The Monster Under the Bed: How Business Is Mastering the Opportunity of Knowledge for Profit

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9780671871079: The Monster Under the Bed: How Business Is Mastering the Opportunity of Knowledge for Profit
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A guide for educators and executives explains how the new megaindustry that dominates education is transforming our economy and lifestyle; changing companies, consumers, and employees; and redefining learning in both the public and private sectors. 25,000 first printing.

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About the Author:

Jim Botkin taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is a fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

The Reluctant Heir

Most of the learning in use is of no great use.

Benjamin Franklin

From Church to State to Business

Through successive periods of history, different institutions have borne the major responsibility for education. Changes in education rake a very long time to evolve. They are a consequence of greater transformations, often social, political, economic, or religious, and therefore are always a kw steps behind the demands of the society they are deigned to serve. But today school are more than a kw steps behind, and many feel they are on the wrong path altogether.

Ben Franklin, James Madison, and Patrick Henry were all taught at home rather than in school. In colonial America, the kitchen was the schoolhouse, mother was the teacher, and church was the overseer. As the agrarian economy expanded, children were educated in one-room schoolhouses. With the move from an agrarian to an industrial economy, the small rural schoolhouse was supplanted by the big brick urban schoolhouse. Four decades ago, in the early 1950s, we began the move to another economy, but we have yet to develop a new educational paradigm, let alone create the "schoolhouse" of the future, which may be neither school nor house.

The coming shift from civil to commercial leadership in education has been evolving for decade, and it will take several decades more before it is complete. The tint great educational shift, from church to state dominance, followed a similar progression. How and why it happened helps explain the current and coming change.

The First Time 'Round

Education in America was dominated by church and family from the earliest European settlements until the end of the colonial period in the 1780s. Family, church, school, and civic authority were intermingled during this early period, although the family had the greatest influence. The Family Instructor, by Daniel Dele (1715), was as popular in pre-Revolutionary America as Dr. Spock was in the post-World War II United States. Most family education, however, was on religious matters. The guiding books were John Foxe's The Book of Martyrs (1563) and Lewis Bayly's The Practice Piety (1612). Christianity, like Judaism from which it emanated, has always been an educational system, with Christ as the divine teacher. Hazard's stated purpose, for example, was instruction to "know God and Jesus Christ."

Church control of education was exerted by the Puritans in New England, the Dutch Rearmed Church and Quakers in the mid-Atlantic region, and powerful Protestant and Catholic plantation families in the South, especially Virginia. Them were also many other church, sects, and religions, and competition among them led to the expansion of education.

The debate about whether church or sum should be responsible for education went on for over a hundred years before the Revolutionary War. It started in 1655, when a Hazard president was forced to resign over the issue of infant baptism. Another challenge to the church was repeated almost a century later when the Independent Whig, distributed from Boston to Savannah, declared: "The ancients were instructed by philosopher, and the moderns by priests. The first thought it their duty to make the students as useful as possible to their country; the latter as subservient to their order." Twelve decades later, with the Revolutionary War and the Constitution, which clearly delineated a separation between church and state, the responsibility for public education was assumed primarily by the state.

The changing of the guard from church to state was propelled chiefly by political rather than economic motives. In New England it took five decades after the Revolutionary War until the Puritans and the Congregational Church relinquished their domination of schools. It occurred first in 1827, when, by taxation, Massachusetts made the support of public schools compulsory. Public support of schools in the South did not occur until after the Civil War, nearly nine decades after ratification of the United States Constitution in 1789 and the Ordinance of 1787, which established "education as necessary to good government."

Only after independence from England did education begin to move from parent and pastor to schoolmaster and governmental authorities. The motivating factor was the need to build a free and independent government. The chief educators of the time, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, were first and foremost political figures. As early as 1749, Franklin, in his Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania, announced a plan to establish a grammar school in Philadelphia that would use English, the vernacular of trade and daily life, rather than latin, the language of the church.

Fifty years later, in 1779, Jefferson introduced a "Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge" in the Virginia Legislature, mandating that all children be educated at public expense, which made education a poetical rather than a religious function. The law was enacted twenty years later, although until the 1880s it met with substantial resistance, including armed dashes between the citizenry and enforcing militia.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1830 that "Americans are infinitely better educated than any other place in the world." Part of the evidence for this was the success of the school textbooks and dictionaries written by Noah Webster. The American Speller and the Elementary Spelling Book sold fifteen million copies by 1837. The purpose of his American spellers and dictionaries was again political, to create a national language, distinct from British, that would unify the new nation.

Yet at the same time that the political shift was occurring between England and America, both countries were also evolving from an agricultural to an industrial economy. The emphasis on a utilitarian education taught in a common language suited, and was reinforced by, America's emerging industrial economy. The common or public school, which taught reading, arithmetic, and citizenship, was an instrument first of Americanization and second of industrialization. Utilitarian goal took their place alongside civil and patriotic aims as the changes from colony to fledgling republic to industrial nation gradually occurred.

Industrialization also produced social changes that weakened the educative role of the family and posed further threats to older forms of religious schooling. Sunday schools, for example, were created because of extensive child labor. Since most children had to work twelve hours a day, their only time for schooling was on Sundays, when factories, mines, and mills were idle. Early Sunday schools taught reading, writing, and religion. When child labor laws were enacted, Sunday schools left the reading and writing to public school and concentrated exclusively on religious teaching.

By the late nineteenth century, in their attempt to limit the spread of Catholicism from large waves of new immigrants, state control of education was supported actively by mainstream Protestant churches that had once opposed it. Methodists, Baptism, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists hoped to instill generalized Protestant values of hard work, frugality, and respect for both private and public property into secular schools that would be attended by children of Catholic immigrants.

