A teacher once explained that the Prussians had a problem with their army running away on battlefields once the cannonballs started to fly. They then started compulsory public education to indoctrinate the children to patriotism. They would love their country so much, they would stay to become cannon fodder. This worked so well, most countries followed their lead.
Forced public education has never been about content. It's always been about indoctrinating children into a state approved belief system. Content was just something that happened to justify their main purpose.
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