delight to the simple, lowly, needful things that promise well for rural life. For the task that we set before ourselves is a very simple as well as a very beautiful one : to train these people as we find them for a perfectly ideal life just where they are — yes, ideal, for we shall allow ourselves to be extravagant since we are only dreaming; call it idyllic, if you like — an idyllic life under the skies and within the horizon, however narrow, where they first open their eyes. We are to try to make that life, just where it is, healthful, intelligent, efficient, to fill it with thought and purpose, and with a gracious social culture not without its joys.

EVERY INDUSTRY IN A CURRICULUM

Let us take, for illustration, as the rural school unit, a territory or township perhaps six miles square, thirty-six square miles, containing some twenty-five thousand acres and at present one hundred and fifty families or more. We shall need a group of school buildings, and these we will place as near the centre as possible and for the more distant pupils arrange daily conveyance in groups. We shall need very ample grounds, many acres. We will return to this, for just now we prefer to conceive our school grounds in the ultimate purpose of our work as embracing the entire township, since our school in its aim includes everybody, old as well as young; it is to be in session all the year round, and everyone shall have something yet to learn always before him. Every industry in the district finds place in our curriculum. Every kitchen, barn, dairy, shop, is a laboratory for our school. The growing crops, the orchards, the vineyards, the gardens, the forests, the streams, the domestic animals, nay, even the tools of every farm, are part of our scientific equipment. The horizon forms the walls of our museum of natural history and the sky its roof, and all the life within is material and specimen for our study.

HEALTH THE FIRST LESSON

Our first plans shall be for health, as the basis of all well being and well doing. We shall ferret out the local causes of ill health in the family and in the community, also in plant and animal life. We shall call to our aid, of course, the experts, from the chemical and agricultural colleges and universities, our schools of forestry and of veterinary medicine. They shall examine and report. They shall lecture and demonstrate before us and be in constant correspondence with us. We shall submit to them our too difficult problems and they shall solve them for us.

Closely associated with health is the daily supply of food. "I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat." It should be sufficiently varied, regularly provided, suitably and appetizingly cooked. Every girl and every boy shall be taught what to eat, how to eat, and how to cook. At least three times a day throughout his life, every one of us must eat, and the question of healthful and nutritious diet is perhaps the most important single question in life. Nor lives the man to whom this very thing is not by Providence designed to be no inconsiderable part of his daily satisfactions. The dear old lady came much nearer the heart of things than many a divinity professor when, being about to pass to her reward and her pastor asking her which of the divine mercies she felt, at such a time, to have been most precious, she replied, "Well, I have always enjoyed my victuals."

Then comes the question of shelter. "I was a stranger and ye took Me in." We shall teach all that it is necessary to know about the sanitation of a home, from cellar to garret, the need of spotless cleanliness within it, of neatness, taste, and beauty about it. We shall show the value of ventilation, light, warmth and the best methods of securing them. We shall study the question of dramage, sewerage, the disposal of waste, the water supply, infection, its source and prevention. We shall plan model kitchens and model sanitary arrangements, model rural homes. We shall render the home and all its surroundings tasteful, comfortable, and healthful.

The matter of clothing shall not be neglected. "Naked, and ye clothed Me." We shall study cloth, its methods of manufacture, tests of its quality. Every person shall be able to distinguish between the spurious and the genuine and to calculate economy in clothing to a nicety. Every girl shall be taught to cut, fit, and make with her own hands the ordinary clothing of the family. The matter of sanitary clothing is not unimportant. We call to mind that, for a century past, one Titanic, at the least, full of children, with some adults, has gone down every month in the South, for lack of knowledge of a few simple facts about the hygiene of rural homes and their surroundings, and for lack of proper clothing for the feet of the children. Our work on hygiene shall be very thorough, penetrative and persistent, North as well as South. We shall have periodic examinations of all the members of our school by qualified experts. We shall teach the hygiene of the various members of the body, the hygiene of the eye, the teeth, the digestive system, the hygiene of sex, of marriage, of infancy, of age. "I was sick, and ye visited Me."

