Brett Veinotte has worked in private education for the last 10 years, in a variety of activities. As host of the School Sucks Podcast, every week Brett shares his discoveries about American schooling with thousands of listeners. He is also now the vice president of a tutoring and educational consulting company in New Hampshire....When did public schools get their start − in Germany? Brett Veinotte: While there are sparse examples of compulsory schooling going all the way back to ancient Greece, the pre-German-Unification Kingdom of Prussia is probably the most significant step. However, the system in Prussia was simply a new method of perpetuating a practice that was already thousands of years old, and that was the science of turning human beings into controllable and predictable resources. In Prussia, the goals were militaristic; the rulers and elites wanted a reliable fighting force, with soldiers who wouldn't be made less efficient by annoying habits like the exercises of volition and self-preservation.,,,Bismarck was a Prussian aristocrat, credited with masterminding the German Unification under Prussian rule in the latter half of the 1800s. He was like a brilliant chess player; he thought way ahead. However, like Hitler many generations later, he was able utilize an already existing momentum of German thought to ultimately achieve his goals. Key to Bismarck's plan was a popular embrace of nationalism and a strong ethnic identity. At the time Bismarck began to implement his plans, the schools had been building that momentum for at least two generations. The success of his "Blood and Iron" speech speaks to the impact the schools were already having. In this speech, he criticized the ideas of diplomacy and multilateral decision-making, and argued instead for concentrated power and military aggression. And the people, who were ultimately the victims of this agenda, happily embraced it.
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