How government control
|18651900||Destroy the independent attitude of the defeated Southerners|
|1880s1950s||Maintain subservience of blacks in the South and border states|
|End white racism|
| " ||Accept sexual liberation; foster "safe sex" for public health|
|1980spresent||Protect the environment|
Proponents of government schooling openly acknowledge their political purpose. For example, Lester Frank Ward, pioneer in American sociology, wrote in 1897, "The secret of the superiority of state over private education lies in the fact that in the former the teacher is responsible to
That governments have different purposes than parents was just as true in the 20th Century as the 19th, and remains true today. Maybe it is easier to see in a distant Marxist or Fascist regime (such as the Soviet Union or the Third Reich) than up close here where the teacher is friendly and goes to your church. Still, she works for a government that has a different purpose for schooling than most parents.
2. The Plague of Educational Fads
The imposition of politicized goals weakened the public schooling system's educational integrity so much that it has become a patsy for destructive fads. Examples range from phrenology to new-new-math, and from Outcome Based Education to No Child Left Behind. (Pity if they all have to sing as badly as I do so that I won't be left behind.)
Chasing fads helps politicians hide the fact that they've replaced the child's interests with political interests. Continual change can give the impression of progress and provide a weapon against those who want to return to sanity: They can be accused of being reactionaries who fight all progress.
3. The Destructive "Fake Right to an Education"
Politicized schooling has spread into American education a false notion, the fake "right to an education." Education is not a right, but a duty. Think of it this way: Nobody can be educated without his or her active participation. Each of us must learn to think for ourselves. Hence, nobody has a "right" to an education that someone else must supply. No one can think for you any more than he can eat, sleep, or breathe for you.
Like the right to pursue happiness, we have the right to pursue education. Imagine the chaos if politicians were to create the fake right to happiness.
You might believe that public schooling did not affect your commitment to reason. In fact, however, exposure to the politicized, EIV-compromised system of government schooling injured you in three ways:
The exile of reason violates your intellectual integrity in three ways:
1) Externalize Educational Success
Passing tests, winning awards, getting into a "good" college, having a successful career, and getting recognition from others have become the external and false yardsticks of government schooling.
No wonder we see those pathetic bumper stickers proclaiming, "My Child is an Honor Student at xyz." Who cares? What really matters is whether he is honest, does he work hard, and is he reasonable?
Children from the most deprived backgrounds will inevitably suffer worst in such a system. If education is about external success, they see the head start held by those from middle and upper class families as an insurmountable disadvantage. That is one of the reasons why the poor will do so much better when we end government involvement in schooling.
2) Schools provide students with role models who demonstrate a "duty not to know"
Exiling the Purpose Question from public schools established for teachers a "Duty Not to Know" any answers to life's most important questions. By so doing, the teachers destroy their intellectual authority before their students.
Students become excited to undertake the difficult task of becoming educated more by the example of their favorite teachers' habits than by any other force. But, what example do their teachers offer them? In order to avoid lawsuits, government schoolteachers are safest if they act as if they have never given any thought to the most fascinating questions of all. Indeed, many act as if they have a contractual duty not to know.
3) Schools give you peers who parade a "right not to think"
Young, immature individuals have an inherent aversion to the hard work that is required to become educated. Many conclude that if their teachers don't think about the most important questions, then they have the right not to think about any questions. When the teachers adopt "a duty not to know," students can adopt a "right not to think." These are many of your peers.
Government schools establish boundaries on where reason can be used:
|Origin of human life
Destiny of humans
Purpose of life
Thirteen years of such compartmentalizing can convince some students that government has the right to tell them where they may and may not use reasoning. Consider the danger to a free country to allow the government to train its young citizens to expect that government should set limits on reason. Those who saw the movie "Twelve Angry Men" remember the call to use reasoning, not just feelings, in reaching the verdict. How much intellectual independence can we expect from the next generation when they have been incessantly indoctrinated "to be cooperative" and "to be true to their feelings"?
Even if you maintained your intellectual independence, what about the others who will become your subordinates, bosses, customers, vendors, neighbors, and perhaps, jurors?
