What If Our Schools Are Working? Base, Superstructure, and Hegemony in Education
American schools are working exactly the way they are intended to work. The modern public education system developed to serve the managerial needs of industrial capitalism in the first half of the nineteenth century. It reached maturity along with the economic system as the factory-model in the 1920s and has changed very little since. As education became more regimented to meet the workforce needs of industrial capitalism, high schools became key areas for indoctrination and sorting, especially for urban immigrant populations. In recent decades, as automation, robotics, and globalization have decreased the need for unskilled and semi-skilled labor, three trends have added to the capitalist nature of miseducation in the United States—zero tolerance criminal justice, high-stakes testing, and charter schools. American schools do however allow some space for promoting progressive change. Marxists can support the development of students from disadvantaged backgrounds as Gramscian organic intellectuals of the working class.
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