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Absence of coercion in learning and educating


Maybe We Would Be Amazed
Expands on information in Carla Howell's Maybe We Would Be Amazed package
New posibilities for a child's education ... Facts about government vs. non-government schooling ... Homeschooling ... Cooperatives: How to homeschool without sacrificing your life or your income ... Private schooling

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A project of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State for Christian families
Mission: Assist Christians to work within their own denominations to alert parents of the staggering loss of faith and morals in children who attend the officially neutral 'public schools,' and help them find ways to move children into Christian education, whether in campus schools or homeschooling.


Are Southern Baptists About To Abandon Government Schools?, by Steven Yates, 29 May 2004
Examines a resolution proposed by Southern Baptists calling on parents to withdraw their children from the Pharaoh's (government) school system
... the government schools initially established in Massachusetts by Horace Mann and his Unitarian cohorts followed what has become known as the 'Prussian model,' holding that the individual should be educated into the service of the omnipotent state. ... Nowhere does the U.S. Constitution mention education as a federal responsibility. The Framers considered education to be a matter for states and local communities to undertake.
Clint Bolick - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Biographical profile published by The Daily Objectivist; describes Bolick's unusual biographical blurb at the Institute for Justice website as well as his struggles with the educational establishment over school vouchers
Setting aside the bogus laments of teacher's unions and other bulwarks of the educational establishment, who are motivated by the desire to protect turf, the most challenging criticism of vouchers have come from libertarians who fear the specter of increased government control of private schools, and that vouchers do not represent a way station to complete privatization of schooling but an end game ... Still, vouchers have done a lot to shake up the public school monopoly, and if they're not the final ... answer, they do give plenty of hope to strapped parents whose kids would otherwise be trapped in shoddily performing schools.
Related Topics: Clint Bolick, Wisconsin
Democracy and Government Schools, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Jan 2007
Discusses the current state of government education, including "creative solutions" such as charter schools and vouchers, and the influence of the "religion of democracy" in achieving a free market in education
Charter schools have made inroads in various states, but I wouldn't count them as part of an eroding of state education ... Likewise vouchers ... Financed out of the taxpayers' money, these schools can't operate freely as market schools ... A free market in education requires liberty on both the supply side and the demand side. Entrepreneurs have to be free to offer any education service, subject only to the verdict of parents, who in turn must be free to spend their own (not the taxpayers') money as they wish. Only under these circumstances are schools really accountable to the parents.
Freedom of Education, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Mar 1993
Imagines a potential discussion between an advocate of religious freedom, a proponent of a system, established one hundred years ago, of public, i.e., government-sponsored, churches and an advocate of religious "vouchers"
Advocate of Religious Freedom: ... I believe that we should repeal all compulsory-attendance laws and church taxes and then sell the public churches to the highest bidder ... Parents should have the freedom and responsibility for rearing their children.
Advocate of Public Churching: ... Don't you realize how important religion is? Where did you come up with this idea?—certainly not in the public churches you attended as a child.
Advocate of Religious Freedom: ... I plan to send my children to church anyway. But should we force others to send their children to church?
Related Topics: Children, Ethics, Taxation
The Freedom to Reject the Best, by Jim Fedako, Mises Daily, 8 Aug 2006
Discusses a study comparing public and private schools, presenting Consumer Reports magazine having legislative power as analogous to the public school system
A free market system of education would create for those who seek different options a system that encourages the implementation of the spectrum of educational choices best viewed as experiments, just as each new product, service, store, etc., is a market experiment. The successful experiments become the market standard that new entrepreneurs seek to surpass.
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
The urgent solution to the education crisis is the complete separation of school and state. The public schools should be sold to the highest bidder, school taxes scrapped, and compulsory-attendance laws repealed. Anyone should be free to start any kind of school, profit or non-profit, religious or secular. There should be no governmental requirements for curricula or textbooks. Parents should be free to send their children to any kind of school—or to none at all. Laws regarding child labor and apprenticeships should be scrapped. All restrictions on homeschooling should be abolished.
The Global Education Industry: Lessons from Private Education in Developing Countries, by Antony Flew, The Freeman, Sep 2000
Reviews the tittle 1999 book by James Tooley, which includes surveys of "private education alternatives in 13 developing countries" as well as analysis and recommendations
The findings of this study are astonishing and should prove invaluable to all of those ... who are working to privatize and introduce competition into the provision of education services. ... In 'Equity Issues,' we are unsurprisingly told that for-profit suppliers in developing countries, as in the developed, mainly serve the middle and upper classes. But in developing countries there are also some services geared toward the poor. ... if the private market for education continues to develop, with more and more people paying for just the education they choose, the 'rob the poor to give to the rich' phenomenon will dissipate.
Related Topics: Brazil, Great Britain, India
Islam and the Discovery of Freedom, by George Leef, The Freeman, Sep 1998
Review of Islam and the Discovery of Freedom (1997) by Imad-Ad-Dean Ahmad, which is based on Rose Wilder Lane's The Discovery of Freedom (1943), with an introduction and scholarly commentary by Ahmad
Islamic universities ... were simply places where those with knowledge could sell it to those who desired it. Lane writes, "Men who knew (or thought they knew) something, and wanted to teach it, opened a school to sell their knowledge ..." She contrasts the Islamic approach to education with the European, writing disparagingly of the "European belief that minds acquire knowledge, not by actively seeking to know, but by passively being taught whatever Authority decides that they should know." If you have ever wondered what a true free market in education would be like, this book provides some clues.
A Libertarian Visits South America, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Mar 1999
Relates Hornberger's trip to give lectures and participate in debates at the Instituto de Estudos Empresariais in Brazil and the launching of the Fundación Atlas para una Sociedad Libre in Buenos Aires
I first encountered the institute in 1995, when I was invited to speak at its annual Forum of Liberty on the subject of education and the free market. ... The speaker was the mayor of a Brazilian city who told the audience how important it was that Brazil try to copy the public-schooling system in the United States. ... When it was my turn, I proceeded to explain to the audience that the worst thing they could do was copy America's educational system and that the best thing they could do was turn education over to the free market. The mayor appeared stricken but began to take notes!
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
[B]y incorrectly describing reforms of the state educational system as "competition" and "free market," as conservatives often do, don't we run the risk of corrupting the true meaning of such terms? ... Perhaps most important, in his reference to education, Becker unfortunately failed to raise fundamental moral questions. Why shouldn't families, rather than the state, have the same authority over educational decisions as they have over religious decisions? Why shouldn't suppliers be as free to compete in supplying education as they are in supplying religion?
