Phi Beta Cons

A Dissenter from the ‘More Education for Everyone!’ Idea

I recently came across the following:

By and large, until say, 1945, the expansion [of education] was fairly harmless. The underlying motives were noble, benevolent, or at worst foolish: a democratic ideal, the need to occupy the young increasingly excluded from the labor market, the quest for prestige. Certainly the affluent society cold afford keeping the kids in school. The academic types were probably not much hurt — smart kids can adjust to anything, except being debauched by base rewards. . . . Unfortunately, however, there came to be established the misconception that being in school was the only appropriate was of being educated. . . . Yet for the majority of adolescents academic routine is time-wasting, unreal, dispiriting, desexualizing and destructive of initiative; and it is resisted by the usual devices of sabotage, by “sub-culture” and — on the part of the highly intelligent — by “underachievement” for they do not want to “achieve” in this way.

. . .

The majority are being cruelly miseducated and hoaxed; they will not get jobs relevant to what they have been put through.

Okay. Who wrote that? Charles Murray, perhaps?

No. It was the renowned liberal Paul Goodman, in The New Republic, Oct. 5, 1963. You can read the whole piece here.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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