"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Cubberley Tradition Continues at Stanford and Pearson

One of the classics in the history of American education is Raymond Callahan's 1962 EDUCATION AND THE CULT OF EFFICIENCY.  In the free Chapter 5 available here, you can read about the various strategies and tactics that were devised a hundred years by the social control and social efficiency zealots who were attempting to take over American schools and run them like Henry Ford's assembly lines.  That's right--they largely succeeded.

If you have not read the history of American education, anyone could end up believing there is something new or reformy in the endless stream of corporate edu-solutions and testing insanity--when, in fact, today's efficiency cult represents the reforms of 100 years ago:  universal testing, sorting by test scores, segregation, centralized curriculum control, and governance by mayors--all of these modern "reforms" were popular among the eugenics-inspired visionaries of a hundred years ago.  

One of Stanford University's most devout eugenicists of the time, Elwood P. Cubberley, wrote the efficiency movement's version of educational history, and thus enshrined the social efficiency version of the past for more than a generation of education students.  By the 1960s when Callahan's book first appeared, historiography was changing big time, and since then it has changed even more, so that now we have rich and detailed histories that challenge the official view espoused by Cubberley and his white male protestant businessman cronies. 

If Pearson and Stanford U. have their way now, a hundred years after the first coming of social efficiency, learning the history or philosophy of education, or even child development, will become disposable froth for teacher education programs, or at least these course will be held hostage by a new technocratic assessment tool that teacher candidates must pass before they get a credential to teach.  

Because this generation's efficiency cult cannot control history, as their predecessors did through Cubberley's official tome almost a hundred years ago, the present generation of preservers of the status quo simply plan to make history irrelevant to the process of teacher preparation and credentialing.  Remember Margaret Spellings?  What gets tested gets taught.

And so it is with renewed vigor that everyone who cares about the education of  teachers, rather than training them like seals, should boycott Pearson--any Pearson products, any time.  From Education Radio:

Pearson's Teacher Performance Assessment: Exposed!


  1. I used a Pearson scantron machine today to score some finals, and now I feel kinda dirty.

  2. But, but – how else can I get Connected Math!?