I don’t think anybody on this blog needs a reminder because I have talked about this for years but the only reason why comprehensive free state-provided secondary education came into existence was to make the nation-state possible.
“School” as we know it was invented to ensure that all citizens spoke the same language and shared the same understanding of national identity. “Patriotic education” is not a new idea. It’s the only idea that gave us free schooling for everybody and the near-100% literacy that results from it. You can like it or dislike it but this is a fact of objective reality that isn’t in dispute.
Acting like this is something shockingly new is extremely ignorant. The idea is 200 years old and has been successfully implemented everywhere.
The choice isn’t between offering “patriotic education” or not. The choice is whether there’s going to be comprehensive free schooling or not. For years, people scoffed when I said we were on the verge of losing comprehensive free schooling as the nation-state model of governance breaks apart. We are now seeing exactly what I predicted.
“Everybody is an individual and should make up their own mind” – the standard neoliberal blabber – leads, among many other serious consequences, to you paying for private schooling for your kids or quitting your job to homeschool. No matter how we feel about these options as individuals, this is a gigantic change on the level of society. This leads directly to an explosion of illiteracy.
You might be a parent who can pay for private schooling, teach yourself, organize “schooling pods,” whatever. But your children will live in the society filled with people whose parents couldn’t do that and had no capacity to socialize their children in the most basic ways.
The collapse of the free comprehensive state-provided schooling is an absolute disaster for all of us as a society even if as individuals we don’t use it if don’t care about it.