Category: Education

Palin, Intellectualism, and the "Degree Fetish"

What does an Ivy League education get you? I’m not talking about jobs. I’m focusing now on what happens to a person when he receives this prestigious education. Michael Knox Beran—lawyer, author, and commentator—has an essay in National Review that asks the question. Yet the question didn’t arise from nothing; he took his cue from Sarah Palin. When questioned by Bill O’Reilly on whether she was intellectual enough to be a leader, Palin commented, “I believe that I am because… Read more »

Education's Historic Shift (Part VII)

Protestant evangelicals, toward the middle of the nineteenth century, sought to set up state-controlled education because they thought they would be the ones to control it, and then be able to keep America fundamentally Protestant in spite of the new Catholic immigration. They looked for a model for how to do this—and they found it. In order to find it, they had to travel to Europe to a country called Prussia, which forms the nucleus of modern-day Germany. Prussia, at… Read more »

Education's Historic Shift (Part VI)

A couple weeks ago, I started a history of the shift in education in America from private to government schools. I said there were three groups pushing for this change. The first group was Unitarians, who denied the Trinity and sought to replace church education with education dictated by government. They also believed that education was the answer for all societal ills. The second group was the Owenites, followers of Robert Owen, a communist utopian who emigrated from Britain to… Read more »

Education's Historic Shift (Part V)

In a previous post, I pointed out a second group in the nineteenth century that was bent on setting up government-controlled education for its own ideological purposes. Led by Robert Owen, this group sought to educate Americans out of their belief in private property and free enterprise. They set up the Workingmen’s Party to achieve their goal. One of the party’s adherents was Orestes Brownson. Later in life, he defected from the party and his old beliefs, and turned to… Read more »

Education's Historic Shift (Part IV)

The somewhat strange-looking man on the left is Robert Owen. He’s the next major figure in my retrospective on how education changed in America. I’ve already noted that Unitarians sought to wrest control of education from orthodox Trinitarian Christians, but although they had some success in Massachusetts, they had little support in the rest of the nation. Owen arrived in America from Britain as a believer in utopian communism. He was also a bitter foe of Christianity. Once here, he… Read more »

Education's Historic Shift (Part III)

Unitarians wanted to remove education from the hands of the orthodox Christian churches. They sought to make all education the responsibility of the state; they were able to impose their will on Massachusetts by the 1830s. The first secretary of the state board of education was a man by the name of Mann. Horace Mann was a Unitarian who was placed in control of Massachusetts state education in 1837. He exhibited all the beliefs of the Unitarians with respect to… Read more »

Education's Historic Shift (Part II)

In a previous post, I noted that Unitarians in early America wanted to take education away from the orthodox churches and place it in the hands of the government. Unitarianism was hardly the dominant theology of early America; the primary place where this view prevailed was in the Boston area and Harvard, so that’s where they tried to make the change first. They decided to push for “common” schools in Boston for all elementary-age chidren. Convinced that many children were… Read more »