While reading page 3 of John Taylor Gatto’s Weapons of Mass Instruction I wondered if it was true that in 1939 an executive director of the National Education Association claimed that the NEA would “accomplish by education what dictators in Europe are seeking to do by compulsion and force.”
Unverified: The statement was made in 1933 by Louis Alber, a mouthpiece of FDR’s National Recovery Administration. (Wondering if Alber joined the NEA after leaving the NRA, I searched the NEA website for Louis Alber and found no matches for his name.)
Verified: Louis Alber claimed that the United States government was trying to accomplish certain aims of Hitler and Stalin through public education.
I found an excerpt of Alber’s objectives in an online publication that reprinted a 1970 article that referenced Alber. The text is reproduced here with emphasis added:
The Shreveport [Louisiana] Journal of January 20, 1970 carried an article entitled: “And It Came to Pass” in its Views from Other Newspapers section in which the author asked:
JACKSON (MISS.) DAILY NEWS—Has HEW Replaced NRA [National Recovery Act]?
Thirty-seven years ago an unbelieving editor sat down and wrote an editorial for his paper, The Monroe Evening News of Monroe, Michigan, USA. The date was Wednesday, September 13, 1933. Under the Lead Line, “Not That!”, that incredulous American newspaper editor went on to ask his readers of three decades ago, “Are the schools of America to be used as a propaganda agency to mould public opinion into conformity with the policies of the administration?” Still in a tone of utter disbelief that editor went on to quote from an interview with one Louis Alber, chief of the speakers division of the National Recovery Act. “Just read these astounding utterances by Mr. Alber,” the editor challenges his subscribers.
The rugged individualism of Americanism must go, because it is contrary to the purposes of the New Deal and the NRA which is remaking America.
Russia and Germany are attempting to compel a new order by means of their nationalism-compulsion. The United States will do it by moral persuasion. Of course we expect some opposition, but the principles of the New Deal must be carried to the youth of the nation. We expect to accomplish by education what dictators in Europe are seeking to do by compulsion and force.
Mr. Alber went on to explain that a “primer” outlining methods of teaching to be used, along with motion pictures on the subject, were being prepared for distribution to all public and parochial schools and commented that: “NRA is the outstanding part of the President’s program, but in fact it is only a fragment. The general public is not informed on the other parts of the program, and the schools are the places to reach the future builders of the nation.”