In sum, the changing responsibility for education was largely a reflection of a changing society. When society's needs shined, responsibility for education likewise shifted. It lay with family and church in colonial times and moved to civil authorities after independence from Britain. In agrarian America education was not thought of as a discrete segment of society. Nor was it truly a pan of the monetary economy or a mater of political concern and public consciousness until the emergence of the industrial era, when it was supported by mx dollars that were measured and accounted for. The one-room schoolhouse had been displaced by the statehouse, and public education grew like crazy.

"It's Déjà Vu All Over Again"

Boston opened the nation's first publicly supported high school in 1821, and in 1852 Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school-attendance law in the United States. Many people believed that the use of taxes to support secondary schools was unlawful. The disagreement was settled in 1874, when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that publicly supported high schools were legal. State after state then passed laws mandating that taxes be used to support a public school system of elementary, secondary, and even postsecondary school. Every state had such a law by 1918, thus consolidating process that had begun a hundred years before and ensuring government's control and responsibility for education.

The most significant education act of the nineteenth century was the federal Morrill Act of 1862, which established land-grant colleges and universities to "teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arm." In the midge of Se Civil War, Congress granted the states huge tracts of land to sell, in order to finance the building of agricultural and technical colleges and universities. Proceeds from the sale of over 17.4 million acres of land went to finance developments in public education.

The Morrill Act fused the interest of government, education, and the farming community into a national policy, and it led to the establishment of agricultural extension programs, the mechanization of agriculture, and the birth of modern farming in the United States. Between 1855 and 1895, for example, the hourly labor required to produce one bushel of corn declined from four hours and thirty-four minutes to forty-one minute, and, between 1830 and 1894 the equivalent wheat production time declined from over three hours to only ten minutes. Perhaps the most impressive legacy born of the Morrill Act was the understanding that education, open to all and focused on learning applicable to real economic needs, could not be divorced from economic growth and national strategy. It is a lesson we need to relearn today.

By contrast, a lesson that we know all too well is that government is often very late meeting market needs, and once it has met a need, it does not step aside. Ironically, the land-grant act established the highly successful agricultural extension program just as America's agricultural economy was drawing to a close. Public spending on agricultural extension programs today is $1.4 billion compared to the about $80 million spent on industrial extension programs, even though agricultural producers contribute about 2 percent to the GNP compared to manufacturers' 18 percent. Worse still, there are no educational extension programs at all to support the remaining 80 percent in services or information jobs, except for some extension studies in nursing and education.
0

However nobly we may interpret the land-grant act today, its main purpose originally was political. With the country in the middle of the Civil War, education rearm was not exactly a topic on the front burner. The act may have bribed western and border states to stay in the Union, and after the Civil War it assuaged and enticed the South to accept rejoining the Union. The major incentives for educational change were thus political rather than economic.

Nevertheless, when the politics of national unity coincided with the politics of economic development in America, significant advances occurred in education. Today the politics of unity focus on mdt equality and elimination of class distinction. The politics of economic development, on the other hand, focus on international trade, global competition, and jobs. The two are not aligned, and that is why political action is not moving education into the twenty-first century.

Why is education one of the few remaining institutions that is national, rather than international, in scope? The reason, again, is that educational institutions are generally shaped by soot and political forces rather than economic concerns. Every country has used education to promote national unity. Bismarck, in particular, developed the Prussian education system because of the need to unify German principalities. Colonial powers used it to override ethnic and tribal loyalties. Education is now governed by just the opposite logic -- to revive these loyalties and often instill social and political rivalries. Had the motive force of educational development been economic, school would have evolved globally along with the current shift to a global economy.

The most significant governmental education act of the twentieth century was the GI Bill of Rights. Like the Morrill Act, it came in response to war, stimulated more by soot and political change than by economic and technological conditions. The federal government has often justified changes in educational policy on the basis of military needs. Since its inception in 1944, the GI Bill has Other paid or lent money to veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. It has been the tinge largest educational initiative in the United States, with over $140 billion in grants or loans and a total of seventeen million college-bound recipients.

The GI Bill, however, benefited veterans' personal lives after they left the service more than it alleged our military preparedness. It was intended to repay our debt to those who defended the country, not to direct their study into areas that would secure our national defense. The GI of the forties became the "man in the gray flannel suit" of the fifties. And the education that veterans receded, again ironically, was deigned largely to meet the needs of an industrial economy that was even then on the wane.

The launching of Sputnik in 1957 marked the end of the industrial era and the beginning of the information economy. The country instantly became gripped by the Soviet threat to our national security and saw education in science, math, and engineering as an important way to counter it. Relying on past political rallying calls, the government responded with the National Defense Education Act of 1958. The military-industrial complex poured the economy, and education was more captive to government defense initiatives than it was responsive to larger market needs.

The next sign that government-run education was faltering and continuing to ignore market needs came in 1983, when a blue-ribbon government panel known as the National Commission on Excellence in Education issued the widely quoted report, A Nation at Risk. Again pushing political hot buttons, the report cited national defense, not the economy and technology, as reasons to act. "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today," it said, "we might well have viewed it as an act of war."

Thus, political forces have dominated American education reform for more than centuries, sometimes mandating reform to address issues of national unity, sometimes responding to concerns about national defense. In either event, education initiatives served the needs of the state. Historically economic growth and productivity were never the major cause of systemic change in education.

Today the civil servants in the education establishment are on the defensive, trying to hold on to their dominant role, but they are no longer able to couch educational reform and the mission of schools in terms of national defense and responsible citizens and ignore the needs of individuals concerned about their jobs and of companies concerned about global ...

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