Taking the King's Shilling

Historically, the primary function of schooling has been to teach the young how to live responsibly and productively in their own society. In our day, the notions of civic, familial, and vocational obligations have been virtually banished from pedagogy. Today's ethically and morally barren system of education has not only failed to fortify its students against perverse conduct (as is evident in the high rates of crime, AIDS, and drug addiction), but has even joined those tragic blights as a social pathology for which there seems to be no acceptable course of remedy.

It is time to bypass the taboos of the reigning educational orthodoxy and probe some of the now-forbidden chambers of the House of Intellect. Especially promising are the archives of that wisdom which used to inform and guide America's schools and colleges in their remarkably successful socialization of earlier generations of students. The consideration of just one principle, now jettisoned but previously treasured, will illustrate the value of what has been scrapped.

Until the middle of this century, the educational profession clearly recognized that the character of the educational service was determined as much by the source of funding as by the amount of money supplied. Above all, there was an aversion to having the federal government pay for America's schooling.

In March 1945 the American Council on Education and the National Education...

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