A National Wealth Tax to Fund Education?, by George Leef, 25 Mar 2005
Examines a proposal from Robert Reich to do away with local property taxes and instead levy a national wealth tax to fund public education
Like all socialist enterprises, “public education” in the United States is very high in cost and very low in positive results ... The teachers are protected by union contracts ... and they have little incentive to do their best ... Poor people can buy high-quality food, clothing, and other necessities because they get the benefit of a free market in those things. For good education, what they need is a free market in schools. If you really care about the education of children—and not just poor ones—you should forget about new taxes or "reforms" and advocate the separation of school and state.
The Need for Educational Freedom in the Nation's Capital, by Casey Lartigue, Jr., Policy Analysis, 10 Dec 2002
Examines problems with the District of Columbia Public Schools and suggests alternatives
Contrary to the claims of defenders of the public school system, DCPS does not lack money. Despite having per-pupil spending that ranks among the highest in the nation—$10,550 for 1999–2000—public school students in the District rank near the bottom on standardized tests and in achievement levels. ... the system lacks qualified teachers, safe facilities, and even basic supplies such as pencils and text-books.
Separating school and state, by Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe, 12 Jun 2005
Presents three recent examples of disagreements between public schools and parents on topics such as sexuality and religion and recommends putting "an end to government control of the schools"
There is nothing indispensable about a state role in education. Parents don't expect the government to provide their children's food or clothing or medical care; there is no reason why it must provide their schooling. ... Imagine how diverse and lively American education would be if it were liberated from government control.
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"
Education, after all, is largely thought control. Unthinking people who merely repeat clichés will tell you they are all in favor of the one and absolutely opposed to the other. But it's precisely because schools do control what children and adolescents think that the power of doing so, like most forms of power, should be dispersed in private hands rather than concentrated in the state. ... The correct approach is to get government out of the education business altogether. Education isn't free unless schools can define success on their own terms rather than the state's.
Related Topic: Compulsory Education
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
Under a free-market educational system, ... each family would be free to fashion the education that would fit each child in the family. If a child said, "I want to do nothing but play the piano for the next six months and study nothing else," that would be up to the family, not the state. And before someone says, "It would be irresponsible for a family to educate the child in that way," reflect ... that many students travel abroad ... to study nothing but a foreign language and that they study that language for several hours every single day for several weeks ... No math or science classes. Just the foreign language.
Vouchers and Educational Freedom: A Debate, by Joseph Bast, Policy Analysis, 12 Mar 1997
Joseph L. Bast, Heartland Institute president, and David Harmer, former Heritage Foundation researcher, versus Douglas Dewey, National Scholarship Center president
Bast and Harmer argue that voucher plans would eventually lead to the complete separation of school and state ... Dewey counters that vouchers would not substantially reduce the state's role in education. Indeed, vouchers would create a vast system of government contractors and parents with 'school stamps,' a massive lobby for ever-increasing subsidies. He warns that government money always comes with strings attached.
Vouchers or School Choice?, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Nov 2007
Examines the vote in Utah that refused ratification of a bill on school vouchers, and explains how only entrepreneurs, free from government interference, can provide real choice and innovation in education
Regardless of why Utahans said no, in the long run they have struck a blow for education free of state control. That may seem hard to believe, since the voucher movement promotes itself as being in favor of "school choice." But while their hearts are in the right place, their solution won't get them where they want to go. The way to create school choice is not to give the state more excuses to regulate the private schools. That's what vouchers would do. Look at the failed Utah initiative. It would have required private schools to "give a formal national test every year" to students ... Some choice.
Related Topics: Entrepreneurship, Government, Utah
We Need Freedom, Not School Standards, by Sheldon Richman, Jun 1996
Compares the levels of education of Americans before and after 1840, when Horace Mann and others architected "public schools" and various levels of government got involved in education
Ironically, the basic problem ... is that government has been setting standards for over 150 years. Before about 1840, government had little or nothing to do with education in the United States. It didn't set standards. It didn't tell children how many hours a day, how many days a year, or how many years they had to attend school. Children didn't have to attend school at all! Yet, America was a highly literate society–the most dynamic and enterprising in history. Almost everyone who wished to read and write could do so ... Reading was such an easy skill to acquire that the southern states made it illegal for slaves.
Related Topics: Children, Government, Learning
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
Public education's dependence on taxation ... explains much else about the public schools. And will enable us to contrast public schooling with its alternative, free market education (which includes many possibilities, including home schooling) ... In a private education market, parents, if need be, could even send their children to one school to study French and to another to study math. The market is the most flexible arrangement for satisfying consumers that can be imagined. It is precisely that flexibility that is missing in bureaucracy, whether controlled democratically or not.
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
Is anyone happy with the public schools? ... Whichever way they lean, people generally believe that the schools are not doing what they are supposed to be doing ... [D]espite their widely recognized problems, [they] have a mystique that prevents people from imagining life without them ... People get nervous hearing any criticism of the schools that sounds fundamental. You may find fault with the schools ... and you may propose to tinker with them. But if you even imply that the schools ... should be changed in some really drastic way, you will stimulate a reflex response and vicious counterattack.
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
Okay, let's say we junk the old government-school paradigm. What do we replace it with? A good clue lies with Bill Gates himself ... Yes, a free market in education! A paradigm in which the state plays no role whatsoever. No more school boards, ... taxes, [or] ... school-attendance laws. A process where parents, in their role as consumers, are as sovereign as they are in ... computer industries. A system in which families decide the best educational vehicle for each of their children and in which entrepreneurs are leapfrogging over themselves to best satisfy the ever-increasing demands on them.
Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity, by John Mackey, Liberty, Jun 2006
Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticizes the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasizing some issues and prioritizing others
What would happen with true competition in school choice, with students and parents becoming truly empowered consumers instead of virtual prisoners and slaves, as they are in the socialized system that exists today? We would have an explosion in educational innovation, and unprecedented improvements as competition and choice systematically eliminated poor teachers and poor schools ... We would see incredible diversity in types of schools and styles of education meeting the diverse needs and desires of students and parents, instead of the dictates of the educational bureaucracy ...