LESSONS IN FARMING

So much for health, for food, for clothing, and for shelter. But rich delights still remain to us. We have only as yet laid the foundations. We are now prepared to teach these children to conquer and to harness nature within their horizon to their service and to the service of the world. The farm demonstrators of the General Education Board in the South are securing on demonstration farms in each state about double the average yield of cotton per acre. Their knowledge of seed selection and cotton culture, if universally applied, would double the cotton crop and bring to the cotton raiser at the very least $240,000,000 added profits annually.

One remarks in passing that this possible increase of $240,000,000 net profit on cotton alone in one year is perhaps four times the entire money value of all the property which all the institutions of higher learning in the cotton belt have amassed in two generations, so complete is their isolation from the life and interests of the people.

The corn clubs of the General Education Board are demonstrating throughout the South that from two to five times the present annual yield per acre may be won from the soil. The same is possible of potatoes. The canning clubs of the same Board are showing profits of from $100 to $250 per acre for the girls of the family. It is very certain that scientific farming, conducted as a business, will multiply the annual net profits of the Southern farmer by at least four. It was a Southern state — North Carolina — that won at the Paris Exposition the first prize for the best apples in the world. In our dream, every horizon, from Virginia to Texas and from Maine to California, shall be studied with regard to its possibilities, both in abundance and variety of products; and similar climates and soils the world over, including the Orient, shall be explored and ransacked for adapted fruits, vegetables, grasses, cereals of value.

We are perhaps ready now to go back to our central school, with its very ample grounds. Ample they will need to be, for the school itself is to be, within the limits of child life, a microcosm of the life of the whole community. Not, indeed, of the life of the community as it is, for the adult population for a time will lag far behind the children. Our school shall be a picture in little of the community as it is to be, in what we called its ideal, its idyllic life. The children themselves shall form a community, with allotments and employments, a common social and perhaps a common manufacturing and commercial life of their own, on these ample grounds. They shall perform for themselves, under the guidance of skilled instructors, those agricultural operations as arts which the best science of agriculture shall prescribe. They shall all be demonstrators of the highest achievable results in field, garden, kitchen, sewing room, orchard, vineyard, pasture, dairy, lawn, and meadow, not forgetful of the flowers and of the beauty of the landscape.

TEACHING WHAT CHILDREN WANT TO KNOW

As for the school house, we cannot now even plan the building, or rather, group of buildings. Quite likely we would not recognize the future group if the plan were put before us to-day, so different will it be from the traditional school house. For of one thing we may be sure : Our schools will no longer resemble, in their methods and their discipline, institutions of penal servitude. They will not be, as now, places of forced confinement, accompanied by physical and mental torture during six hours of the day. Straitjackets, now called educational, will no longer thwart and stifle the physical and mental activities of the child. We shall, on the contrary, take the child from the hand of God, the crown and glory of His creative work, by Him pronounced good, and by Jesus blessed. We shall seize the restless activities of his body and mind and, instead of repressing them, we shall stimulate those activities, as the natural forces of growth in action. We shall seek to learn the instincts of the child and reverently to follow and obey them as guides in his development; for those instincts are the Voice of God within him, teaching us the direction of his unfolding. We will harness the natural activities of the child to his natural aspirations, and guide and help him in their realization. The child naturally wishes to do the things that adults do, and therefore the operations of adult life form the imitative plays of the child. The child lives in a dreamland, full of glowing hopes of the future, and seeks anticipatively to live to-day the life of his manhood.
So we will organize our children into a little community and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way, in the home, in the shop, on the farm. We shall train the child for the life before him by methods which reach the perfection of their adaptation only when the child shall not be able to distinguish between the pleasures of his school work and the pleasures of bis play.

