At the dawn of the 20th century, educators were faced with a huge influx of children from foreign-immigrant families and families coming to the cities from farmlands. Educators turned to America’s signature dynamo at the time, the factory, after which they modeled America’s comprehensive secondary schools.
Got it? I'll give you a hint. Educators didn't model schools after the factory, at least not directly.
Educators turned to the government to run the schools and then these government-run schools turned to the factory model. And, therein lies the rub.
Steiny goes on to set-up an extended metaphor that completely misses the mark due to this omission.
As it turned out, the problem wasn't with the new immigrants--they eventually performed as well as other Americans who came from Europe. The problem was that no one had ever figured out how to educate the unwashed masses-- the lower 75% of society. So when we turned the enterprise over to the government, the government had no successful model to emulate, so the "factories" they set-up were all defective. In a properly-operating free-market, the market would work behind the scenes to divert resources from the failed models to the more successful models. Deprived of resources, the underperforming schools would close down and the successful schools would be emulated. But with government in the act, the free market is pushed to the side. Resources are determined by politics. With no incentive to improve, schools don't try. No failing school gets closed. The result is, well, the system we have today. Today, schools are only capable of educating the same kinds of kids the were capable of educating back in the early 20th century. The unwashed masses don't get educated.
You can always spot an unreformed lefty by this large intellectual blindspot. This blindspot marred the otherwise well-written book by Sherman Dorn, Accountability Frankenstein. Dorn takes pains to describe the forces that affected and shaped the American education system but inexplicably fails to mention the one, most likely the largest and most influential factor. That's too bad, especially since Dorn tries so hard to be evenhanded.