America's Most Dangerous Politician, by Gary Johnson, Michael W. Lynch, Reason, Jan 2001
Topics discussed include: drugs, why he stopped smoking marijuana, drug legalization, school vouchers, charter schools, road building and tax cuts
Johnson: ... Go down the list of the main criticisms: Vouchers only favor the rich. Baloney! People with money live in good neighborhoods that have good schools. Give me a break. Vouchers are for the poor. Vouchers are for those that don't have money, who live in the worst neighborhoods, go to the worst schools, and can't get away from them ... Let's just bring competition to public education. This is not about getting rid of public education; it is about providing alternatives that public schools very, very quickly will react to. Public schools will get better if they are subject to competition.
Interview with Adam Smith [via Edwin West], by E. G. West, The Region, Jun 1994
Professor Edwin G. West stands in for Adam Smith and answers questions from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis banking and policy issues magazine
Smith: ... My point was that where fees are charged, the decision of a parent to transfer an offspring from a less efficient to a more efficient school, places immediate and meaningful pressure on the inferior supplier because the tuition funds automatically follow the child. The principals of US government schools, in contrast, face no such direct economic pressure. Indeed the unions of teachers in such schools usually ensure that when the student population of one school shrinks, jobs for the "losing" teachers are created elsewhere in the system.


