Against Schooling: Education and Social Class

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Stanley Aronowitz


At the dawn of the new century no American institution is invested with a greater role to bring the young and their parents into the modernist regime than public schools. The common school is charged with the task of preparing children and youth for their dual responsibilities to the social order: citizenship and, perhaps its primary task, learning to labor. On the one hand, in the older curriculum on the road to citizenship in a democratic, secular society, schools are supposed to transmit the jewels of the enlightenment, especially literature and science. On the other hand, students are to be prepared for the work world by means of a loose but definite stress on the redemptive value of work, the importance of family, and of course the imperative of love and loyalty to one's country.

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