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So the elemental nature of the school system explains why, in every modern country, vast public bureaucracies are created to administer, regulate, and monitor the creation of adults out of the raw material parents provide, this is, children. But, it still does not explain why there is such dissatisfaction with public school bureaucracies in so many places and times. A look at the complexity of the problem provides context.

Public schools hire a teacher corps, develop a curriculum, supervise those teachers, and ultimately evaluate whether the types of adults desired were produced. Schools do this by slowly but surely introducing the child to a broader world that goes far beyond the confines of the immediate family.

This introduction is done in a systematic fashion that creates an adult who then produces another child. This child, under ideal circumstances, repeats the process recreating a status quo. Or as Emile Durkheim , 71 said at the turn of the twentieth century: Education is the influence exercised by adult generations on those that are not yet ready for social life.

Its object is to arouse and to develop in the child a certain number of physical, intellectual and moral states which are demanded of him by both the political society as a whole and the special milieu for which he is specifically destined. This is a moral and emotional task. The bureaucracies humans create to educate children are by their nature unemotional and rational, even though the ties of humans to each other and their children are not rational but rooted in what Durkheim calls morality.

First, why is it that virtually every country invests so much in such a system rather than leaving education to parents? Second, why do most modern parents readily surrender this most emotion-laden relationship to a soulless, impersonal, and bureaucratic arm of the state? And finally, and perhaps more to the point, how has this system, despite so much dissatisfaction, nevertheless become routinely accepted and taken for granted?


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Education is part of this ideology in the same way that individual rights, egalitarianism, freedom, free markets, and self- determination are, and needs to be analyzed in the same fashion. This book provides a look at mass public education by evaluating the implications of this ideological commitment.

I do this by evaluating the process by which the state uses rational bureaucracies to intrude deeply into the socialization of children via universal public school systems. My primary example is the United States, but I think that the basic paradoxes underlying what is described here could be found in any other modern country. The factory did this by breaking the many tasks involved in the growing of fiber, spinning of thread, weaving of cloth, cutting of cloth, sewing of garments, transport of finished clothing, and finally, the marketing of fashion into hundreds of separate tasks.

Some of these tasks were done by humans, but as time passed, more and more of them were done by labor-saving machines, which, because they are not human, are easier to manage than the workers they replaced.

These tasks in turn were coordinated by a global marketplace, in which shareholders and their corporate bureaucracies produced profits for investors. The institution created to organize the corporations was the large, impersonal corporate bureaucracy in which tasks are divided up, hierarchies created, and rules developed to ensure that reason and science maximize production and profits. Such a bureaucracy of course abhors emotional human qualities that are unpredictable and unsuited to scientific bureaucratic management and the production of clothing. The bureaucracy in turn is held accountable by shareholders who assiduously watch the bottom line of financial profits.

Also in the late nineteenth century, the other organizer of complex tasks, the government, quickly adapted the bureaucratic model to organize its duties, such as the processing of legal cases, administration of foreign affairs, development of national defense, and organization of the emerging welfare state.

They used the same organizational principle, i. Nevertheless, despite the focus on tasks that are not easily rationalized as profitable, these bureaucracies still took advantage of reason and science to organize their tasks, while abhorring the unpredictability of human interaction and emotion to structure what they did.

In the United States, this happened between about and as business leaders and professional educational psychologists took an interest in schooling as a way to create a new army of disciplined industrial workers see Cuban But in the case of the schools as well as other government bureaucracies , this created an inherent paradox. The paradox is that a large hierarchical and inhuman bureaucracy, designed with reason and science, intruded into the sentimental and emotional relationship between a parent and child.

Unpredictable human interaction is inherent to the operation of schools in ways that it is not in, say, a tire factory. As in corporate bureaucracies, sentiment and emotion were pushed aside in the new schools serving the masses of urban children in particular. This was particularly the case for the early twentieth century people financing a new system of mass education and the educational psychologists interested in developing curriculum consistent with their scientifically derived understandings, which were so successful in modern factories.

In this context, by the schools were asked to generate test scores and other statistical measures of how they are doing; it was assumed that just as the corporate bureaucracy must point to profits, and other government bureaucracies report success, so should schools point to test scores. All they had to ignore were the feelings parents, teachers, and society indeed have for their children.

Because the schools are a bureaucracy, the rationalization of inputs and outputs is seemingly straightforward. You put in cash and children, and after 12—13 years society receives fully formed tax-paying adults in exchange. Of course it is not that easy because children—and adults—are not just a product like a bolt of cloth produced during the Industrial Revolution, but are, well, children.