Education: Free & Compulsory
    by Murray N. Rothbard, 1972
Table of contents: The Individual's Education - Compulsory Education in Europe - Compulsory Education in the United States
Separating School & State: How to Liberate America's Families
    by Sheldon Richman, The Future of Freedom Foundation, 1994
Partial table of contents: W(h)ither Public Schools? - What's Wrong With Public Schools - Why There Are Public Schools - Opponents of Public Schools - Without Public Schools - Appendix: The State of Public Schools
Voucher Wars: Waging the Legal Battle over School Choice
    by Clint Bolick, Cato Institute, 2003
Contents: Introduction - Laying the Groundwork - Polly - False Starts - And Then There Were Five - Valley Forge - One in the Bank - A Blizzard of Decisions - Battles Within and Without - The Road to the Supremes - D-Day - The Road Ahead - Lessons


Marshall Fritz on the Separation of School and State, by Marshall Fritz, 1996
Recording of talk given at the 1996 International Society of Individual Liberty conference held in Canada; Fritz explains why government, tax-funded education is detrimental to liberty and what parents can do about it
Schools of Thought in Classical Liberalism, Part 2: Milton Friedman and the Chicago School, by Nigel Ashford, 9 May 2012
Short video, with transcript; discusses the answers to the question "What is the proper role of government?" from the viewpoint of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of economics
This approach is often called the Social Market Approach. Friedman believes that ... governments have these responsibilities, but as far as possible, they should use market mechanisms to achieve these ends. So for example, it is a responsibility of government to make sure every child is educated, but that does not mean that government has to provide the schools. Government, for example, could give vouchers or some form of school choice, private schools, but parents can chose whichever school they want to go to.

We Don't Need No (Public) Education: Sheldon Richman on the Separation of School and State, by Sheldon Richman, Reason TV, 25 Apr 2011
Sheldon discusses unschooling, home schooling, private schools and criticizes school "choice"