Talk:Public school

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This Education related article has not received a brainstar for quality. Please consider expanding the article appropriately. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


This is also in Liberapedia. I wrote most of it there. Ryan wrote the small section about Australian Public schools. Proxima Centauri 05:43, 2 July 2008 (EDT)


I second Chaos' nomination for deletion. The very title of this article has such a narrow meaning—it refers to the location of public education, not the education itself—as to be useless to RationalWiki. I propose we delete it and redirect to public education. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:19, 2 July 2008 (EDT)

I agree, and also think that the "fun" space version should be moved back here. ħumanUser talk:Human 22:37, 5 July 2008 (EDT)
I like RA's idea of being a redirect. ThunderkatzHo! 09:47, 5 August 2008 (EDT)
I say keep this version and add more stuff about school prayer and complaints about the incompetency of public schools & other controversies. --AP 18:12, 9 September 2008 (EDT)
But "public education" is a better phrase, "public school" means entirely different things in different places. ħumanUser talk:Human 18:28, 9 September 2008 (EDT)
What he said. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 18:18, 12 October 2008 (EDT)
OK how about this - let's try to format this page like Wikipedia's article - with disambiguation as lead and then elaborating on the different meanings later on, as well as mocking Conservapedian musings.--AP 18:51, 12 October 2008 (EDT)
So the lead would be "for a discussion of government-funded education, see public education", and this article would just be about British public schools? What from CP would go here and not at PE? Couldn't PE just have a brief note in it describing the Brit. thing? ħumanUser talk:Human 20:25, 12 October 2008 (EDT)

Hmm...according to Wikipedia "public school" means "state-funded" school in US/Canada/Australia, while in UK = private boarding school. Maybe this could be a disambiguation page like WIGO, including the "fun" page and the public education thing. But how will we define US public schools - as the Americentric CP puts up in its public schools and public school culture articles? Those are some good research/humor starting points. Perhaps we could do a reprise of "public school culture"?--AP 01:47, 13 October 2008 (EDT)


Here's what the article says:

Because of Mencken's reputation as a satirist, we might be tempted to dismiss this passage as a bit of hyperbolic sarcasm. His article, however, goes on to trace the template for our own educational system back to the now vanished, though never to be forgotten, military state of Prussia. And although he was certainly aware of the irony that we had recently been at war with Germany, the heir to Prussian thought and culture, Mencken was being perfectly serious here. Our educational system really is Prussian in origin, and that really is cause for concern.

Tarantallegra (talk) 00:38, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

I'd prefer that we directly quote Mencken instead of some blogger using a lot of ellipses. Where/when did mencken say it? Would it be in my Bartlett's? My Pocket Curmudgeon? ħumanUser talk:Human 00:40, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Done. Some fun links when googling that quote... [1] [2] ħumanUser talk:Human 00:58, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
You found the source, very nice. Saying he is "quipping" is unsupported, and probably untrue since the article you found was extremely poor quipping, not humor at all. He was more a journalist than a humorist.
Also, people are asking me to prove the negative that he wasn't quipping, and you guys aren't reading the sources I collected. We can of course find more on Prussian influence on schools, but Harpers Magazine is a good source. Tarantallegra (talk) 04:16, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
What does the article I found have to do with the argument you are making? As I read the original, by the way, it seems he is speaking with tongue deeply in cheek. Many of these sorts of "quotes" by famous people (often, gee, humorists and satirists) that I see are sorely misused. Oh, and "you found the source, very nice" is a rather slimy way to say it. What really happened is you came here and spammed the article with some anti-public education tripe and couldn't even bother to trace your lame quote-mine back to the original, which was readily available on line. I did all the work, and now you want to tell me how to present it? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:38, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
So it's about you and me? You haven't done quite all the work, but you did get the original quote. I'd say that was good, but you'd think I was being slimy, so should I say it was bad? Maybe we play opposites here? Anyway, it does not seem entirely tongue in cheek to me, as that would be completely unreasonable. Tarantallegra (talk) 04:53, 10 July 2009 (UTC)


We might want an article on John Taylor Gatto... ħumanUser talk:Human 01:01, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

