'The New School': 'Smart People Make Better Electricians.' An Interview With Instapundit

We were told for a long time that education was what got you ahead, but now you see all these people with their Masters degrees in Women’s Studies from Brown at the Occupy Wall Street camp saying they can’t get a job and they’ve got $100,000 of student debt. 



Musings from the prolific Professor Reynolds

Benjamin Weingarten
The Blaze

In a wide-ranging interview with Blaze Books in connection with his just-released title, “The New School,” prolific professor Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) provided his insights on the 19th century Prussian industrial model of education that predominates to this day, the bursting of the education bubble, sage advice for students, parents and academic institutions, his predictions for new models in education, and much more. Below is our interview which was conducted via phone. The interview has been edited slightly for clarity. If you missed it, be sure to check out our reviewof “The New School” as well.

Can you give a brief background for readers as to what compelled you to write “The New School?” 

Reynolds: Compelled is kind of the right word. I really wasn’t ever planning to write anything significant about education. I mean you know I was a student and now I’m a professor and so I live in that world, but it was never anything I had much interest in writing about. But then I wrote a couple of newspaper columns on the higher education bubble, and I wrote a law review article about where legal education was going, and then I wrote a couple more columns about K-12 education, and then the reaction to all that stuff was huge, and it made me see that there was really a lot of interesting stuff going on that I didn’t feel like was being looked at at quite the right angle, which is to say my angle [laughs]…and I went ahead and did that…

…History tends to be important when you’re talking about problems of today. The first section of your book is about Horace Mann’s influence on our education system and how he introduced a sort of Prussian model that took the country by storm and still exists today. What enamored Horace Mann and other reformers and led them to institute this system in the States?

Reynolds: It was really about control. I mean Horace Mann had a famous saying. He said, “Men are cast-iron, but children are wax.” And he believed that if you got children early and indoctrinated them properly, they would turn out to be designed as citizens that he wanted, and that of course was overtly the goal in Prussia, and pretty much overtly the goal with him too. I mean the interesting thing about the response to his proposal when he came back to Massachusetts was that a lot of people said the Prussian model was basically kind of un-American, because the Prussian model assumed that the government knew more than the citizenry, and the American model was based on exactly the opposite belief. But Mann wound up winning that argument of course. And in fact the public school is basically based on the principle that government is smarter than you, knows better what to do with your kids than you do, knows what’s good for you and your kids more than you do, and so on…



Read the entire interview at The Blaze.



Related:   Professor Reynolds joined Glenn Beck to discuss the bubble in higher education and some alternatives the might emerge in the wake of its implosion, including certification, apprenticeships and other means of accreditation. Watch the video is at The Blaze.



Update:   Higher education, lower standards a recent op-ed by Glenn Reynolds at USA Today.



Alabama Education Board Changes Common Core Standards

The Alabama State Board of Education listened to the people and started the 2014 legislative season with changes to Common Core in english and math. State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice said today’s revisions will make the standards better meet the learning needs of Alabama students while simultaneously addressing concerns raised by Common Core detractors…



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