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Attendance in schools that is mandated by laws

Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all people and is imposed by government. Depending on the country, this education may take place at a registered school (schooling) or at home (homeschooling).


4 Things You Probably Never Knew About John Stuart Mill, 20 May 2016
Brief introduction to Mill followed by four interesting facts about his life and thought
Mill himself had a rigourous education, though he was mostly self-taught. ... He believed that well-educated people are best equipped to conduct themselves in a moral fashion in society, and so he advocated for state exams which all people would have to master up to a certain level. Mill was not an advocate for public schooling; he believed that it infringed on people's freedoms to force them to go to one state-approved set of schools. Instead, he advocated for a voucher system which would give people greater choice in which schools they could go to.
Against Sex Education—A Letter to The Humanist, by Ralph Raico, Reason, Feb 1974
Letter to The Humanist criticizing Mary Calderone's views on sex education in public schools, presented in an interview in their May/June 1973 issue
Furthermore, there are political reasons why sex education should not be permitted in the public schools, based on the existence of compulsory school attendance laws and use of tax money (by definition, money taken by force). In the present circumstances, a sex education program would be an imposition upon a captive audience of a process designed either to change or to reinforce certain sexual values, the whole thing being paid for by money taken also from those who disapprove of those values. Pending ... the repeal of compulsory school attendance laws, sex education courses in the public schools are a totalitarian infrigement of individual rights.
Related Topic: Sexual Pleasure
Albert Jay Nock: A Gifted Pen for Radical Individualism, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Mar 1997
Biographical essay, including Nock's early life, editorship of The Freeman (1920-1924), and notable books and essays
Nock assailed one of his favorite targets, compulsory government schooling, which promoted "superstitious servile reverence for a sacrosanct State. In another view one saw [government schooling] functioning as a sort of sanhedrin, a leveling agency, prescribing uniform modes of thought, belief, conduct, social deportment, diet, recreation, hygiene; and as an inquisitional body for the enforcement of these prescriptions, for nosing out heresies and irregularities and suppressing them. In still another view one saw it functioning as a trade-unionist body ..."
America's Most Persecuted Minority, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, Aug 1994
Tells the history of post-millennial evangelical pietists (PMEP) or neo-Puritans and their crusades to ban pleasures such as liquor and smoking
... since it would be clearly unconstitutional to outlaw the Catholic Church, the PMEP substitute was to try to force all children into a network of public schools, the object of which was to inculcate obedience to the State and, in the popular slogan of the day, to 'Christianize the Catholic' kids, since Catholic adults were clearly doomed.
The Brilliant but Confused Radicalism of George Orwell, by Jeff Riggenbach, 24 Jun 2010
Transcript of the Libertarian Tradition podcast of 16 Jun 2010; biographical essay examining the argument that 1984 derives in large part from Orwell's experiences at St Cyprian's, an English boarding school
... Orwell himself acknowledged, 'everything that happened to me at St Cyprian's could happen in the most "enlightened" school, though perhaps in subtler forms.' The totalitarian essence of the St. Cyprian's experience — the experience of being dominated, bullied, spied on; the experience of being made to suffer pain and to look foolish by more powerful others against whom one had no defense — this could be visited upon a child at almost any sort of school one could imagine. It is, then, the compulsory school experience we have to examine, not just the St. Cyprian's experience, or the early-20th-century British boarding school experience.
Related Topic: George Orwell
Can Mayors Solve School Problems?, by Joseph Bast, Matthew J. Brouillette, Michigan Education Report, 16 Apr 1999
Argues for tuition tax credits after examining recent and potential changes at the Chicago and Detroit public schools
Ultimately, a mayoral takeover of schools is a short-term Band-Aid. Something more fundamental is required when only one-third of the students entering the ninth grade are able to graduate, and of those who do, fewer than one-half can read at the eighth-grade level or solve sixth-grade level math problems. The really substantive and lasting changes that are needed will occur only when families are empowered with the ability to leave a failing school and choose another.
