Tuesday, June 05, 2012

"Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World"

"In 1819 the king of Prussia established a universal compulsory school system with the goal of producing dutiful children who would follow orders and later become winning soldiers. This strategy worked, at least initially. Over the next five or so decades, Prussia became a leading industrial and military power, due largely to an efficient, although uninspired, workforce. Prussia became the object of world envy, with governments sending representatives overseas to study what it was doing right. Horace Mann, one of the most influential leaders in American education, was among those summoned to Prussia; he returned raving about how Prussia's disciplined school system could be useful in America to cure social ills, tame the Wild West, and provide quality workers. Not surprisingly, American industrial leaders embraced the concept of a system that would provide colonies of compliant worker bees to labor in factories and on railroads. In the words of Hartmann, "So began the dumbing down of America.

As we know, Germany, model for the American education system, was paying a price for its short-sighted educational priorities. The same system that produced meek, compliant children also produced meek, compliant adults so desperate for leadership that they embraced the fanaticism of Adolf Hitler. They were wired from childhood to look the other way when faced with the horror of the Holocaust. Germany's defeat was caused by the "tricks of schoolmasters." And theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer claims that the defeat of the German army in World War II was the "inevitable product" of the German educational system."

Freed, Jeffrey & Laurie Parsons. 'The Collision Between Left-Brained Schools and Right-Brained Kids', Right-brained children in a left-brained world. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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