Gary K. Clabaugh, Emeritus Professor of Education, La Salle University


Education and the Cult of Efficiency is a classic because it adds a vital perspective to public schooling’s historic narrative.[i]  It explains the origins of the outlook that dominate today’s largely counter-productive efforts at school reform.

Broadly speaking, today’s school reformers:

  • misuse and overemphasize high-stakes testing,
  • are preoccupied with narrow vocational objectives,
  • utterly rely on top-down, non-consultative, decision making,
  • bully teachers instead of eliciting their cooperation,
  • fault public education for the inevitable academic consequences of festering social and economic injustices.

Many wonder how such a misbegotten agenda ever became so dominant.[ii] Callahan describes its beginnings.

Education and the Cult of Efficiency focuses on that critical period (1900–1930) when the general social and economic climate pushed public schooling into a long-lasting embrace of what Callahan labels “the cult of efficiency.”

Until Congress sharply restricted immigration in the mid-1920s, an unprecedented flood of immigrants poured into the United States. Combined with the simultaneous mass movement of millions from farm to city, this influx ballooned urban school enrollment, creating unprecedented funding challenges. Between 1906 and 1917, for example, the School District of Philadelphia had to build 44 new elementary and 6 new high schools.[iii] That’s 50 new schools in just 11 years.

Temple, Town Meeting, and Factory

What people wanted from these schools varied from person to person and pressure group to pressure group. But we can make sense of these varied expectations if we recast them in terms of three ideal types. Every school incorporates all three of these types to a greater or lesser degree, although one is typically dominant.

The most time-honored ideal type is the school as temple. Its origin can be traced back some 6,000 years to the very first schools. Here the focus is on tradition, values, and proper behavior. The United States Military Academy at West Point is an excellent example of a temple-dominant school.

The school as temple sharply contrasts with the school as town meeting. Here the focus is on accommodating individual differences through civility, bargaining, and compromise. Quaker (Society of Friends) schools typically exemplify town meeting-dominant education.

The most recent ideal type, originating in the 1900–1930 time period is the school as factory. Here the dominant concern is efficiency and productivity. This focus was a consequence of the explosive growth of urban school populations and related costs just described, along with the rampant inflation that was occurring at the time. This one-two punch generated intense funding pressure—so intense, in fact, that school administrators could hardly avoid industrial-style management. Efficiency—defined as low per-pupil cost — became their top priority, and the school as factory was born.[iv]

Largely absent from these factory-dominant schools were concerns about tradition, pride of work, personal happiness, life fulfillment, depth of character, abiding values, group membership, and “proper” behavior—all manifestations of the now largely ignored school as temple.

Similarly absent was a focus on democratic decision-making, individual differences, concern for others, civility, and willingness to compromise, all key elements of the school as town meeting — and, by the way, of a functioning democracy.

The first public schools, usually one-room affairs, were a combination of temple and town meeting. But with the explosive growth of urban public schooling, these priorities were largely left to elite private schools. Ordinary people’s children now ended up in factory-dominant schools.[v]

Despite some minor waxing and waning, usually more cosmetic than real, the school as factory, remained dominant throughout the twentieth century. Plus today’s reformers are insuring its continued dominance in this century. Like their early twentieth-century predecessors, for instance, they still proceed with a top-down style of corporate management that imperiously disregards teacher knowledge and experience. Moreover they waste educators’ irreplaceable time and energy on over-emphasized (and badly misused) high-stakes, quality-control testing that foolishly applies a single proficiency standard to all and sundry.

Taken collectively, these contemporary school as factory “reformers” exceed any of the excesses Callahan describes. By initiating new school as factory-style “innovations” such as: contracting out ancillary and auxiliary school services; privatizing school district management; and pushing privately managed, publicly financed charter schools— even including those managed by for-profit by corporate chains — these amateur dabblers are engaged in an absolutely impassioned embrace of Callahan’s “cult of efficiency.”

The New Breed

In the Callahan era, business-style school management fit the spirit of the time. President Coolidge famously captured that spirit when he said: “The chief business of the American people is business.”[vi] And Callahan emphasizes that the public school’s unique organization, support, and voter control made it especially susceptible to this zeitgeist. Meanwhile, however, elite private schooling scoffed at such industrialization. Clearly, that was for ordinary people’s children.