Childhood Ends at Puberty, by Charley Reese, 15 Apr 2006
Recounts the early life of Benjamin Franklin and argues for ending formal basic education by 13
... we do young people a grave injustice [when] we keep them confined in the world's most ineffective public education system. ... To stretch out for 12 years so little knowledge is ridiculous. Basic education should be finished by the age of 12 or 13. ... Compulsory-attendance laws are another dumb idea. If parents had to face the prospect of living with their own children, instead of dumping them into the public school system, they'd make a better effort to teach them good manners. Without compulsory-attendance laws, a school could set standards and send home any student who failed to meet them.
Defenders of 'the peculiar institution', by Vin Suprynowicz, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 25 Mar 2007
Responds to a letter from a professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, mocking a previous op-ed saying that taxation violates the 13th Amendment
Weren't many things now considered impossible without employing monopoly government force once done in other ways? There were no government schools as we know them before the 1850s. Yet the founding fathers—Franklin was no rich kid—were literate beyond the dreams of most Americans today. How did that come to pass—why did de Tocqueville find America's working class the most literate on earth, when he toured America in 1831—if "only government" can make us literate?
Related Topic: Taxation
The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise, by Milton Friedman, Friedman & Szasz on Liberty and Drugs, 16 Nov 1991
Chapter adapted from keynote address at Fifth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform; examines why, 20 years after his admonition against the drug war, the government continues its attempts at enforcement, in spite of the predicted results
[T]he war on drugs is destroying our inner cities. But if I were to ask ... what is the next most important factor that is destroying the inner cities, I suspect a great many would agree with me that [it] is our defective educational system, the terrible schools in our inner cities, schools which do not teach, but which are essentially places to keep kids off the streets for a certain number of hours a day ... There are a few loopholes: private schools to which parents can send their children if they can afford to pay or, in the case of parochial schools, if they have certain religious views.
Les Economistes Libertaires, by Carl Watner, Reason, Jan 1977
Discusses the French economists of the 19th century and in particular Gustave de Molinari and his thoughts on the provision of security and defense services by private agencies
Molinari wanted private enterprise to provide all kinds of education, and he was against the establishment of State schools. Nevertheless, he thought that the State has the obligation to impose on parents the responsibility of educating their young. The act of voluntary procreation on the part of the parents makes them responsible for instructing their offspring ... [Frédéric] Passy reprimanded Molinari for his statist position, arguing that to involve the State in education in any way only opens the door to further intervention.
The Education Debate We're Not Having, by Scott McPherson, 15 Nov 2006
All this handwringing over the best way to pay for public schools distracts us from a far more important point: that we are dealing, first and last, with a broken system — and one that is inherently defective. Rather than patch it up with more money, we ought to try a different approach. Few dare speak of it, ... but an alternative to public schools does exist.
The Education Tax Racket, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 24 Aug 2001
Discusses a complaint from a director of the Arkansas Department of Education about the boom in homeschooling possibly influencing property taxes used to pay for government schools
No surprise there: parents might not want to pay for services they don't use. But are we to presume the reverse is true? That parents with kids in government schools are more likely to back tax increases? Could be, could be. Certainly kids in school are not taught to be suspicious of the powers-that-be; quite the reverse. But at least we have here a bracing look into the heart of American public education. The goal is to keep the kids in school so that they and their parents can be taught the merits of the system (the entire government sector) that keeps them there.
Related Topics: Arkansas, Homeschooling, Taxation
Étienne de La Boétie, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, May 2003
Examines the major themes in La Boétie's "Discourse": custom (habit), control of information, buying off the people and withdrawal of consent
[T]he tyrant's main challenge was to reduce dissent ... by monopolizing education, because "books and teaching more than anything else give men the sense to comprehend their own nature and to detest tyranny." ... Moreover, with control of information, the tyrant could "educate" people in the belief that he acted only to further public welfare. He could inculcate the belief that his administration was a living embodiment of such concepts as justice, tradition, patriotism, law and order, or the public good. Thus, to oppose the tyrant became tantamount to opposing such concepts.
The Federal War on Gold, Part 3, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Oct 2006
Describes Franklin Roosevelt's 1933 executive order confiscating gold held by U.S. citizens and the congressional act nullifying gold clauses in contracts, its constitutional ramifications and subsequent related history
What was the reaction of the American people to Roosevelt's gold seizure? By the 1930s, most of the United States had been under systems of public (i.e., government) schooling for at least three decades. After years of such indoctrination, ... most of them ... now deferred to the wisdom of federal officials to deal with such complicated subjects as economics, depressions, and monetary policy ... The additional value of the public-school indoctrination was that it effectively immunized federal officials from having to bear responsibility for the consequences of their own wrongful conduct.