NO MORE BRANDING WITH THREE R'S

But how about the three R's? The moment we cease to pursue v the three R's as abstract ends, disassociated with anything which the child has experienced, and bring them forward only when and as the child needs to use them in his business, he will pick them up as readily as ball and bat. We are under no extreme necessity of penning children in a room and chaining them to a bench and there branding the three R's upon them. The difficulties of school life, disciplinary and otherwise, are of the teacher's making. They belong to a false method that has become traditional. How do we teach children to use carpenter's tools, for illustration? By studying pictures of these tools in books or by putting the tools themselves into the hands of the children, with material to work upon, and things to make? Precisely so with the three R's. They are nothing in the world but tools. Give them to the children as tools that they now need in something definitely put before them, and they will learn to use them easily and naturally.

THE SCHOOL A COOPERATIVE DEMOCRACY

But the life is more than meat, as the body is more than raiment. It is in the souls of the children that our purpose rests. Nature studies shall acquaint every child with all that he can take in of that portion of nature which lies about him, in the waters below him, in the clouds and skies above him. The children shall learn the names of all the trees, their leaves, the peculiarities of their branching, their methods of growth, their value and use; the names also of all the wild birds, their songs and their habits. Curiosity shall be aroused about the mysteries in the waters, in the fields, and in the forests. Insect life not less than plant life shall disclose wondrous secrets to their eager eyes, so that the minds of the children shall be filled with interesting themes of thought, and their glance, wherever it falls, shall beam with intelligence and inquiry. So the children shall be kept from torpor and vacancy of mind. The breath of life shall be breathed into their clay, and they shall at last become living souls.

Ruskin has somewhere said that education does not consist in teaching people to know what they do not know, but in teaching them to behave as they do not behave mentally, morally, physically, socially. In our little microcosm of life, the children shall form an ideal society. Their life shall be developed and perfected individually through a close-knit social life. The child shall not be riveted to his separate spot; he shall not be forbidden to speak or to whisper; he shall not be warned not to afford help to any unfortunate near by; the instinct to render first aid to the injured, so to speak, shall not be repressed. Far from that, the first social principle of our school shall be to encourage the children to aid each other as freely as possible. Indeed, much of the teaching will be done under supervision by means of mutual assistance of the pupils. Doubtless the pupil groups will have their own pupil captains, as they have their baseball captains. This free social life of the children during all the hours of the school, conducted mainly out of doors, will form an ideal laboratory of manners and of character, affording opportunity for the sweetest social culture, courtesy, helpfulness, gentleness, deference, truth, reverence, honor, chivalry. These virtues shall form the breath and atmosphere of our child community.

THE ART OF RECREATION

A new science or a new art, just now in process, perhaps not yet come to self-consciousness, shall be fully developed for our schools — the art of recreation for young and old, for all pursuits, for all seasons, for both sexes, indoors, out of doors. Some sweet, healthful, happy, adapted recreation shall enter into the programme, not occasionally, but every day, for young and old alike. Ultimately, there will be professors of popular recreation. They shall be sent to us from the colleges, to teach us all the ways of relief from strain and tedium, precisely adapted. And all together we shall have our weekly half holiday for community recreations.

Beauty, too, we shall cultivate no less than recreation. It is delightful to know that the sense of beauty in sight and sound is instinctive in mankind, ineradicable, fundamental as hunger. Deeper than intelligence it lies in our physical being, and runs down from mankind through many orders to the very insects. The sense of beauty in our rural children, as yet almost uncultivated and undeveloped, is a promising field of joy and blessedness. Accordingly, there shall be music, vocal and instrumental. We shall have an orchestra, if possible a band, a chorus — and dancing shall be taught in utmost grace of movement, beginning with the littlest children, singly and in groups. The laws of beauty are indeed little known as yet, but scenes of beauty shall everywhere be pointed out and analyzed and dwelt upon to the full, and the art of drawing them shall be offered to all, as a means of close observation, of analysis, and of more perfect recognition and enjoyment of beauty.

