The theories of Horace Mann were abandoned by our public school system long ago. Unfortunately, in the interest of privatizing said education system so that all those millions of public tax dollars can fatten the coffers of the “education” industry, they were gradually slipped back in along with so-called “education reform” beginning in the 1980s. That was when the purpose of education, which had, indeed, become learning and developing people’s critical thinking skills, was suddenly dismissed as “bad” because “it doesn’t prepare students for the workplace.”
In other words, teaching people to learn and to enjoy learning, and developing critical thinking skills, was labeled “bad education.” It has only gotten worse. I recommend you grab either REIGN OF ERROR or THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM for some basic information on why the situation is as you see it. Then, if you really want to see this stop, check out some of the grassroots groups who are fighting to keep public education both alive and what it should be.