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Principles of Secondary Education

In the book written by Alex I. Inglis, Principles of secondary education, we get a rough idea of what education is really about. Was the compulsory education system designed to educate children, or was it merely a tool of the elite to control the masses? Here are six ideas from the book:

1. The adjustive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. This, of course preludes critical judgement completely. It also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can’t test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.

2. The integrating function. This might well be called “the conformity function,”  because its intention is to make children alike as possible. People who conform are predictable, and this is of great use to those who wish to harness and manipulate a large labor force.

3. The diagnostical directive function. School is meant to determine each student’s proper role. This is done by logging evidence mathematically and anecdotally on cumulative records. As in “your permanent record.”

4. The differentiating function. Once their role has been “diagnosed,” children are sorted out by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits — and not one step further.

5. The selective function. This refers not to a human choice at all but to Darwin’s theory of natural selection as applied to what he called “the favored races.” In short, the idea is to help things along by consciously attempting to improve the breeding stock. Schools are meant to tag the unfit — with poor grades, remedial placement, and other punishments — clearly enough that there peers will accept them as inferior and effictively bar them from the reproductive sweepstakes.

6. The propaedeutic function. The social system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor.

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