Freedom, Virtue, and Responsibility, Part 2, by Jacob G. Hornberger, May 1994
Provides examples from taxes, the "dole", public housing and licensing that show how the welfare state and managed economy undermine human well-being, contrasting life in Russia under socialism vs. the supposed freedom in the United States
[C]onsider the harm done to people through public schooling, a central feature of the welfare state. Compulsory schooling involves a conviction that all children should be treated alike—that they should be herded into ... institutions [to] be indoctrinated by ... [teachers] using government-approved textbooks. But what about the child who is better off not even attending school? What about a Mozart who wishes to spend every waking hour at the piano ...? What about the entrepreneur who wishes to go to work at the age of eight? What about the person like Abraham Lincoln who wishes to educate himself ...?
Freeing the Education Market, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Mar 1993
Examines the effects of compulsory public education on literacy rates and suggests market alternatives
Before 1850, when Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to force children to go to school, literacy was at 98 percent ... The schools were, at the very least, supposed to teach children to read. If after nearly 150 years of compulsory, governmental schooling, the literacy rate is lower than it was when parents freely saw to their children's education, what has been the point of "public education"? ... The most revealing feature of public schooling is compulsory attendance ... Nothing is less suited to an environment of learning than compulsion. The very idea of compulsory learning is ludicrous.
Government in Business, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Freeman, Sep 1956
Contrasts characteristics of government-run enterprises with those of privately operated businesses and counters the argument of running government "like a business"
In the midst of nationwide prosperity, some economic and social problems keep nagging at the public ... overcrowded schools, juvenile delinquency ... Fierce battles are raging between warring groups of Americans. Some want "progressive" education; others want varying blends of the traditional. Some want socialism taught in the schools; others favor free enterprise. Some want religion in the schools, and others proclaim separation of Church and State ... There is something special—for the problems of schooling ... are examples of what happens when government ... operates a business.
UpdGovernment Interventionism in Ireland, Part 2, by Scott McPherson, Freedom Daily, Jun 2004
Continued examination of the differences between Irish Protestants and Catholics in the early 20th century, suggesting the principles advocated by Mises could have resulted in better outcomes
If Catholics and Protestants are to live peacefully side by side, neither must have the ability to impose a foreign culture on the other. The best means of having that ability, of course, would be government control of the educational system. "Whoever controls the schools has the power to injure other nationalities and to benefit his own," Mises wrote. Consequently,
the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes ...
How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz), The Freeman, Jun 1996
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
6. Why did states establish compulsory government schools? ... The government school movement gained momentum as politically connected Protestants worked to counter the cultural influence of immigrant Catholic hordes from Ireland and Italy. By controlling school tax money and enacting compulsory attendance laws, Protestants could indoctrinate millions in schools they controlled. America was a highly literate nation long before government schools dominated education. This is apparent from the remarkable number of books sold through the mid-nineteenth century.
Is Capitalism Why We Fight?, by Gregory Bresiger, Mises Daily, 6 Apr 2006
Critical review of the theses presented in the 2005 documentary Why We Fight, also inquirying about topics omitted from the film
Yes, many Americans are historical illiterates. Next question: Why? Answer supplied by me: The greater and greater power of state education. The producers don't seem to understand the connection between the dominance of state education and the lack of even the most rudimentary understanding of history. American children today, in public schools that receive billions of federal dollars, often don't study history. Instead, they have social studies classes, with the result that many young people graduate from college without knowing when the American Civil War was fought.
Lies and Leviathan, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Aug 2006
Describes the deceit used to institute and expand the U.S. Social Security program, as well as various other programs such as job training and placement, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Office of Strategic Influence, and various duplicitous officials
Government education programs are notorious for using deceptive statistics to lull parents about the quality of schooling their children receive. School test data have been manipulated to allow "all 50 state education agencies to report above-average scores for their elementary schools, with most claiming such scores in every subject area and every grade level," as former Education Department official Larry Uzzell stated in 1989. Pervasive statistical shenanigans at local and state levels helped inspire the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind Act ...
