: This struck me as an amazing parallel with libertarian / free market / objectivist thinking.
Why the surprise? The issue is obvious.
: So 1) socialists might argue that state education is controlled via 'the master capitalists' in some way so as to produce a 'class' of uncritical proles and 2) libertarians might argue that state education is controlled in denial of choice by a self serving political elite in order to exert power over the population at large and to have children who grow up without criticising them, instead remaining dependant for guidance upon them.
Hold on their Gee I'd say any half decent socialist would say both 1) and 2), the issue isnt whether Education develops critical free thinkers, we all agree it should, it is who can afford education that specifically develops freethought?
A lot of the anti-intellectualism in education isnt the product of education itself, a lot is brought into the classroom from the playground, community, social class and parentage. As a result teachers have to act as babysitters for these "products" of advertising and social conditioning rather than commit time to developing critical thinkers.
: Even SDF's criticism, that students are offered several authoritarian figures per day in their 50 minute sessions in detriment to their development will find agreement among libertarians. One might even guess that (genuine) socialists and libertarians would both favor, for instance, a montessori school over a state one.
I dont know what a montessori school is? Is it cheap or free?
: The criticism that 'the system' fails children in part by failing to teach actual skills in the sciences, math and english and spends too much time pursuing various open ended, highly subjective studies in 'social studies' of one kind or another is generally a conservative criticism. (I would point out that religious conservatives sometimes have an odd idea of what constitutes science).
Is it a criticism you agree with Gee? Social studies etc. very impotant they educate people as to their status in the world and develop political and social awareness, raising doubts about their importance because they dont contribute toward churning out a lot more efficient workers, to save multinationals cash on training, is terrible. Would any of the great political works have been written if people like J. S. Mill had simply trained as printers and thought about nothing aside from that?