CONSPIRACY: New in the New Republic today is an essay by the late Aaron Swartz lamenting American education. The former founder of Reddit is done with doom and gloom predictions and research—they're as old as American education itself—but he's also done with the idea that schools were ever about education. In "Against School," Swartz argues that schools were always about business.
"The most important people in any school have always been businessmen...Schools are not only bad at teaching people...they’re not about teaching people at all," writes Swartz. He's convinced that schools are about teaching docility, citing how the Industrial Revolution herded people into factories, cities and schools from their individualized lives on farms. Schools as corrals meant to tame students, he writes, "destroys the American model of freedom." The latest iteration of that domestication, says Swartz, is the prevalence of standardized testing that traps teachers and students in stultifying routines, just as factory managers do.