The life and times of Murray N. Rothbard, by Jim Powell
Full title: The life and times of Murray N. Rothbard, who showed why private individuals can do just about everything that needs to be done
Lengthy biographical essay
Government schools? Rothbard: "what then would we think of a proposal for the government, federal or state, to use the taxpayers' money to set up a nationwide chain of public magazines or newspapers, and then to compel all people, or all children, to read them? ... [W]hat would we think of the government outlawing all newspapers or magazines that do not come up to certain 'standards' of what a government commission thinks children ought to read? Such a proposal would surely be regarded with horror ..., yet this is precisely the sort of regime that government has established in the schools ..."
Machiavelli and U.S. Politics, Part 4: War, by Lawrence M. Ludlow, 22 Aug 2005
Part of a six-segment series examining The Prince vis-à-vis contemporary U.S. politics; this article covers Machiavelli's simple advice on war and contrasts it with that of James Madison and Robert Higgs in Crisis and Leviathan
[L]et us trace some of the effects of the U.S. policy of interventionism and the so-called war on terror ... Gullibility. Even more important than the willingness of the press to play "follow the leader," the uncritical populace—"educated" in government-controlled schools—eats up a steady stream of propaganda. The willingness to believe lies (even after they have been exploded) and to trust government authorities is a testimony to the true product of government-controlled schooling: blind obedience.
Monopoly, Competition, and Educational Freedom, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Mar 2000
Discusses monopolies and competition in the religious, postal delivery and educational realms and criticizes a speech by Gary Becker about competition in religion and education
A true monopoly in education would mean that other means of providing education, including private schools, would be outlawed. It would mean that only the state would be providing education. Compulsory school-attendance laws would be likely to be a feature of the monopoly, but not necessarily so ... [W]hy not fully separate school and state in the same way that church and state were separated? This would mean that the state would no longer be involved in education, that no one would be forced to attend school, and that no one would be required to financially support schools.
On Equality and Inequality, by Ludwig von Mises, Modern Age, 1961
Examines the premise that "all men are created equal" and some possible as well as purported conclusions
In the capitalistic society, it is said, higher education is a privilege accessible only to the children of the "bourgeoisie." What is needed is to grant every child access ... and thus educate everyone ... Guided by this principle, the United States embarked upon the noble experiment of making every boy and girl an educated person. All young men and women were to spend the years from six to eighteen in school ... But the success ... is merely apparent. It was made possible only by a policy that, while retaining the name "high school," has entirely destroyed its scholarly and scientific value.
Persuasion versus Force, by Mark Skousen, Liberty, Sep 1991
Based on the "From Force to Persuasion" chapter in Alfred North Whitehead's Adventures of Ideas (1933), Skousen suggests a new libertarian creed, "The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society"
The community demands a complete education for all children, so local leaders mandate that all children attend school for at least 10 years. Winter Park High School ... is completely fenced in. Students need a written excuse to leave school grounds and a written excuse for absences. All the gates except one are closed during school hours, and there is a guard at the only open gate at all times to monitor students coming and going. Florida recently passed a law that takes away the driver's license of any student who drops out of high school. Surely that will solve the problem!
Piercing through Myths, Lies, and Stupidity, by George Leef, Freedom Daily, Aug 2006
Review of Stossel's Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity (2006)
[Stossel] uses boxes containing one statement that's a myth followed by another statement that's true. His first such box in the schooling chapter reads,
Myth: Educating children is too important to be left to the uncertainty of market competition.
Truth: Educating children is too important to be left to a government monopoly.
... if the official pronouncements about the deep concern of the education establishment for the success of every student were to be believed, the South Carolina public-school system would be doing everything possible to help this young man learn to read. Instead, the lack of concern is astounding.