But using him here as a "source" or an EL here is bit thin. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:25, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
We aren't really using him as a source, but the journal, Harpers Magazine. Tarantallegra (talk) 04:18, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
And if we were using him as a source, we'd be doing pretty well [3]. Here are other sources [4][5] which I haven't vetted. At any rate, merely claiming influence is well supported I think. Tarantallegra (talk) 04:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I see no reason to drag Gatto pimping intot his article. He's one teacher. And the "Harper's" link I saw a few edits ago went to his website, not theirs. OK, you got the Mencken quote added to the article, and I had to do all the work of actually finding the quote and adding a real source. Quit grinding your ax. If you want to wank on about the Prussian connection, how about a new section below the others in the article? Or another article on the topic? Oh, and I find his equation of public school methods with Prussians as an argument against them to be not much more than argumentum ad hitlerum. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:34, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I was under the impression that the Prussian schools, or Gymnasiums, were of a very high standard producing many of the great thinkers of the 19th Century, which saw a shift in the centre of European intellectualism from France to "Germany". - π 04:57, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
That could be Pi. Human- fine, but you still have to defend your use of "quip." I'll read more of the source, but it really doesn't look like it at this point. And you didn't really read the argument if you think that's all it boils down to: what he says is, the Prussians designed schools for a particular purpose, which he states, and then states that our schools are like that, ergo, if the Prussians designed them well, they are producing the desired Prussian results. That is from memory, I read it a while back. Tarantallegra (talk) 05:02, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Reading more, it looks like writing about a serious topic in a manner that is slightly humorous. But serious in its facts and intent. If you think it's a quip, against the precise statement of my original source and against my reading of it, you should prove it. And you also, so far as I know, have no factual reasons for saying that Gatto is not reliable, whereas the books he published and his presence in Harpers seems to point toward him being at least somewhat reliable. Tarantallegra (talk) 05:10, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Gatto is an advocate, that is true. However my point here is that this is about rationality and skepticism, is it not? This is not WP. Why are you publishing an article which is not skeptical of public education? So, as someone who's new here, I'm asking you what kind of skepticism of public education is allowed? Liberal? Well, Gatto would fit that. Tarantallegra (talk) 05:20, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
We are not sceptical or liberal, we are rational (although a health does of scepticism aids in rationality). - π 05:24, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Oh, well in that case I think Gatto may be a good source, though all I've read is that article. Are you serious that you, here, at Rationalwiki haven't noticed that the population displays just the kind of mindset that he says the prussian schools were meant to produce? I sure have. I'm not used to being able to be rational, but if that's what you are about, are you really saying that you think schools don't have anything to do with the lack of independent and critical thinking in the population? Tarantallegra (talk) 05:37, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
"noticed that the population displays just the kind of mindset that he says the prussian schools were meant to produce?" No and yes. No, in that I see many young people who really have gained by the broad education forced on them. Yes, in that I would quip in the same manner as Mencken and Twain. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:01, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
There seems to be some sort of correlation going on here Prussian == Bad. From my perspective the Prussian school system was a good thing (TM). What exactly is wrong with trained teachers teaching a standardised curriculum towards standardised exams. It means that, in the UK, if a pupil has 3 'A' levels then you know exactly what educational level they have achieved. It means that the teachers are trained to do their jobs. It means that pupils are taught the standard curriculum and not subjected to crazy ideas from the Andys of this world. It does not mean that individual thought or expression is suppressed. Silver Sloth (talk) 10:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Additionally there's a massive assumption in this the schools are brainwashing the kids to be mindless slaves concept - and that it assumes malice on the part of those in control. Whatsits' law - never assign malice where incompetence will do. Seriously, education is run by people who just want to do a day's work. Some are very good at it, some are not so good, but teachers, in general are too busy trying to educate to do any brainwashing. Gatto, a classic Disgruntled Former Employee, can rant all he wants but education is far too important to leave to the untrained parent. I could teach my son quite a bit about Unix administration but would be hopeless at teaching him, for example, German. Silver Sloth (talk) 10:58, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Rebuttal to CP's culture article[edit]

It would be interesting to have a counter to CP's Public School Cultureimg article. What sort of data is present for any of those points, without comparing anything to homeschooling? – Nick Heer 02:26, 1 February 2010 (UTC)