Another very quick book recommendation for the history of school in America is "The Leipzig Connection". This book is more a long pamphlet, going for about 100 pages. With how often Charlotte Iserbyt referred to this work, I decided to pick it up for myself. It is a quick and easy read on the fundamental changes in American education that started in the early 20th century. It traces the changes in American education to the roots in German psychology.
Wilhelm Wundt to be exact, who is considered the father of psychology. Psychology and philosophy had been mixed previously, but Wundt stressed the need for measurement and analysis that one could define. Like a good German, he wanted to make it a science. His students took this idea and ran with it, influencing American schooling to this day. The researchers do refer to preparing students for a democratic society, and really, why did no one ask, "What does that exactly mean and how does that exactly differ from before". What is interesting is how once again those Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations pumped money into these radical and untested ideas, never removing money when the ideas flopped. These guys are not all communists, but it is ammunition to the thesis that psychology, and the "sciencing" of psychology, has been an amazing tool and weapon for the progressives. You can pick this up cheap from Heron Books on Amazon.