One of the first things people fail to apprehend about the work seems to be that it was published in 1918. Ideas about class and place in society were different, and somewhat less freighted with ideological baggage, as well as being free of any post-WWI & WWII eugenics fall-out. He seems more concerned with structuring education to serve the needs of the students than I've ever seen him given credit for, certainly - as well as the needs of society and economics/industry.
In short, I don't think his vision of the purpose and function of secondary education was simply to turn out cogs for the machine, as has been suggested by a couple of things I've read. On the other hand, I can see how someone who wasn't paying attention to the historical context, or who just dipped in and grabbed some handy looking quotes without reading the whole work (it's not huge, but it's not small either) could easily take some of what he has to say in a very fascistic light.
As a tangential result, I am becoming yet more and more irritated with the people who invented and popularized the sound bite. If/when I go mad(der) it will probably manifest as me running around grabbing people by the lapels and shouting context, you fools! it's all about context! until I'm brought down in my froth by a tranquilizer dart.