EDUCATION AND THE RISE OF THE CORPORATE STATE by Joel H. Spring

EDUCATION AND THE RISE OF THE CORPORATE STATE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A challenging attempt to align the aims of American public education with the ideology of turn-of-the-century Progressivism. Spring, Professor of Education at Case Western Reserve University, goes well beyond Cremin in arguing that under the aegis of Dewey and Colin Scott classroom organization -- with its new emphasis on social cooperation, group work, assemblies and ""projects"" -- mirrored the corporate state which needed a ""trained"" and ""disciplined"" work force to carry out institutionally defined goals. Spring contends that the great liberal rallying cry of ""meeting the needs of individuals"" was a hoax which in practice meant only the development of specialized talents subordinated to ""the organization."" Increasingly appropriating the social training roles of family and church, the early 20th century public school multiplied its functions via extracurricular activities (athletic teams, dances, health programs and vocational guidance programs) -- all the better to assert the school's growing control over the social and psychic life of pupils. Recently, with the advent of computers, systems analysis and behavioral psychology, Spring feels that the possibilities for student manipulation have enormously expanded; the school by setting ""socially acceptable goals"" has undermined and alienated ""man's ability to create his own social being."" Spring, who is not an ameliorist, suggests that short of destroying the school as presently constituted there is no remedy: ""social adaptation"" to increasingly impersonal value-systems and technological imperatives will remain its paramount goal. Primarily an essay in intellectual history, Spring's book deliberately neglects empirical data and offers no concrete proposals. Nonetheless a provocative look behind the apparently ""permissive"" and ""democratic"" classroom.

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 1972
Publisher: Beacon