#205 July 24.

#205 July 24.

As work shifted out of the fields and the home, children had to
be prepared for factory life. The early mine, mill, and factory owners
of industrializing England discovered, as Andrew Ure wrote in 1835,
that it was “nearly impossible to convert persons past the age of
puberty, whether drawn from rural or from handicraft occupations, into
useful factory hands.” If young people could be prefitted to the
industrial system, it would vastly ease the problems of industrial
discipline later on. The result was another central structure of all
second wave societies: mass education.
Built on the factory model, mass education taught basic reading,
writing, and arithmetic, a bit of history and other subjects. This was
the “overt curriculum.” But beneath it lay an invisible or “covert
curriculum” that was far more basic. It consisted – and still does in
most industrial nations – of three courses: one in punctuality, one in
obedience, and one in rote, repetitive work. Factory labor demanded
workers who showed up on time, especially assembly-line hands. It
demanded workers who could take orders from a management heirarchy
without questioning. And it demanded men and women prepared to slave
away at machines or in offices, performing brutally repetitious
operations.

-Alvin Toffler, “The Third Wave,” 1980

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