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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Separating School And State

Jacob Hornberger has another excellent argument for separating school and state at http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0601aa.asp.

Here's an excerpt:

Why has public schooling been riddled with so many problems? The answer is that public schooling is an absolutely perfect model of socialism and central planning. The entire system is based on the same top-down, command-and-control system on which the military is based, with political and bureaucratic committees planning the educational decisions of multitudes of children under their jurisdiction. Participation is mandated, with criminal penalties imposed on recalcitrant parents. Funding is also based on coercion, with taxes taking from everyone — even those who don’t have children — to fund the schooling of those who are sent into the system.

Nearly everyone knows that socialism produces shoddy products and services. So why should anyone be surprised that public schooling does so as well?


Calls to reform the government schools are perennial, as are the calls to reform the healthcare "system", the war on drugs, the war on poverty, Social Security, Medicare, and so forth. What do all of these things--all of which are in need of constant reform--have in common? You guessed it! They're all programs run by the government.

Let's separate school and state. And when we're finished with that, let's separate society and state.

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We can best help children, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions -- if they have any -- and helping them explore the things they are most interested in.

— John Holt, Learning All the Time [1989]


(Quoted at http://www.fff.org/whatsNew/2006-05-19.htm.)

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