And children typically have parents, and indeed often themselves eventually become parents. And most importantly, the parent- child relationship is one of the most inherently emotional. Thus by definition, such a relationship is difficult to manage in a scientific, rational, and unemotional fashion. The evaluative language of education as a result reflects that of science and business: Accountability and evidence are emphasized in assessing program effectiveness. As a result, evaluation of schools reflects the same economic reasoning that consumers use at Home Depot to compare lawn mowers.

What Kozol is in effect doing is pointing out the paradox: Even though public school teachers are employees of a massive rationalized bureaucracy, which utilizes business principles to organize themselves, their task is one of tending to those people—i.

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When they arrive at five years old, they are typically illiterate, innumerate, cannot locate themselves in the national order, and believe in the tooth fairy. Thirteen years later, virtually all are literate, some can do calculus, and others volunteer to preserve an abstract national order in the military. The few who believe in the tooth fairy are likely to justify their faith with the philosophical reference to Western traditions, and few of them ever leak tears, at least in public. Most importantly, perhaps, as a group, they have come to docilely accept that the moral order is good, and that they too, will reproduce it, completing again that kitschy circle of life described by both Durkheim and The Lion King.

Such is a mark of a successful school bureaucracy. The characteristics of the five- and six-year-old child, whom they receive, are the opposite of what the modern employer, university, or nation wants of citizens or adults. Child-development specialists describe the five year olds who schools accept as raw material in terms of psychological and social qualities: Their attention spans are short, eye-hand coordination clumsy, and vocabularies limited.

Tony Waters : Schooling, Childhood, And Bureaucracy: Bureaucratizing The Child

They are likely to break into song spontaneously and cry inappropriately. Their primary social relationships are with their family, and they do not have a concept of belonging to larger social groups, like the nation, company, or work group. Because they are impulsive, they do not know how to wait in line. They lose their temper easily, and are focused on immediate needs and goals. Many cannot tie their own shoes, button their own shirts, or learn when to wipe their noses.

Nor can they organize daily tasks without immediate and sustained supervision.

Schooling, Childhood, and Bureaucracy: Bureaucratizing the Child

This is the raw material that the public schools take and put through that to year process. At the end, the schools produce someone who retail stores and restaurants seek to put behind cash registers to patiently conduct tedious transactions for an eight-hour shift. Factories of course seek them out to operate the modern complex machinery of assembly lines. Universities and colleges are ready to train them further, and militaries are ready to recruit them. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that this process of creating adults, which is inherited from nineteenth-century factories, somehow works.

After all, the military, universities, and employers all routinely demand a high school diploma as the basic indicator of adult competency. They even demand this qualification before all others. In seeking to rationalize their tasks, Weber writes that bureaucracies become efficient by creating and following written rulebooks, procedures, laws, and so forth, which inherently simplify the real world. They measure success by calculating profits and seek to do so in a predictable fashion. In doing this, bureaucracies seek to control parameters that are otherwise unpredictable and uncontrollable.

Ingredients and procedures that do not fit this model are simply discarded.

The impersonal bureaucracy ruthlessly eliminates actions that are contrary to its interests. School bureaucracies do this while creating adults who undertake a defined series of tasks, which any number of interchangeable persons can do competently. In this respect, they are similar to employees in global corporations, or even drill sergeants, creating and delivering a new product Kozol , 4. In doing so, simplification occurs to the product on the assembly line of the school. But doing this assumes away childhood with all the idiosyncrasies that often delight us as parents and grandparents.

The school bureaucracy creates a curriculum to control the manufacture of adults in a fashion that is efficient, predictable, and calculable Ritzer How much money is spent to successfully produce an adult, and what is the acceptable level of spoilage in the process? Measures of bureaucratic success are taken at every step. Seat time is counted, and testing begins early and often. Success at preventing drug use is calculated, and juvenile delinquency rates monitored and correlated with specific programs. Surveys are distributed to calculate the success of safe sex or no sex programs.

Political points are scored when graduation rates are rising. Make sure to buy your groceries and daily needs Buy Now. Let us wish you a happy birthday! Date of Birth. Day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Month January February March April May June July August September October November December Year Please fill in a complete birthday Enter a valid birthday. Thank You! Sports Women sports wear Men sportswear Women athlatic shoes Men athlatic shoes.

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