So we have brought our little community at last to art and refinement. Such a people will demand literature and a library of their own. And when they begin to select and to read good books for themselves, our particular task will be done. We may leave them then, I think, to their natural local leaders. We have taught them how to live the life of the farm, of the fireside, of the rural community, to make it healthful, intelligent, efficient, productive, social, and no longer isolated. We have wakened sluggishness to interest and inquiry. We have given the mind, in the intelligent conduct of the daily vocation, in the study and enjoyment of nature, material for some of the joys of the intellectual life. We have trained the eye for beauty, the ear for harmony, the soul for gentleness and courtesy, and made possible to these least of Christ's brethren the life of love and joy and admiration. We have made country life more desirable than city life and raised up in the country the natural aristocracy of the nation.

Such is our dream. Must it be altogether a dream? Surely, it ought to be and, therefore, will be, realized, if not in its processes — and I have described processes at all mainly for pictorial effect — certainly in its results. If it be an achievement beyond our present civilization, then our more enlightened and capable children will certainly accomplish it. Come, in the end, it must and will.

But the cost? The cost in money will be limited; the gain in money will be limitless. The farm demonstrations of scientific agriculture in the South are showing average gains of $13 to $33 per acre on soil cultivated by demonstration methods. The farmers themselves, therefore, could well afford in the end to pay the expense. The railroads alone could do it, out of their increased traffic created thereby. A selected group of manufacturers,
another group of exporters and importers, another group of wholesale merchants, another of retail merchants, could each afford to pay the whole expense, as a commercial investment for profit. And so the state, by general taxation of land, industry, trade, and commerce (for all would be alike benefited) could well afford to foot the bill; or the group of states forming the nation could individually pay.


UTILIZING THE COLLEGE-BRED YOUTH

We shall have to look to our colleges and universities to furnish teachers. We have elaborate and effective apparatus, worked with fervid zeal, for the world-wide extension of our civilization. Also, for the extension downward of the blessings of civilization through the masses of our own people, we have powerful, costly, and effective apparatus, educational and religious, all being run with much acclaim. But the machine, as we have seen, seems to be running on the reverse gears. Instead of carrying the fruits of civilization downward to the homes of the people, the system as now run is accurately adjusted to take out of the homes of the people a few of the choicer youths, to civilize these and to carry them to the top, there to group and cohere as social cream. Thus, the common school is adapted to select pupils for the high school. The high school is adjusted to select and send up annually to the college a quota of students prepared in the fourteen units required for college entrance by the Carnegie pension system. The college, in turn, finds its ends in the sheepskin and the cap and gown.

The ancient scribes of Jerusalem likewise, not a religious order like the Pharisees, were a learned order. They were graduates of one or the other of the two ancient seats of learning at Jerusalem, founded in the days of Nehemiah. Their long robes were, in fact, the academic gown — then, as now, the badge of learning. Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in academic gowns and receive salutations in the marketplaces and the chief places in the synagogue and the first places at social functions. Their learning, their doctors' degrees, their academic gowns, find their end in livelihood, in personal distinction, in social advancement, and not in the enrichment and uplift of the common life. Such was Christ's criticism of the formal learning of his day. The usefulness of the college too often ends quite precisely when and where it ought to begin. The shepherds are trained, but the sheep go shepherdless. When the spirit of education shall be changed, as it will be, then the direction in which the machine works will be reversed, and the colleges will studiously employ themselves in carrying civilization with all its blessings downward to the people on the soil. If schools of rural life spring up in numbers, the colleges will not be slow to adopt them and to nourish them with all that is best and most helpful from their ample store. Our leading educators are eager to escape from outworn traditions, in which they are enmeshed. The college campus will extend to the boundary line of the state, so as to include all its industries, its farms and its households. Some changes there will be, perhaps, in the curriculum, some additions, quite likely in the direction of applied science, some transfers of emphasis, no lowering, but rather full high advancing of standards of scholarship, culture, discipline, research, because all will be dedicated to high and rewarding ends.