Callahan describes how “experts” began preaching the virtues of “scientific” business methods and practices. They sermonized that modern schools should be run like the most up-to-date industrial corporations, using as their guides cost accounting and cost management.[vii] And they promised that running the schools like a business would, by improving efficiency, solve the public school funding crises.

Most of these scientific management types were professors who, in addition to advising industry, wrote influential school administration texts, acted as consultants to major city school systems, and trained industrial-style school administrators in newly minted departments of educational administration.[viii]

Callahan describes how business-oriented school boards, elected by cost-conscious voters, eagerly hired these new industrial-style managers. The expectation was that they would put the school district in the black by focusing on per-pupil costs. Callahan explains that if budget restrictions meant, say, offering only one foreign language, these business-trained managers were expected to do just that.

Make no mistake, Callahan unambiguously disapproves of business methods and industrial values for school management. He charges that it debases schooling, and offers plentiful evidence that these allegedly superior management methods were typically based on scientifically primitive studies of heavy industry—the production of pig iron being one example.

Callahan also charges that this new breed of “scientific” managers was both uneducated and unscholarly. No liberal arts were included in their training, he says, and they were rarely required to study things like educational philosophy, teaching methodology, or child development. Callahan thinks that school leaders trained in this manner were not equipped to ask the basic questions in education. Moreover, they had no real understanding of what being educated actually means. Worse still, they no longer identified with educators, but with business executives.[ix]

Callahan laments that America’s habitual anti-intellectualism legitimized the ignorance of these new era managers. Their supposedly pragmatic style of leadership often appealed to the businessmen who increasingly dominated local boards of education. But their contempt for “mere book larnin” badly damaged public education.[x]

A Nation at Risk and the Muckrakers

The present very durable wave of school reform was touched off by the Reagan administration’s release of A Nation at Risk. This one-sided jeremiad set off a deluge of criticism that has yet to abate. It is now more or less taken for granted that our public schools are substandard and that something drastic must be done.

During the cult-of-efficiency era Callahan describes, there was a similar happening. The early 1900s saw the rise of investigative journalists and novelists called muckrakers. Their detailing of business abuses and government corruption proved both popular and profitable. Soon a formidable cluster of popular journals such as McClure’s, Colliers, and The Saturday Evening Post were shocking the public with lurid revelations.

Soon public schooling was added to the muckrakers’ target list. Just as with A Nation at Risk, alarmed readers were repeatedly told that their public schools were horribly managed and that reforms were urgently needed. Predictably, the remedy that the muckrakers most often recommended was “scientific management.”[xi]

The “Cult of Efficiency”

Callahan details how business values, muckraking journalism, public cost concerns, and the “scientific” management movement combined to form a “cult of efficiency.” And he explains that public schooling’s susceptibility to pressure, fads, and fancies meant that this cult spread like metastasizing cancer.

One of the more interesting features of Callahan’s book is his detailed description of some of the cult’s major evangelists. The University of Chicago’s John Franklin Bobbitt, for instance, was one of the new faith’s most prominent “preachers.” Bobbitt’s lectures and publications brashly reduced public education to industrial proportions, transformed schools into factories, and urged American educators to make efficiency their master. Callahan documents the extremity of Bobbitt’s pro-business bias with numerous quotes and examples, and demonstrates how Bobbitt’s recommendations were based on his background as an advisor to heavy industry.

In an era with little job security, only a few educators had the gumption to openly reject this new vision of schooling. One was Thomas J. McCormick, a high school principal from La Salle, Illinois. He informed the Bobbitt-embracing National Education Association’s Department of Secondary Education that the word “practical” required a much deeper meaning than was being assigned to it by the scientific management crowd. Plus he chided these NEA officials[xii] that in their “inordinate zeal to ‘practicalize’ and popularize education,” they were forgetting that its purpose was “to make men and women as well as engineers and ‘rope-stretchers.’”[xiii]

“Scientific Management,” or the Taylor Method

“Scientific management” played such a key role in the cult of efficiency that Callahan devotes a chapter to it. He describes how it first captured national attention in 1910 when this method played a pivotal role in an Interstate Commerce Commission hearing on railroad freight rates. A number of witnesses testified that if the railroads would only adopt scientific management, they could increase wages and still lower costs. One “expert” even testified that scientific management could revolutionize the whole of industry to the same degree, as had the introduction of machinery.