The Progressive Era, Part 1: The Myth and the Reality, by William L. Anderson, Freedom Daily, Feb 2006
Examines various aspects of Progressivism's "much darker tale", tracing its roots to 19th century Unitarians and pointing out Progressive support of prohibition and segregation
Progressives had their forbears in the Unitarians of early- and mid-19th-century New England ... According to Samuel Blumenfeld ("Why the Schools Went Public"; Reason Magazine, March 1979), the public-school movement that swept Boston during the 1840s was led by Unitarians such as Horace Mann. While Mann and his followers pushed government education at the expense of private schools, they were able to form coalitions with Calvinists and the Christian Protestant pietists, who saw public schools as a way to "train" the children of Catholic immigrants who were pouring into the country from Ireland and southern Europe.
Public Schools Have Flunked Out, by James Erwin Norwood, Freedom Daily, Jun 2006
Force-feeding children the state's prescription for education is more about creating jobs for teachers than about educating students. In any event, no one can be forced to learn anything. Compulsory-attendance laws ... generate resistance and disruption by captive students, who are not interested in ordering from the state's menu.
Restoring Parental Responsibility for Education, by Marshall Fritz, The Freeman, Jul 1996
Diffferentiates between "public" and "private" schools, arguing against calls for adding "market dynamics" to the former and pointing out lack of parental responsibility as the culprit for the lack of success in tax-funded schools
[M]ost private schools are far more open to the public than are district-bound public schools. "Public" schools always ask about your residence and, in some cities, your race. If you live on the other side of some imaginary line, you are outside their "catchment area" and are typically refused entrance. Further, school districts that are trying to achieve racial balance may deny your children access ... for racial reasons ... [T]he most expensive "public" schools ... hire reverse truant officers [to] ferret out children from inferior districts who pretend to live in better districts ...
School's Out: Get ready for the new age of individualized education, by Daniel H. Pink, Reason, Oct 2001
Through most of history, people learned from tutors or their close relatives. ... Not until the early 20th century did public schools as we know them ... become widespread. And not until the 1920s did attending one become compulsory. ... Compulsory mass schooling is an aberration in both history and modern society.
The Sphere of Government: Nineteenth Century Theories: 1. John Stuart Mill, by Henry Hazlitt, The Freeman, Jan 1980
Critiques John Stuart Mill's ideas on what are the "necessary" and "optional" functions of government
[T]hen Mill turns to what he regards as the "exceptions" ... "... Those who need most to be made wiser and better, usually desire it least, and if they desired it, would be incapable of finding the way to it by their own lights. ... Education, therefore, is one of those things which it is admissible in principle that a government should provide for the people. ... With regard to elementary education, the exception to ordinary rules may ... justifiably be carried still further. ... It is therefore an allowable exercise of the powers of government, to impose on parents the legal obligation of giving elementary instruction to children ..."
Test your freedom IQ, The Orange County Register, 18 Jun 2006
20 multiple-choice questions covering the role of government, free enterprise, taxes, property rights, free speech, religion, civil liberties, transportation, war and foreign policy, the Nanny State, gun ownership, education and immigration
19. I would like to attend a public high school that has particularly strong math program and that is located in another part of town, instead of the high school where I'm currently enrolled.
a) Your request should be honored only if the racial and ethnic balance in each school allows for such a transfer.
b) Your parents should buy a home in that part of town ...
c) Good idea, the educational system should treat you as an individual and let you choose your school, although an even better idea is to shut down the current system of public schools and let a free market of private choices emerge.
The Trouble with Vouchers, by Joseph Sobran, 11 Sep 1997
Responds to an article by the Denver Archbishop advocating for vouchers, pointing out the problem with such a plan: it "leave[s] the state in charge of all schools"
'The main fact about education,' G.K. Chesterton observed, 'is that there is no such thing.' He meant that we tend to speak of teaching in the abstract, without reference to what is actually being taught. Chesterton's words are timely now, when so many people want to break up the government monopoly of education. Not only do many public schools fail on their own terms; even if they were successful, they are, in essence if not always in practice, totalitarian. They are based on the assumption that it's the state's business to decide what children should know.
Related Topic: Educational Freedom
The "Value" of Public Schooling, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Nov 2006
Examines public schooling, first comparing it to military boot camp and the draft, then discussing indoctrination in "officially approved" ideas via approved textbooks, and imagining a teacher going against the established doctrines
In principle, the public-schooling system is no different [from military boot camp], although government officials have a much longer period of time—12 years—in which to accomplish the same task—produce mindsets of conformity and obedience ... Compulsory-attendance laws are, in principle, no different from the compulsory draft that the military employs ... [F]or most families compulsory-attendance laws mean sending their children into public schools in their neighborhood for education. Those families who refuse to submit their children to a state-approved education face the same things that draft resisters face ...
