Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia
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The Origin and Ideals of the Modern School (1908)
J. McCabe, trans. (1913)
- There must be a co-education of the different social classes as well as of the two sexes. I might have founded a school giving lessons gratuitously; but a school for poor children only would not be a rational school, since, if they were not taught submission and credulity as in the old type of school, they would have been strongly disposed to rebel, and would instinctively cherish sentiments of hatred.
- There is no escape from the dilemma. There is no middle term in the school for the disinherited class alone; you have either a systematic insistence, by means of false teaching, on error and ignorance, or hatred of those who domineer and exploit.
- I venture to say quite plainly: the oppressed and the exploited have a right to rebel, because they have to reclaim their rights until they enjoy their full share in the common patrimony. The Modern School, however, has to deal with children, whom it prepares by instruction for the state of manhood, and it must not anticipate the cravings and hatreds, the adhesions and rebellions, which may be fitting sentiments in the adult. In other words, it must not seek to gather fruit until it has been produced by cultivation, nor must it attempt to implant a sense of responsibility until it has equipped the conscience with the fundamental conditions of such responsibility. Let it teach the children to be men; when they are men, they may declare themselves rebels against injustice.
- It needs very little reflection to see that a school for rich children only cannot be a rational school. From the very nature of things it will tend to insist on the maintenance of privilege and the securing of their advantages. The only sound and enlightened form of school is that which co-educates the poor and the rich, which brings the one class into touch with the other in the innocent equality of childhood, by means of the systematic equality of the rational school.
- If modern pedagogy means an effort towards the realisation of a new and more just form of society; if it means that we propose to instruct the rising generation in the causes which have brought about and maintain the lack of social equilibrium; if it means that we are anxious to prepare the race for better days, freeing it from religious fiction and from all idea of submission to an inevitable socio-economic inequality; we cannot entrust it to the State or to other official organisms which necessarily maintain existing privileges and support the laws which at present consecrate the exploitation of one man by another, the pernicious source of the worst abuses.