In the state of Wisconsin, now perhaps the best governed of all our states, the University writes the laws that go on the statute books, University professors guide and control the main departments of state administration and inquiry; there is no limit to the financial resources which a grateful people are placing at the disposal of learning, thus consecrated to the service of the commonwealth. Our more ancient seats of learning pride themselves justly on their antiquity, on their dignity, on the reverence in which they are held, on the great names that have been and are associated with them. But it is yet theirs to reign over empires now undreamed; to inherit a kingdom that has awaited them from the foundation of the world; to write the laws of obedient states; to know the love of a reverent, grateful, and generous people; to

"Scatter plenty o'er a smiling land
And read their history in a nation's eyes."
Content from External Source
In summary, the key points are that country schools are in a terrible state. Gates recommends education that is initially tailored to the immediate problems of the rural poor - specifically health, food, clothing, shelter. He note the current system with it's blind emphasis on rote learning of the thee Rs is not working. He notes that better educated people is better for the economy, and suggests this is justification to raise taxes to pay for public education.

But I think the most telling quote that answers the Thrive accusations is:

So we have brought our little community at last to art and refinement. Such a people will demand literature and a library of their own. And when they begin to select and to read good books for themselves, our particular task will be done. We may leave them then, I think, to their natural local leaders. We have taught them how to live the life of the farm, of the fireside, of the rural community, to make it healthful, intelligent, efficient, productive, social, and no longer isolated. We have wakened sluggishness to interest and inquiry. We have given the mind, in the intelligent conduct of the daily vocation, in the study and enjoyment of nature, material for some of the joys of the intellectual life. We have trained the eye for beauty, the ear for harmony, the soul for gentleness and courtesy, and made possible to these least of Christ's brethren the life of love and joy and admiration. We have made country life more desirable than city life and raised up in the country the natural aristocracy of the nation.
Content from External Source
This does not, I think, gel in any way with the claims of Thrive:
[bunk]The General Education Board was not interested in encouraging critical thinking. Rather, its focus was on organizing children and creating reliable, predictable, obedient citizens.[/bunk]

It seems more, at least for Gates, the goal was to raise up the rural poor, especially in the South from their miasma of abject poverty and crippling ill health, to fix an education system that did nothing to address those problems, and get them to a place where they could actually think for themselves.
 

Badnews Bear

New Member
Thanks for the post. Strange thing is that the current Gates Education philanthropy encourages many of the things Frederick T. Gates was trying to get away from.

Our schools will no longer resemble, in their methods and their discipline, institutions of penal servitude. They will not be, as now, places of forced confinement, accompanied by physical and mental torture during six hours of the day. Straitjackets, now called educational, will no longer thwart and stifle the physical and mental activities of the child.

The NCLB/Common Core public schools and the KIPP type charter schools serve this kind of thing up in spades, only now the bullies do the physical torture, not the staff.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Do you have any evidence that the bullies are being supported by the 'system' in any way? Or are they just the common bullies that have always been in our schools?

How does Common Core contradict that ?
 

Badnews Bear

New Member
I just threw the bully thing in as an afterthought to show we have ended up back where we started, and didn't mean it as an accusation that it was deliberate systematic discipline. I supect bullying is a bigger problem since the rise of large factory type schools.

Common Core will be penal for many by influencing the system into a one size fits all model of education, which will be a straightjacket for some people. I do admit there are some things that it would be good to teach everyone, but there are not enough of them to base a 13 year curriculum on. Strange that the most important of these besides reading and basic math (economics and deep history) are precisely the things our present system avoids like the plague.

Common Core may work to keep the industrial testing complex of NCLB more firmly entrenched in the system, and while it says it will encourage critical thinking, I suspect it will only be a very narrow range of free thought. But that remains to be seen.