These I.C.C. hearings vaulted scientific management, along with its chief architect, mechanical engineer Frederick W. Taylor, from obscurity to national prominence.[xiv] Taylor was certain there was one best way to do any job, and scientific investigation could reveal what that was. Apply it, he promised, and costs will fall as productivity soars.

Taylor assured all and sundry that his method could cancel out “the innate laziness of men,” save money, and dramatically improve production.[xv] For him the workers’ role was simply to do exactly as they were told because, according to Taylor, they were incapable of understanding the scientific basis of the procedure.[xvi] And if they refuse to cooperate fully, they should be sacked.[xvii]

Taylor’s ideas were soon applied to public schools. Callahan describes how: “His ideas were adopted, interpreted and applied chiefly by administrators: and while the greatest impact was upon administration, the administrator, and the professional training programs of administration, the influence extended to all of American education from the elementary schools to the universities.”[xviii]

Should the reader doubt that we now are experiencing a rebirth of Taylor’s system, here is teacherbiz’s description of what is going on right now in Camden, New Jersey’s, public schools: “Professional educators with decades of experience are being provided with canned, scripted curricular units that even go so far as to tell teachers what to say and what to write on the board [emphasis in original] in virtually every lesson; these units must be followed to the day, without diversions to accommodate for struggling students, etc.[xix] Numerous traditional public schools, charter schools, and charter school chains (for example, KIPP, the largest corporate charter school chain in the United States) follow such a procedure.[xx]

To any skilled teacher this system is plainly ridiculous. But far too many contemporary reformers, school administrators, and school corporate heads still think that scripted lessons are the latest thing.

Scripted lessons do have the “advantage” of encouraging experienced, more expensive, and independent-minded teachers to quit—or, as was the case in New Orleans, be fired as charter schools took over. Then underqualified, but less expensive and more compliant replacements can be recruited from “alternative” sources, such as Teach for America.[xxi]

“Scientific management” was supposedly based on precise measurement—typically, time and motion studies. School managers were to use the resultant data to tell teachers precisely what to do, when to do it, and how long it must take. Underlying this lockstep approach was one of Taylor’s key assumptions: “Most of us remain, through the great part of our lives, in this respect, grown-up children, and do our best only under pressure of a task of comparatively short duration.”[xxii] Taylor’s ultimate goal was to get the absolute most out of teacher/workers without, as he solicitously puts it, “injuring their health.”[xxiii]

Taylor also recommended paying the most efficient workers bonuses. He said his experiments disclosed that people would not work at a higher rate of speed unless they were paid more and assured that the pay increase was permanent.[xxiv] This was one aspect of Taylor’s system that school policy makers routinely ignored.

Other Evangelists

Frank Spaulding, chairman of the newly formed Department of Education at Yale University, was another leading light in the “scientific” management of schools. It was Spaulding, Callahan explains, who introduced “costs per pupils,” “investment per pupil,” and references to students as “products” of the “school plant.”[xxv] Spaulding stated, unambiguously, that what is to be taught must ultimately be determined on financial, not educational, grounds.[xxvi]

Other advocates of “scientific” management included the previously mentioned Franklin Bobbitt, an influential University of Chicago professor. Callahan reports that Bobbitt regarded teachers as mere “workers” (“more mechanics than philosophers,” as Bobbitt disdainfully put it). Bobbitt also asserted that they require a top-down style of management and detailed instruction in the methods to be employed. Regarding overall goals, Bobbitt recommended that a clear-cut set of exact standards be supplied by the business and industrial world—as a public service.[xxvii]

One might think that Spaulding, Bobbitt, and company outdid all contemporary reformers in transforming public schools into factories. But neither they nor any other early twentieth-century reformers ever advocated anything like replacing traditional schools with privately managed, publicly financed charter schools—many of them operated by for-profit corporate chains.

