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Chapter 8. A Showplace (Excerpts)
To Dewey and Thorndike, the schoolroom was a "great laboratory" in which to do their research and refine "the modification of instincts and capabilities into habits and powers." Yet there was no large laboratory school at Columbia, no institution filled with willing or unknowing subjects for the great psychological experiments of the Wundtians at Teachers College - not until 1917, that is, when an offer to establish such a laboratory school came from Abraham Flexner of the General Education Board.
The resident intellectual and educator on the Board, Flexner's forte was in digesting large amounts of information and making them palatable to others: his specialty was education. While Rockefeller and his son wanted only the relative peace and tranquility of millions in the bank, divorced from the manner in which those millions had been gained and safe from governmental and public attacks, Flexner saw more clearly than any other how that money could be used to further Progressive Education in the United States.
Flexner's first impact on American education had taken the form of "Germanizing" American medical education. While at the Carnegie Foundation, Flexner was asked to do a major study of medical schools in the United States and Canada. In eighteen months, Flexner visited each of the 155 medical colleges in the U.S. and Canada. He was appalled by conditions which he considered inexcusable when compared with the medical schools he had seen in Germany. Nonetheless, he did find several medical schools of which he approved, most notably his alma mater, Johns Hopkins, which he considered to be "the one bright spot, despite meager endowment and missing clinics."
Support for the "modernization" of American medical colleges rapidly developed in the General Education Board, which was looking for ways to expand its philanthropy beyond the narrow band of assistance to rural Southern education. Carnegie, who had fostered the study initially, would have nothing to do with medical funding, as "the practical Scot could see no point in helping institutions which had allowed themselves to get into so abysmal a situation." But at the request of the Carnegie Foundation, Flexner took off again, this time to survey medical schools in England, Scotland, France, Germany, and Austria. It was while he was writing up his final report that Gates invited him to have lunch with him. Gates was strongly interested in German medicine, and was opposed to the traditional homeopathic medicine used by Rockefeller's personal physician, Dr. H.F. Bigger, with whom he often had heated arguments. In the short meeting, Gates asked Flexner what he would do if he had $1 million to work with in developing medical education in the United States. Flexner replied that he would give it to Johns Hopkins. Gates sent Flexner off to his alma mater with the agreement that if Flexner could make a convincing case for the donation, it would be given by the Board. It was several years before Flexner finally cashed in, securing a $1.5 million gift from the Board to the German-oriented Johns Hopkins University. That same year (1913), he left Carnegie and joined the Board to direct the allocation of Rockefeller millions to the development of chemically oriented medicine in the United States.
By the time Flexner joined the Board, his attack on American medical education, which had been front-page news across the country, had resulted in the number of medical schools in the United States dropping from 147 to 95. Naturopathic medicine was on the decline in this country, as it was proving particularly unsusceptible to Rockefeller funding. Over the years (until 1960), the General Education Board would give a total of over $96 million to medical schools which, like Johns Hopkins, disregarded naturopathy, homeopathy, and chiropractic in favor of medicine based on the use of surgery and chemical drugs. The Board's sponsorship of chemical medicine on the one hand and psychology on the other would culminate in 1963 when a group of researchers at Johns Hopkins developed the use of Ritalin to "treat" children who were regarded as "troubled" or too active. The effects of this merger of chemical medicine and Wundtian psychology upon American education are thoroughly documented in The Myth of the Hyperactive Child, and Other Means of Child Control, by Divoky and Schrag.
Flexner's second major contribution to the transformation of American education and society came in 1916, with his plan to create an experimental laboratory school, backed by Rockefeller money, which would be a showplace for the Progressive Education practices of Dewey and Thorndike. Flexner presented his views to the public in a short tract called "A Modern School." In it, Flexner attacked traditional American education and proposed a sharp break with workable educational practices. His experimental school would eliminate the study of Latin and Greek. Literature and history would not be completely abolished, but new methods would be instituted for teaching these subjects, classical literature would be ignored, and formal English grammar would be dropped. Flexner wasn't just throwing out the baby with the bath water; he was blowing up the tub.
(end of chapter 8)
Get The Book!
The Leipzig Connection by Paolo Lionni - the complete book with more details & facts about the scam known as modern education and psychology.
Suggested Reading List - the Demise of the Educational System - OBE (Outcome-Based Education), NEA (National Education Association), educational psychology, German psychology & influences, demise of public education, educational sabotage, Wundt, Pavlov, Dewey, Skinner, Watson.
vvtfzgALL, vvtLionni8, say no to psychiatry, FTR, Foundation for Truth in Reality
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