Edit: come to think of it I wouldn't make everyone learn economics and deep history in k-12, if it was made available and done well many would take it. But I would make k-12 into k-9
 
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Cairenn

Senior Member.
Am I understanding you correctly, That you don't think there is enough things that a person needs to know to take up 12-13 years of school?
 

Badnews Bear

New Member
A person needs to keep finding things to know for their whole life, so rather than concentrating on the 'what' to know, more emphasis should be given on the 'how'. This would require more attention from teachers toward individual students, but with the huge US education budget it could probably be done quite well. I don't know what they do with the money, burn it to heat the schools?

Edit, to put what I just said in practice, I am interested in education and fairly savvy about it, but I see now that my lack of knowledge in economics is holding me back in my exploration of education.

So by paying attention to 'how' I am being held back by what I lack, I learn 'what' I need to learn.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
We need more education, not less. Folks need history that is not basically only England based. They need courses in Latin American History, Asian history, European history and African history. They need a history or trade and the development of business. Then need a firm grounding in the science, biology, microbiology, geology, chemistry, physics, and some knowledge of oceanography, meteorology and environmental science.

Cultural anthropology is needed, we need to know that others have a different set of influences on their thinking, from religion to being colonies, to being invaded. Even a light study of Russian history will show one why they tend to be paranoid.

There needs to be entire courses on how to use the internet and how to judge sources you find there. Courses in what to look for in a 'science study' so you can tell if it is worth considering or just a waste of electricity .
 

Badnews Bear

New Member
They need courses in Latin American History, Asian history, European history and African history. They need a history or trade and the development of business. Then need a firm grounding in the science, biology, microbiology, geology, chemistry, physics, and some knowledge of oceanography, meteorology and environmental science.

Most people don't have the memory capacity/detail for a 'firm grounding' of such broadness. Where we both agree is in the need for a firm grounding.


According to Joshua Foer—author, journalist, and U.S. National Memory Champion—we are currently faced with an epidemic. The plague of our time is versatile, universal, and seeps into every aspect of our daily lives. It is the curse of amnesia, born and fostered from a culture that has evolved to support laziness of the mind. He depicts forgetting not as the sickness, but as a symptom of trying to consume too much too quickly without time to absorb. - See more at: http://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/20...purpose-at-campbell-hall#sthash.PMhMvb92.dpuf
Content from External Source

We enunciate two educational commandments, "Do not teach too many subjects," and again, "What you teach, teach thoroughly." The result of teaching small parts of a large number of subjects is the passive reception of disconnected ideas, not illumined with any spark of vitality. Let the main ideas which are introduced into a child's education be few and important:. and let them be thrown into every combination possible. The child should make them his own, and should understand their application here and now in the circumstances of his actual life.
Content from External Source
Alfred North Whitehead, The Aims of Education p14
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
The problem I have often seen is that it easier to teach dates, rather than why they are important. The Civil War is taught, as a series of battles, instead of what lead up to it. What happened during the battles is important, because it did effect how folks responded afterward.

All Common Core is trying to do, is to guarantee that a student in Cut and Shoot, TX gets the same basics as one does in the Bronx, or in Walla Walla. There is a good chance that any of the students, may end up job hunting in Denver or Tallahassee, their future employers need to know that a HS diploma or GED will include how to figure the sq footage of a room or yard, for instance.

I understand the reasons for testing, but I don't like that children are being taught to the 'test'. That problem is one that has been there before Common Core. In the early 60s, one of the assistant superintendents of the school district, gave my 5th grade class a 'special project'. We were to do a one month project on India. Different students/groups researched certain areas, I did the animals and minerals of India. India has been an interest of mine ever since.
 

francescocrispi

New Member
Try to do all the common core is to ensure that students in the cut and shoot, Texas have the same knowledge base in the Bronx or in Walla Walla, WA. There is a good chance that each student could end up in Denver or Tallahassee job you need to know that their future employers, HS Diploma or GED include how to calculate the space on the screen, such as a room or terrace.
 
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