High-Stakes Tests and Teacher Ratings

Like today’s reformers, cult-of-efficiency advocates depended heavily on high-stakes tests. Callahan reports that many educators thought this unwise, though most voiced no opposition—perhaps because their jobs might be at stake. Once in a while, though, an enraged pedagogue would speak out. Here is what William E. Maxwell, the school superintendent of New York City, had to say:

“When I read that…after shedding lakes of ink and using up untold reams of paper and consuming the time of un-numbered teachers in administering and scoring the Courtis standard tests in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, the learned director reached the conclusion that “29% of the pupils in the eighth grade could exchange places with a like number of students in the fourth grade,” I am inclined to exclaim: “My dear sir, what do you expect? That all the children in a grade would show equal ability in adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing? Any teacher of experience could have told you that they would not. You should have known it yourself. One flash of Horace Mann’s insight would be worth a thousand miles of your statistics.”[xxviii]

Of course current efforts to reform public schooling also are dependent on high-stakes testing.[xxix] But today’s outcomes are widely disseminated to the media to pressure educators. A suburban Philadelphia newspaper, for example, features the following headline: “Board Addresses Decrease in Test Scores.” And the first line of the story reads: “A number of lower scores on standardized tests left officials in the Wissahickon School District with a lot of explaining to do.”[xxx]

This kind of negative press is a key reason why more and more educators just teach to the test. Still others, finding it impossible to legitimately raise scores to the demanded level, resort to cheating. But despite these difficulties, it is a rare school administrator who has the guts to question this priority.

Teacher Accountability

Like today’s advocates for change, Callahan’s early twentieth-century reformers also tried to hold teachers accountable. In 1913 the American School Board Journal reported that urban administrators were “almost without exception” working out “elaborate plans for rating the work of instructors.”[xxxi] Sometimes these evaluations included all school personnel, even the janitor.[xxxii]

One particularly disturbing aspect of some rating schemes was crediting the teacher with the percentage of children promoted. Higher promotion rates resulted in substantial dollar savings.[xxxiii] This encouraged teachers to pass students regardless. In this case, notes Callahan, cost accounting, superseded instruction.

Callahan also reports that the difficulty of including relevant social, economic, and educational factors in the ratings caused many teachers to ultimately be assessed on an administrator’s general impressions.[xxxiv] And it seems unlikely that those developing these ratings considered that classrooms were often vastly overcrowded, and that underpaid and overworked teachers were not only expected to successfully instruct, but to comfort the afflicted; inspire the defeated; rein in bullies; correct disruptive behavior; observe the children for signs of abuse and/or neglect; instill a love of learning, patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, and fair play; check heads for lice; teach students manners; cope with kids (and parents) who spoke little or no English; and do all of this with nothing more than some chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, and a few outdated text books that were not of their own choosing.[xxxv]

The Timid, Docile Teacher

Callahan reports that many administrators doubted they could rate teachers fairly. But they rated them anyway. He attributes this to self-defense.[xxxvi] Teachers also regarded these ratings as odious and unfair. Yet, as was expected, they still meekly, if resentfully, put up with them.

Callahan remarks: “the teacher had been, and was expected to be, timid.”[xxxvii] He attributes this timidity to teacher powerlessness and vulnerability. Most worked without tenure and could easily be fired.[xxxviii] He adds, though, that the teachers of this era generally were timid, unassertive individuals to begin with. He quotes John Dewey on this: “In the main the most docile of the young are the ones who become teachers when they are adults. Consequently they still listen docilely to the voice of authority.”[xxxix]

Both Callahan and Dewey fail to recognize that this docility might have been largely attributable to the fact that the teaching force was overwhelmingly female in a male-dominated world.[xl]

School Quality Surveys

The “scientific management” of the 1920’s and 30’s also featured school-quality surveys similar in intent to the ratings required by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. The “experts” conducting these surveys typically were professors from the newly established and rapidly expanding university-based programs in educational administration. Focusing on price and product and uncritically embracing business-style management, they provoked limited, if prestigious, opposition.

