"It is time to admit that public education operates like a planned
economy. It's a bureaucratic system where everybody's role is spelled
out in advance, and there are few incentives for innovation and
productivity. It's not a surprise when a school system doesn't improve.
It more resembles a Communist economy than our own market economy."
Albert Shanker
(1928-1997) president of the United Federation of Teachers (1964-1985), president of the American Federation of Teachers (1974-1997)
Wall Street Journal, October 2, 1989
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Reader comments about this quote:
I love the quote but you don't give a source so I can't use it. It is certainly the kind of thing Albert would have said. But where did he make it? A book? speech? newspaper? What is the source?
 -- ROyal, Austin     
    Its in the interest of the Republican Party and business to keep American's Dumb - if we eductae them they may become Liberal. So, yes, education does fall in line with a planned economy.
     -- RobertSRQ     
  • 3
    Robert thanks, you've made me more than smile. How liberal of you to make that observation and interpretation of the quote. It is the liberal educators that are dumbing down the populous by communist methods. I do find that the Neocons have their own special way of dumbing down America and it seems, they're even better at it than the liberals.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    I have to agree with Mike -- the public school system is indeed 'liberal' and has even helped make liberalism a dirty word. Classical liberalism, however, is hardly represented in American culture any more. In the end, each individual is responsible for seeking, learning, and acting. Many of histoy's greatest thinkers were unlettered and often 'failures' in collectivist institutions. I do sincerely believe that government schools are structured and funded to deny actual learning to large portions of the populace -- particularly to the Southern and Midwestern states and counties of minorities nationwide. Our grandparents had better education by grade 6 than most college students today -- and it was done in a one room school house.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
    Trying to make a distinction between Liberal and Conservative anymore has become an exercise in uselessness. We get the same usurpations from both, ergo, voting is irrelevant. (Save for Ron Paul) The education systems of the west in general have the not so hidden agenda of dumbing down new generations which makes them easier to control and to program. History is glossed over if its taught at all. And its by forgetting history that we repeat it. Education has simply become another pulpit for politicians to grandstand from. AND Education happens only in the home anymore. Conformity happens in school. Obedience to the state is what we can expect from a state education system. Check out this little vid. : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMqJvhmD5Yg
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    PS, It seems the "Act" has been expanded. -http://www.slate.com/id/2178646/
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    The public education system was modeled on the Prussian system of the mid nineteenth century. Their goal was to educate the common folk well enough to be good, productive workers in an industrial setting, but not educated enough to question authority. Of course, the modern public education system has gone beyond the Prussian model: our students are not even educated enough to be good, productive workers. In fact they are only educated enough to find out where the Welfare office is.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 3
    Dead on. It’s hard to believe he was involved with the education system. Originally our system was to create a moral society so as to keep our society free. Now it is to prevent cognitive thought processes so as to empower those that want to do our thinking for us.
     -- warren, olathe     
    You will be hard pressed to find many conservatives working as teachers in this country (unless their home schoolers). The education system has become dedicated to bringing this country to socialism. It might as well be run by the ACLU. Anyone that thinks that a bunch of liberals are trying to turn out conservatives so as to keep republicans in power has obviously been a product of our present school system.
     -- warren, olathe     
  • 2
    Source? It clearly says it is from the Wall Street Journal...or was that added after the question? And Robert, do you know anything at all about the history of public education in America? Modern American educational philosophy has its roots in John Dewey, His main pursuits were: "Dewey's support were women's suffrage, progressive education, educator's rights, the Humanistic movement, and world peace." http://dewey.pragmatism.org/
     -- Dana, Lincoln     
    I once had a college professor spend an entire semester trying to convince us that the Federal Reserve System was a Great thing for our Country! He said "it was designed to prevent rescession"! How's that working for us? I dropped out with an AA. I just couldn't take any more Liberal BS! Opened a business and got a real education! P.S. I could always pick out the Liberal professors -- they would talk alot, but you'd never learn anything.
     -- Eric Johnson, Las Vegas, NV     
    This quote is FALSE Sure, it has a "source": a mystery quote purportedly from Shanker in a highly anti-education editorial in wall street journal. This quote is NONSENSE. http://gtfodemocrats.blogspot.com/2010/03/albert-shanker-false-quote.html
     -- Jay, Hoboken     
     -- Mary, Michigan      
    One has to admit that liberals have taken over the education system years ago. Even in our colleges are mostly liberal professors that their true goal is stay in college forever. Now we have at least two of the Weathermen that teach our children that hate America so bad that back in the 70's they tried to bomb the Pentagon and other places and even got a Policeman killed. Now they are teaching our children to read by using a re-worded Preamble of the Constitution of the US that teaches socialism. They want to take on teaching our children sex education and about gays and it seems no one asked permission of the parents. So how true the above quote is to me and what I feel is going on around us and getting worse. I wonder is that what is being taught to Obama's children, also?
     -- Anonymous, US     
    These quotes (04/19/11) are just anti-education. What do they have to do with freedom?
     -- Stephen, Danvers     
  • 1
    Stephen, if you were educated in ANY way...you wouldn't be asking stupid questions like that.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Stephen, I'd explain it to you but anyone who would ask a question like your's wouldn't understand.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
    J. Carlton, don't you understand that the 'dumbing-down' of the education system is all part of the plan that started with the Evil Triumvirate (Regean, Mulroney and Thatcher)? As the taxes on the wealthy are decreased and the middle class is hollowed-out - even eliminated; there is no money left for health care or education - they are under attack, they must be cut. Just another step to the move to making Canada/ US and A/Mexico into a system of total plutocracy - and eventually dictatorship. Big Brother is really hitting home now.
     -- L. Hanson, Edmonton, Canada     
  • 4
     -- AL, DC      
    This quote is also distinguishing between 'public' and 'private' education systems which maintain the status quo in terms of power an privilege in the wealthiest societies. It's a shameful fact that the UK and USA have the worst literacy and numeracy rates among state school leavers in the developed world but at the same time have abundant wealth and elitist education establishments reserved for the wealthiest minority. Not sure if it's an 'evil plan' as much as an inevitable consequence of Regan, Thatcher, Mulroney economic policies and the starving of essential funding to public services which is a continuing trend.
     -- Mick, Manchester     
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