Mr. Gradgrind (pronounced grade grind) is a type of teacher
who was just then coming into England. He prepared the youngsters
to fit their industrial niches. The key theory of social
relations at the time was Utilitarianism. Everything that could
be subordinated to efficient production methods should be
      Here's what Charles Dickens said about some of these 
"efficiency" schools:
      "I don't like that sort of school -- and I have seen
      a good many such in these later times -- where the bright
      childish imagination is utterly discouraged, and where
      those bright childish faces, which it is so very good for
      the wisest among us to remember in after life, when the
      world is too much with us early and late, are gloomily
      and grimly scared out of countenance; where I have never
      seen among the boys or girls, anything but little parrots
      and small calculating machines."