John Dewey, for instance, strongly opposed the application of business procedures and industrial values to schooling. He recognized the power and place of genuine science in education, but he repeatedly criticized as oversimplified and unscientific the supposedly “scientific” management then being conducted. [xli]

Dewey wryly observed that most of the “scientific” initiatives in the works at that time were really the same old education masquerading as science. He also asserted that while testing can be valuable, it was being put to exactly the wrong purposes. Instead of being used to gain a better understanding of children, it was being misused to classify and standardize them.[xlii] Dewey’s concerns, along with those of other prestigious critics, were largely ignored.

The Platoon School

Callahan also describes the birth growth, and large scale adoption of the platoon school. It was, in essence, a pedagogical assembly line, splitting students into platoons that moved from one specialist teacher to another according to a rigid schedule. One platoon might be studying arithmetic with that specialist teacher; another might be working on art or physical education with these specialist teachers; still another might be completing a science assignment in the back of an English classroom while a basic grammar lesson was going on.

The core idea was to make maximum use of the “school plant” and its facilities. Even six-year-olds had six or seven teachers a day—sometimes more. In this system dollar values largely replaced educational values in decision making. Callahan describes, for instance, how the retention of children in a grade was balanced by making an equal number of double promotions. Of course the essential problem with it was, and is, that students are human beings, not industrial products.

The platoon school is still around — though in somewhat less severe form. Secondary schools with their tight schedules, specialist teachers, and lockstep schedules are direct descendants. But until it began to fall out of favor around 1930, the platoon system also was widely used in elementary schools.[xliii]

Climate of the Times in Which the Work Was Written

Callahan began working on this book in 1957 when the Cold War was very intense. The Soviet Union had just launched the first-ever man-made satellite, kindling broad fears that the United States had fallen behind the Soviets in both science and education. Congress subsequently approved, and President Eisenhower signed into law, the National Defense Education Act, the most comprehensive education legislation in the nation’s history. Among other things, it increased federal spending on education fivefold.[xliv]

While Callahan continued his research and writing on the Cult of Efficiency, ever-increasing numbers of U.S. advisors were being sent to South Vietnam. African Americans conducted a historic sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Berlin Wall was erected. The Soviet Union launched the first man into space. A U.S.-backed invasion of Cuba failed. And the Food and Drug Administration approved “the Pill.”

In 1962—the year Callahan’s work was published—the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the United States and the U.S.S.R. to the brink of mutual annihilation. U.S. involvement in Vietnam grew ever more intense. James Meredith, an African American, was admitted to the racially segregated University of Mississippi (but only because he was protected by a court order and truckloads of steel-helmeted U.S. Marshalls). And Rachel Carson’s best-selling book The Silent Spring warned of an impending worldwide environmental catastrophe.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Callahan’s Book

Callahan details a historic period in which three major developments were occurring simultaneously: industrialization, immigration, and urbanization. The interplay among these forces makes any causal analysis complex. Fortunately, Callahan’s specific concern—the transformation of public schooling to an essentially industrial model—is relatively limited in scope, as are his causal claims. Anything more ambitious would have required multiple volumes. So he gets a “pass” on this one.

The most salient strength of Education and the Cult of Efficiency is its contemporary relevance. Time and again one can see connections with what is happening today.

Another strength is the care and industry that went into its writing. Clearly it was painstakingly researched and carefully written.

A weakness is Callahan’s failure to grant full consideration to the financial need for efficiency. He doesn’t ignore this need, but at times he underplays it. Public schooling is very expensive. In the school year 2012–2013, for instance, it cost U.S. taxpayers $632 billion. But, our ill-advised invasion of Iraq cost a least $2,000,000,000, and, as Callahan strongly emphasizes, we must not allow a focus on efficiency to distort—even destroy—schooling’s ultimate purposes.

A greater weakness of the book is Callahan’s failure to consider how a predominantly female teaching force influenced the events he describes. During the period 1900 to 1930, female teachers outnumbered men by about 5 to 1. This dominance, combined with the sexism of the age, surely encouraged the condescending and dismissive view of teachers that Callahan emphasizes.

By 1930, when Callahan’s book closes, the number of male public school teachers began inching upward. By 1986, males in teaching reached a peak of 31%—nearly double that of 1930. During Reagan’s presidency, however, the percentage of male teachers began a steady decline to the present low of 23.7%.[xlv]

Do today’s reformers shrug off teacher knowledge because the teaching force still is overwhelmingly female? Would they pay more attention if it were 76.3% male? Probably.

