Who does school serve?

Public or private, mass education is a funny thing. For the majority of human history, there hasn’t been any form I education, except for learned habits from groups and older members who did what they did because it worked and lead to their survival. And this hasn’t gone away, as we still learn our language, and many habits from our parents and those around us as we grow up. But as civilization began to grow, so did accumulated knowledge and education, though it wasn’t for the masses, it was for the best of us. The richest. The religious. As we grew even more, societies became industrialized, and with industrialization and mass production, came the streamlined process of mass education. Many people, myself included when this question was first asked, explained mass education as benefiting democracy. I was willing to argue that many first world nations provided mass education as a natural right. That the government serves the people and that it would benefit from a well informed, educate voter. And although education is a something every human should have access to and be able to do, forming a well rounded population and a more educated and informed electorate may not be the true motive and benefit. Our electorate is exceedingly uniformed, and the nation didn’t start with mass education, the founding fathers actually believing it wasn’t for everyone and designed the government in a way that supports an uneducated population. That’s the reason we’re a republic, and not a democracy. To find the reason we have mass education, it’s necessary to realize when it started. After that, the link between industrialization and mass education isn’t a far jump. In some sense not only do they operate in the same way, but as _____ pointed out, the purpose of mass education is to serve the industry, and benefitted corporations.

 

Some very left groups have even gone as far as to say that America has become a plutocracy or an oligarchy (a small group of the wealthy control the country, which now works for the corporations). I hesitate to join in with this train of thought because it can lead down a dangerous road, and very well could be an over exaggeration. But probably the surest tell, if this is happening, would be the schools serving the industry instead of the people. Just like the schools North Korea serve the government.

 

The majority of the children street laborers in Guatemala don’t go to school, and because of this, many don’t even have an elementary school diploma. Instead, they work on the streets, and anthropologist Thomas Offit found and explained in his book Conquistadors de la Calle, they find the skills they learn on the street pay of much more then wheat they were leaning in school. They instead learn how to work with others, make a sale, make connections to get “real” jobs. They learn first hand about supply and demand, how business is about location, and where the target crowd for what they’re selling is. In school, they’d learn how to behave, raise their hand, and be treated like children. But in the streets, they’re treated more like adults. If you treat people maturely and with respect, let them make their own decisions, then they’ll generally act maturely and reply respectfully. If you let them take up responsibility and make decisions, then they’ll and act like adults.

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