The Soviet school experiment: Socio-politicization and academic decline, 1917-1931

Marian Elizabeth O'Meara, Fordham University


This dissertation examines the school system of Soviet Russia which developed in the transition period immediately following the October Revolution of 1917 and preceding the Stalinist era. The primacy of social and political goals in school policies and practices during this period was accompanied by a catastrophic decline in academic progress which raises the question of a possible causal relationship between them. It is this question which forms the basis for the study. The specific pattern which is used in reporting the data and conclusions is a topical arrangement of major socio-political themes which animated policy and practice in early Soviet schools. The first five chapters follow a logical sequence from Marxian theory, to Leninist interpretation, to actual school practices and methodology. An examination of the relationship of these socio-political themes to academic decline is presented in each chapter. The concluding chapter outlines the educational growth during the tsarist regime just prior to the revolution and contrasts it with the decline which followed. External forces such as the effects of war and economic devastation are examined to determine the weight of their influence as contributory factors to the ensuing decline. A summary of the preceding chapters is presented to demonstrate the conclusion that socio-politicization was the primary cause of academic decline. The return to traditional school methods and practices in the 1930s enforced by centralized control completes a cyclic pattern from socio-politicization to academic decline to government intervention which is postulated as a fundamental pattern applicable to the wider society.

Subject Area

Education history|School administration|European history

Recommended Citation

O'Meara, Marian Elizabeth, "The Soviet school experiment: Socio-politicization and academic decline, 1917-1931" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9708264.