Significance and Influence When Written and Its Relevance Today

Education and the Cult of Efficiency attracted considerable attention when it was first published. There were numerous reviews, and they generally were favorable. The Clearing House’s review, for instance, stated: “This volume should provide both layman and educator with knowledge which may be helpful in directing the future of American education.”[xlvi]

But the book did have detractors. One was the sociologist David Street who, in the American Journal of Sociology, wrote:

Educators pressing for an enlarged professional mandate over the affairs of the public schools keep stumbling over the hard fact that…their claims to a monopoly of expert knowledge are weak. Thus, while it is clear that the intrusions into the schools made by businessmen, veterans’ groups, and other outside interests have often been detrimental to American education. It is also apparent that educators have had little in the way of a solid defense against these intrusions.[xlvii]

Street seems to think that veteran teachers possess little or no hard-won knowledge. But an experienced educator knows a great deal more about teaching than the typical sociologist, school board member, businessman, politician, or school reform–minded billionaire. Why, then, don’t would-be school reformers work cooperatively with veteran teachers? Would expert accountants, veterinarians, lawyers, or physicians be similarly ignored in efforts to improve their professions?

Street also comments:

“[T]he author’s line of argument itself reflects to some extent the weakness of the education profession’s ideological position. He is certain that the efficiency-seekers were wrong, but his reply is only the oblique one that quality should be more important. The analysis and the educational philosophy underlying it do not seem to come to terms with the realities that education is involved in the local political process, that resources are never what the educator “needs,” that the superintendent must act as mediator between values of education and economy, and that he must use whatever managerial knowledge he can find. There can be no utopian concern for quality alone.”[xlviii]

Of course public school policy is political, and there can be no utopian concern for quality alone. Callahan clearly knows that. But school funding too often falls flagrantly short of the assigned mission. For instance, teachers—particularly those in revenue-starved big-city or rural schools—are often so short of vital supplies that they pay for them out of their own pockets. This was certainly going on at the time in question, yet Street fails to acknowledge anything of the sort. And one wonders if he would be so sanguine about compromised educational quality if a child he loved were being short-changed.

It certainly is true, as Street asserts, that the superintendent is caught in the middle and must use whatever knowledge is at hand. But Callahan clearly agrees with that. What he condemns are administrators who, for the sake of their careers, throw youngsters under the cost-cutting bus without a murmur of protest.

William Cartwright of Duke University offered a more thoughtful critique. He praises Callahan’s effort, but only as a “useful caricature.” He writes that the book is not really “a study of the social forces that have shaped the administration of the public schools; it is a study of only one of those forces. And even that is incomplete. It does not give adequate recognition to the fact that school superintendents are required by the very nature of their job to be business administrators.”[xlix]

Cartwright offers fair criticism. Callahan’s subtitle is too ambitious. And perhaps his account is something of a caricature, but one that artfully captures the essence of the age. Besides, as Oscar Wilde observed, “He who does not exaggerate has no right to speak the truth.”


Early on we noted that Callahan’s style is polemical. Perhaps this quote from Education and the Cult of Efficiency explains what set him on edge:

“In the end, the American people got what they deserved for forcing their educators to spend their time on accounting rather than on the education of children. Until every child has part of his work in small classes or seminars with fine teachers who have a reasonable teaching load, we will not have given the American high school, or democracy for that matter, a fair trial. To do this, America will need to break with its traditional practice, strengthened so much in the age of efficiency, of asking how our schools can be operated most economically and begin asking instead what steps need to be taken to provide an excellent education for our children. We must face the fact there is no cheap, easy way to educate a man; and (without) that a free society cannot endure.” [l]

At its conclusion Callahan offers this hope:

“[I hope this book] will provide both laymen and educators with knowledge which may be helpful in directing the future of American education…. Beyond this, it is hoped that the American people will see that the introduction into education of concepts and practices from fields such as business and industry can be a serious error. Efficiency and economy—important as they are—must be considered in the light of the quality of education being provided. Equally important is the inefficiency and false economy of forcing educators to devote their time and energy to cost accounting.”[li]

Right now Callahan’s hopes seem misbegotten. In far too many U.S. school districts cost accounting still reigns supreme. Only now it is coupled with the overuse, misuse, and abuse of standardized testing and the most intense expressions of the cult of efficiency yet devised.





