The Road to Freedom - #1
Give us your children—or go to jail.
Love, Your Government
160 Years of Compulsory State Schooling
When parents in Massachusetts defied the state in the 1850's and refused to send their children to its compulsory schools, the state let them know at gunpoint that attendance was not optional, that the government's plans for children prevailed over parents' wishes.
For over 160 years since, many parents have felt trapped by public schools. Many have tried to reform those schools to serve the best interests of their children. For 160 years, they've been losing ground -- losing to political agendas, unions, special interests, and plain old bureaucracy.
Maybe you're one of those parents. You're frustrated with schools that:
- fail to curb bullying, mean-spirited teasing and social cliques.
- fail to educate your child to the high standards you desire for him or her.
- ignore your concerns about curriculum content.
- penalize your child for conditions outside his or her control, such as illness or family emergencies.
- pressure you to medicate your child against your better judgment.
- demean your child and rob him or her of self-confidence.
So many parents feel helpless in the face of school authority. They feel there is nothing they can do but submit and hope for the best. You meet with teachers, volunteer in the classroom, help raise money, work for reform, even address the school board and write to the paper. But nothing seems to make a real difference, and you feel stuck in the system. To make matters worse, you may even be afraid. Parents have been fined and jailed for failing to produce their children at the school door. This is compulsory state schooling.
Is there really nothing you can do about it? Is your only real choice to turn your children over to government schools and devote your evenings, weekends and summers to neutralizing the damage done?
There is something you can do about it.
But first you should understand why reforming schools is not the answer -- it is not a fixable problem.
Public schools were designed to serve the needs of the state. Consider this brief history of compulsory state schooling:
- 500s BC. In ancient Sparta, children were removed from their homes at age seven and trained to serve the state as soldiers.
- 1500s. Beginning with some of the German provinces and spreading to other European countries, compulsory state schooling emphasized submission to governmental authority. Families who refused to send children were fined and risked losing their children.
- 1600s. Puritan settlers in America instituted compulsory schools to reinforce "proper" religious beliefs and submission to authority.
- 1700s. The settling of the land and the American Revolution interfered with the efforts of social reformers. Left free, education thrived and literacy grew to the point that foreign visitors were amazed at how much Americans read and discussed issues and politics.
- 1800s. Determined social reformers in New England finally won the battle for compulsory state schooling and the practice spread throughout the states.
- 1900s. The noose tightened. School years were lengthened and subjects usually reserved for the family were preempted by the schools. Parents lost what little influence they had in schools as unions and politicians grasped for more control. State regulations eroded the freedom of good teachers to do their job. Special interests became adept at using the power of the state to corner captive children for their various causes.
- 2008. 160 years into this experiment on our children and what do we have to show for it? Schools patrolled by police officers, rampant drug and alcohol abuse by students, dropping literacy rates, a growing child-psychiatric industry, crumbling families.
We have something else to show for it-- growing dependence on the state. That's what it was really all about to start with. If we judge the effort by its goals, we have to say that it's been a wild success.
Are you frustrated with our state system of schooling? Do you feel you're sacrificing your children to the whims of politicians, reformers, and special interests -- that you're a pawn in a game you're no longer willing to play? Do you feel you've given public schools enough chances -- that they've monopolized your life for long enough? Are you weary of their demands on your children, your family, and your pocketbook?
Maybe you're not a parent, but you are someone who cares deeply about children, education and freedom. This message is for you, too.
Did you know that 8 million students in the United States are educated outside the control of the state? That's one-seventh of all students!
We want to take you on a freedom journey. We want to share with you the knowledge that will start you on the most thrilling voyage of your life. We'll have to delve a little more into what's wrong with compulsory state schooling (ignorance is not bliss) -- then we'll explore all the exciting alternatives.
Sources and Notes
Next Article: Special Interest Groups Love Compulsory State Schooling
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Road to Freedom - #1
Last updated January 24, 2008
Welcome to our Road to Freedom Series!
These six short articles will take you only minutes to read but may very well change your life.
Each article ends with a link to the next. The last article ends with many options, from learning more to taking immediate action that will lead to educational independence for you or someone you care about.
Some of the more
well-known signers of our proclamation:
President, Cato Institute
John Taylor Gatto
1991 New York State Teacher of the Year
Fr. John A Hardon
The Catholic Catechism
Former Secretary of Interior
D. James Kennedy
Coral Ridge Ministries
Rev. Tim LaHaye
Rabbi Daniel Lapin
President, Toward Tradition
Founder, Domino’s Pizza
US Congressman, Texas
John K Rosemond
Parenting Author, Columnist, Speaker
They and thousands of others have signed Our Proclamation:
"I favor ending government involvement in education."