The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men, by George Leef, The Freeman, Jan 2001
Review of the year 2000 book by Christina Hoff Sommers
Thanks to our public education system, this part of the feminist agenda is making headway. Some schools ... have stopped traditional recess and have substituted a "structured recess" where adults make sure that the vital work of changing gender schemas is not undone by the outbreak of anything competitive or militaristic. Sommers saves her counterattack for last, strongly arguing that the problem is ... that our educational system has for the most part stopped giving boys what they need: discipline, order, and challenges. In the schools where those things are present, boys improve both academically and behaviorally.
Related Topic: Children
What an Honest Conversation about Race Would Look Like, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 19 Jul 2013
Argues that in order to have an "honest conversation about race", it must first be recognized that many government policies, such as drug prohibition, gun control and mandatory schooling, are enablers for racism
The government's schools for decades consigned black children to ramshackle custodial institutions misleadingly called "schools," where the kids' future choices were systematically narrowed to a demeaning few. With white-controlled elitist school boards depriving minority communities of resources (through taxation), it took heroic family and neighborhood action to help kids to overcome these official barriers. Things are little different today. Even though a great deal more tax money is spent on inner-city schools now than previously, the results are not much better.
What Do You Call Someone Who Wants to Get Their Hands on Your 5-Year-Old?, by Vin Suprynowicz, 3 Feb 2007
Even though these unpleasant and very costly outcomes track perfectly with the growing amount of time kids have spent in government-run 'schools' over the past 70 years, most Americans will look at you like you're nuts if you posit any CAUSAL relationship between these problems and locking our kids up in mandatory youth propaganda camps for ever more hours, days, and years.
Related Topic: Children
What's Wrong with Public Schools?, by Sheldon Richman, Separating School & State, 1994
Excerpt from chapter 2 of Separating School & State (1994), published online on 25 March 2005
The compulsory funding of schools creates a distinctive attitude in school administrators and teachers that is not found in owners of shoe stores and other private enterprises. The people who come into the shoe store are potential customers, free to walk out without buying. In contrast, the citizens of a school district are taxpayers, who have no choice but to pay their tax bills. Sure, they can move to another jurisdiction. But they face the same compulsion there. Unsurprisingly, the school authorities treat the taxpayers differently from the way that a shoe-store owner treats his customers.
What Would Schools Be Like?, by Marshall Fritz, Issues & Views, 2001
Discusses how schools would be different if they were no longer controlled by the government, and after talking to a Columbine survivor, points out the purpose of government schooling
I had the opportunity to meet Columbine survivor Mark Taylor ... He told me of the intense pressure put on him to return to Columbine High School. I was appalled as I heard him recount how one school authority told him, 'If your mom is the problem, money can be found to hire a lawyer to sue her so you can return to Columbine.' ... Sabotaging parents is not the exception, it's the essence of government schooling. ... [It] is set up for one primary purpose: To enable the politically strong to impose their will on the politically weak by convincing their children that the current leaders are good people with good ideas.
Related Topic: Children
W(h)ither Public Schools?, by Sheldon Richman, Separating School & State, 1994
Chapter 1, made available online on 19 May 2004 to celebrate the tenth publication anniversary; discusses how even mild "public school" reforms are treated as "deadly threats", why a new vision is needed and the role of the family in educating children
My home ... is a private place. But what about a restaurant? Clearly, it is a public place—but not in the way that a public school is ... The difference is that the restaurant relies on the consent of its customers ... "Public" and "private" are therefore misleading labels. We would advance the cause of clear thinking immensely if, instead, we called them the coercive and consensual sectors. The "public" in "public schools" is an Orwellian euphemism for coercive. Their money and their students are procured by force ... No wonder the school administrators prefer the word "public."
