“McGuffey is remembered as a conservative theological teacher. He interpreted the goals of public schooling in terms of moral and spiritual education, and attempted to give schools a curriculum that would instill Presbyterian Calvinist beliefs and manners in their students. While these goals were considered suitable for the relatively homogeneous America of the early-to-mid-19th century, they were less so for the increasingly pluralistic society that developed in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The content of the readers changed drastically between McGuffey’s 1836-1837 edition and the 1879 edition. The revised Readers were compiled to meet the needs of national unity and the dream of an American melting pot for the world’s oppressed masses. The Calvinist values of salvation, righteousness, and piety, so prominent in the early Readers, were excluded from the later versions. The content of the books was secularized and replaced by middle-class civil religion, morality and values. McGuffey’s name was featured on these revised editions, yet he neither contributed to them nor approved their content.”
The institutionalization of education tends towards the institutionalization of society and that ideas for de-institutionalizing education may be a starting point for a de-institutionalized society.
“Compared to children attending conventional schools, however, research suggest that they [homeschooled children] have higher quality friendships and better relationships with their parents and other adults. They are happy, optimistic, and satisfied with their lives. Their moral reasoning is at least as advanced as that of other children, and they may be more likely to act unselfishly. As adolescents, they have a strong sense of social responsibility and exhibit less emotional turmoil and problem behaviors than their peers. Those who go on to college are socially involved and open to new experiences. Adults who were homeschooled as children are civically engaged and functioning competently in every way measured so far. An alarmist view of homeschooling, therefore, is not supported by empirical research.”
Richard G. Medlin, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Stetson University