[i] Rush Welter, Popular Education and Democratic Thought in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1962); Vernon Mallinson, review of Education and the Cult of Efficiency by Raymond E. Callahan, British Journal of Educational Studies, 12, no. 1 (November 1963), 87–88.

  • [ii] Private schoolsing have generally has escaped the standardized testing requirements. For instance, in Pennsylvania they are exempted from the recently imposed Keystone tests that public school students must pass to qualify for a diploma.
  • [iii] Peter Williams, Philadelphia: The World War I Years (Charleston, North CarolinaSC: Arcadia Publishing, 2013), 27.

[iv] Raymond Callahan, Education and the Cult of Efficiency (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1962), 14–15.

[v] Cost concerns mean that diocesan-controlled Roman Catholic schools typically were and are factories, too. Wealthier Catholics, however, can send their children to non-diocesan Roman Catholic academies that adopt the school as temple model.

[vi] Often misquoted as “The business of America is business.” Actually, in January 1925, Coolidge told the Society of American Newspaper Editors: “The chief business of the American people is business.” See for the full story.

[vii] Callahan, 158–161.

[viii] The formal training of school administrators was just getting under way.

[ix] Callahan, 247.

[x] Ibid.

  • [xi] Callahan,. 245.

[xii] At this time school administrators, not classroom teachers, dominated the NEA.

[xiii] Quoted in Callahan, 11.

[xiv] Callahan, 19–22.

[xv] Callahan, 27.

[xvi] Callahan quotes Taylor at length on this. See Callahan, 27.

[xvii] Quoted in Callahan, 32.

[xviii] Callahan, 41.

[xix] Predictable reform tactics in Camden, Part 2: Layoffs and Scripted Lessons. teacherbiz.

[xx] Schools Matter: Full Interview with Former Charter Teacher.

[xxi] The Great Charter School Tryout: Are New Orleans Schools a Model for the Nation or a Cautionary Tale?

[xxii] Taylor, quoted in Callahan, 29.

[xxiii] Taylor, quoted in Callahan, 31.

[xxiv] Callahan, 31.

[xxv] Callahan, 70.

[xxvi] Callahan, 73.

[xxvii] Callahan, 83.

[xxviii] Maxwell, quoted in Callahan, 122.

[xxix] This contemporary development had its origin in the 1980s with the publication of A Nation at Risk (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983).

[xxx] Eric Devlin, “Board Addresses Decrease in Test Scores,” The Ambler Gazette, December 14, 2014, 1.

[xxxi] Callahan, 104.

[xxxii] Callahan, 108.

[xxxiii] Callahan, 169.

[xxxiv] Callahan, 105.

[xxxv] Some time ago I came across a form of this list on the web but cannot relocate it.

[xxxvi] Callahan, 111.

[xxxviii] Callahan, 111.

[xxxix] Quoted in Callahan, 121.

[xl] Vintee Sawhney, The Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960’s. The CWLU History Website GrrlSmarts.

[xli] Callahan, 124–125.

[xlii] Idem.

[xliii] Callahan, 145.

[xliv] Thomas D. Snyder, ed., 120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait (Washington, DC: Center for Education Statistics, 1993), 34.

[xlv] Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011.

[xlvi] Howard F. Bolden, review of Education and the Cult of Efficiency, by Raymond E. Callahan.

The Clearing House, 37, no.7(March 1963), 441–442.

[xlvii] David Street, review of Education and the Cult of Efficiency, by Raymond E. Callahan. American Journal of Sociology, 69, no. 6 (May 1964), 673–674.

[xlviii] Idem.

[xlix] William H Cartwright, review of Education and the Cult of Efficiency, by Raymond E. Callahan. Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 49, no. 4 (March 1963), 722–723.

[l] Callahan, 120.

[li] Callahan, 263.

  • An earlier version of this article was published in Popular Educational Classics: a reader, edited by Joseph L. DeVitis, Peter Lang, New York, 2016. (Posted here with the permission of the publisher.)