Why Johnny Can't Add, by Williamson Evers, Hoover Digest, 2000
Criticizes the U.S. Department of Education October 1999 endorsement of math "discovery-learning" programs and constrasts those to the rigorous curriculum proposed by 200 mathematicians and scientists in an open letter
These federal recommendations are for kindergarten through high school, which has serious consequences. In essence, the U.S. Department of Education, by making these endorsements, is closing the gate on going to college or even on technical blue-collar jobs for many students. And it is closing that gate as early as kindergarten. This whole controversy was born in bureaucratic overreach. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 forbids federally determined curricula. The U.S. Constitution doesn't authorize it, and the results have been harmful and foolish.
Why Not a Free Market in Education?, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 25 Mar 2005
Examines an op-ed by Bill Gates arguing for reforms in the public schools, countering with the paradigm used in the software and computer industries: the free market, and suggests an answer to educating the truly poor
After more than a century of existence, public schooling is an abject failure in terms of educating children and inspiring a love of learning among them. While many people have been able to survive the public-schooling ordeal, many others have been severely damaged ..., even to the extent of having their pre-school awe of the universe and thirst for knowledge pounded out of them by time they graduate 12 years later ... What Gates fails to recognize is that no reform can ever fix public schooling for the simple reason that the paradigm on which public schooling is based is inherently defective.


The Alliance Story: An Interview With Marshall Fritz, by Marshall Fritz, Tammy Drennan
Topics include how Fritz came to his views, why he thinks government schools cannot be reformed, charter schools, various objections to turning education to the free market and the effects of state/school separation on taxes, the economy and "the church"
MF: In 1983, I listened to a tape by George H. Smith called "Public Schools Are a Success If You Measure Them By Their Objectives." I saw that ... government's schools ... intended to interfere with parents' ability to pass their own world view on to their children ... there are two basic world views that simply cannot be reconciled to one another ... I would call one of them a traditionalist ... and then the [other] piece, is relativism ... Government schooling represents the latter view. The only peaceful resolution is to not try to co-educate the children of people from different world views.
Best of Both Worlds: An Interview with Milton Friedman, by Milton Friedman, Brian Doherty, Reason, Jun 1995
Topics discussed include: the new Congress, flat taxes, the withholding tax, the people who influenced him, what led him to write about policy issues, libertarianism and how his political views have changed over the years
Friedman: ... I used to argue that I could justify compulsory schooling on the ground of external effects. But then I discovered from work that E.G. West and others did, that before compulsory schooling something over 90 percent of people got schooled. The big distinction you have to make is between marginal benefit and average benefit. The marginal benefit from having 91 percent of people in school rather than 90 percent does not justify making it compulsory. But if in the absence of compulsory education, only 50 percent would be literate, then I can regard it as appropriate.
Into it: John Stossel, by John Stossel, Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Jun 2006
Stossel is asked about he is reading, listening and watching, and then questions related to his book Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity
There's a constant barrage of complaints that education isn't funded enough. What's your response to those claims?
I believed it. I pay more so my kid can get a private-school education. But then I discovered that the government schools are spending, on average, $10,000 per student. That's $200,000 plus per classroom. I would think I could hire three teachers to do a better job for that money. But government monopolies squander that money. The Catholic schools in New York City do a better job for $5,000 per student, while the government schools spend up to $13,000.
Where does all the money go?
Nobody really knows.
Related Topic: Pursuit of Happiness
The Separation of School and State Alliance: An Interview with Marshall Fritz, by Marshall Fritz, 3 Jun 1999
Transcript of online chat hosted by Mary Leggewie (creator of and including audience member questions, many asking about ways to support Fritz and the Alliance's efforts
When did compulsory school begin?
Marshall Fritz: Massachusetts passed the first compulsory attendance law in 1852, a full lifetime after Americans had birthed this Republic ...
Did any of the parents object to compulsory schooling then, or were they in favor of government schooling?
Marshall Fritz: It went both ways. The militia (or was it the police?) were called on ... because of parent refusal to obey. You have to remember, this was a period of extreme religious bigotry, and that fueled some people's desire to force other people's children into the schools where they would be taught the "truth."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

The Edukation Sistum Failed Mee, by Parker and Hart, 26 Jan 2007


Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
    by John Taylor Gatto, Sep 1991
Contents: The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher - The Psychopathic School - The Green Monongahela - We Need Less School, Not More - The Congregational Principle

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Compulsory education" as of 13 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.