This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
Of course this shift of all special organization from the hereditary to the competitive basis makes education more complicated. Formerly each caste had an educational system all its own. Any teacher knew exactly the kind of career for which he was expected to train his pupils. In the lower classes always, and in the higher classes to a great extent, the young person learned the ways and wisdom of his class simply by growing up in it, receiving instruction incidentally from parents or fellow workers. Discipline was necessarily rigid because the individual had to conform to his class whether it suited him or not. The competitive system, on the other hand, in allowing each individual to choose his career, puts the discipline and government of the schools on the basis of democracy. The individual then needs to find out his natural capacity before he chooses his career; to help him do that, and to give him the kind of training needed, the educational system must now be responsible.
Since the school does much to perpetuate or obliterate class feeling, teachers should know in which direction to turn that influence as far as they are able to control it. They may take their cue from the foregoing discussion - in fact, they are already taking it from the spirit of the age. Since caste does not comport with the modern organization of society, it finds little favor in school. A fair chance to every pupil is the watchword. The teacher is disposed to give special assistance to the pupil who is handicapped by poverty or lack of familiarity with the vernacular. Like the miner hunting for gold, the teacher studies the nature of the indifferent pupil to find the inborn capacity which can be aroused and put to work. Since occupational classes are of the essence of modern social organization, the school may properly set the pupil to thinking early about his future vocation, to reading its literature, to associating with older persons who are successful workers in it, so that he may acquire the appropriate mental attitude. A part of this attitude, that toward other occupations and the public, is best acquired in school.
. . . But there was once assumed-a permanent division between a leisure class and a laboring class. Education, beyond at least the mere rudiments, was intended only for the former. Its subject-matter and its methods were designed for those who were sufficiently well off so that they did not have to work for a living. The stigma attached to working with the hands was especially strong. In aristocratic and feudal countries such work was done by slaves or serfs, and the sense of social inferiority attached to these classes naturally led to contempt for the pursuits in which they were engaged. Training for them was a servile sort of education, while liberal education was an education for a free man, and a free man was a member of the upper classes, one who did not have to engage in labor for his own support or that of others. The antagonism to industry which was generated extended itself to all activities requiring use of the hands. A "gentleman" would not use his hands or train them to skill, save for sport or war. To employ the hands was to do useful work for others, while to render personal service to others was a badge of a dependent social and political status. - Dewey, Schools of To-morrow, pp. 231, 232. Copyrighted, 1915, by E. P. Dutton & Co., New York.
. . . The son of the wealthy man sits in the same class with the son of the laborer. In Washington we saw the son of the President of the United States, two grandsons of the late President Garfield, and many children of members of Congress, sitting and working in the same classes with the children of coachmen, gardeners, laborers, etc. Not the slightest difference is observed in regard to these children; they mix in the classes and on the playgrounds on terms of perfect equality. ... - The Mosely Commission, quoted in The Outlook, Vol. 77, p. 114.
. . . We would not perpetuate false ideals of caste, but we must preserve in some form that compactness of social structure, capable of receiving and transmitting definite standards of behavior, on which the influence of caste depends, and without subjection to which the child is denied the most important element in education. - Lee, Play in Education, p. 377.