The Despotic Origins Of U.S. Public Secondary Education

This article is part of a project that critically analyzes the historical and present day purposes of U.S. public education. Related articles focus on the history of Common Schools, the undemocratic nature of Local Control and the finacialization of education via Social Impact Bonds and Personalized Learning. The point of this project is to further expose the underlying social control function of U.S. public education and the interests it has consistently served over time, which cannot be extracted from the undemocratic nation-state it was designed – and continually redesigned – to preserve. 

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Stoking nationalism with fears of “Another Black Republic”

During the 1890s, as patriotic fervor was sweeping the nation, the flying of the nation’s flag on school grounds and within classrooms was normalized, whereupon students were required to pledge allegiance to the nation’s flag on a daily basis.

This morning ritual was initiated by a signal from a teacher or principal, where students, in ordered ranks, started with their hands to their side, facing the flag. Another signal was given and every student was required to give the flag the military (Bellamy) salute – right hand lifted, palm downward, to align with the forehead and close to it; and repeating together, slowly: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right…

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