Tag Archives: education industrial complex

You May Have Missed the Corporate Takeover of Education…

Because it may well have happened a long time ago before you and I were born! From my reading of history it began in the early decades of the 20th century and was solidified by the development of the “education industrial complex” in the 1960s. Now in the early 21st century we see this corporate public education system finally showing signs of collapsing due to the weight of its bureaucracy, corruption, regimentation, and entrenched interests. And as a result we see all the business foundations desperately trying to revive and sustain it, and the many billion dollar business market it represents.

What happened in the early 20th century I lay out in my previous piece, “Education and the Cult of Efficiency”, based on a book by the same name written by Raymond Callahan and published in 1962. In his book Callahan documents how an educational “crisis” was fabricated at the turn of the 20th century for a range of reasons, starting with selling newspapers and magazines. Says Callahan…

The material achievements of industrial capitalism in the late nineteenth century were responsible for two developments which were to have a great affect on American society and education after 1900. One of these was the rise of business and industry to a position of prestige and influence, and America’s subsequent saturation with business-industrial values and practices. The other was the reform movement identified historically with Theodore Roosevelt and spearheaded by the muckraking journalists. (pg 1)

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Education and the Cult of Efficiency

This is the title of a book by Raymond Callahan first published in 1962, but brought to my attention in the suggested reading list in radical educator John Taylor Gatto‘s book, The Underground History of American Education. Callahan’s book focuses on the history of the public education system in the U.S. in the first three decades of the 20th century, and his premise that, the system was transformed into a business-industrial model which one could argue continues to this day. Perhaps we have seen a resurgence of that business-industrial model in recent decades with curriculum standardization, scripted teaching methodologies, high-stakes testing, the growth of and “education-industrial complex” and efforts to exert more external top-down control over teachers.

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Is Education an Obligation or a Right?

So in the United States, is education an obligation or a right? It was in a conversation about education this morning with my brother Peter that he formulated that very basic question. It was synchronistically what I had decided to write about today, but I had not framed the question so crisply.

It is really a poignant question because you can make a compelling argument that it is one, the other or both. I’m really wrestling with what “education” is all about and whose business is it anyway. In Wiktionary the definition is…

1-The process or art of imparting knowledge, skill and judgment
2-Facts, skills and ideas that have been learned, either formally or informally

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The Human Pursuit of Learning in the Education Industrial Complex

Following up on my piece yesterday that called out the “Education Industrial Complex”, I want to talk more about the impact of this hugely hierarchical and bureaucratic leviathan and its impact on the very personal, naturally self-initiated process of learning. These mega institutions that exercise such control over us rather than facilitating our own initiative (though well intentioned) I see as remnants of an ancient world view of external authority (which I call “Patriarchy”) that I see as an obstacle towards our human development in the direction of a a more evolved “Circle of Equals”.

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