The Aim of Public Education

Wrote H. L. Mencken:

The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues, and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else…Their purpose, in brief, is to make docile and patriotic citizens, to pile up majorities, and to make John Doe and Richard Doe as nearly alike, in their everyday reactions and ways of thinking, as possible.

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2 responses to “The Aim of Public Education

  1. A few things:

    1. Right or wrong, Mencken is worth quoting, so good on you for putting this up.

    2. More importantly, how does public education make patriotic citizens?

    3. Mencken’s elsewhere comments on education, most notably his ideas on what makes for a good teacher (i.e. the example he draws from the writing instructors of his youth- long haired, ridiculous, yet passionate and moving), are worthy of consideration for Christian educators. Do we find our subjects fascinating? Do we volley around the room and call for passion, intrigue?

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