Only parents can judge whether a particular school or teacher is a real opportunity for a child. Only they can determine whether the child is making an effort to take advantage of the opportunity. Once we displaced respect for reason as the purpose of schooling and made external "success" the measure, then parents became unreliable as an accountability system. What does any individual parent know of future job opportunities?
Parents have abandoned a major educational function: that of holding teachers and schools accountable for their children's education. Parents are schooling's only authentic, viable accountability system.
This displacement of parents plays directly into the hands of the political overlords of the public school system. Once government schools adopted political goals, they needed to exclude parents because so many have opposing goals for their children. In the absence of parents' role as schooling's primary customers, genuine accountability for the quality of education becomes impossible. Witness the incessant blather in school reform proposals about accountability, but nary a word about who gets disgraced, demoted, fired, or even jailed for malfeasance if that reform harms children.
Finally, even for those who still insist that the assault on reason did not injure them, the evidence is clear that it injured vast numbers of their peers. So many have been maimed that our society may not survive. Again, let's look at three factors:
One of the worst consequences of exiling the Purpose Question is the substitution of feelings for reason as the source of morality. If teachers and students cannot discuss the origins, nature, and destiny of human existence, how can they reason about how we ought to act? Morality becomes mere opinion and feeling. Children are taught to be true to their feelings, to their own peril and ours.
Another consequence of the exile of reason is the death of reason in politics. If American politics is supposed to be "free persons deliberating the questions of how we ought to order our life together," then schooling's exile of reason guarantees that only reasonless power seeking will follow.
Consider Timothy McVeigh. His inability to discuss the grave issues of politics, coupled with his high passion, led him to express his inarticulate rage by blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City. McVeigh had only a 5-year-old's ability to deal with political conflict: When frustrated past his emotional endurance, he simply "knocked down the other kid's castle of blocks" with utter moral indifference that he was murdering 163 innocent people.
By indoctrinating students for 13 years with the implicit message that religious faith is private and not subject to reason, government schooling produces citizens who regard any mention of religion in the public square as an illegitimate attempt to foist one's irrational passions on a wider audience. We've heard that one does not discuss religion and politics in polite company, but now people of faith are marginalized in public discussion.
In summary, the consequence of the exile of reason is a culture of ignorance. We have managed to destroy the moral duty to learn.
Let's stop looking for the conspiracy of bad people. Let's forgo another doubling of spending. Let's stop the winner-take-all school wars.
Let's end the subtle teacher bashing that demands that they get more degrees. Please note that I condemn the system, not the individual educators within the system. The vast majority strive to be good teachers or good administrators. But when good people are caught up in a bad system, the system wins often in the short term, always in the long term.
Two centuries ago, our American forebears looked for an antidote to the religious wars that had plagued their European ancestors. They decided that their new Republic would have no power to establish a religion. Today, we loosely call this the "Separation of Church and State."
The solution for the school mess is simple but difficult: We need to recapture the wisdom and the courage of our nation's founders. Your generation of Americans can separate schools from the state. If earlier generations were able to liberate America in the 18th Century, liberate the slaves in the 19th Century, and liberate Europe in the 20th Century, then your and my generations can liberate schools in the 21st Century!
Thanks to our American forebears, government does not run Sunday school. Or finance it. Or command how many years a child should attend. Or determine who is qualified to teach.
Sunday school is not the government's business. To rebuild a free and wholesome society, the same must be true of Monday school, Tuesday school, Wednesday school, etc.
We have public grocery stores without government control. We can have public education the same way.
When we liberate schools from government, teachers will be invigorated by the opportunity to apply themselves to the blossoming of human minds. A whole generation of children who desire to understand the world and beyond will be channeled and fed rather than dried up and blown away. Historians will someday call it "the Great Emancipation of the Poor."
And, we will see the restoration of the family. Parents will again accept their duty to provide for their children's education rather than casting it off to the government. Further, this allows them to exercise their right to make the decisions regarding that education. Most parents will become far more responsible again, actively involved in their children's lives. While I have no utopian answer for the exceptions, I believe many fewer children will fall through the cracks of tomorrow than the canyons of today.
Let's not conserve a schooling system just because we've had it for 160 years. Rather, let's conserve the original American ideals by separating SCHOOL and state.
4. For the full story, see Lloyd P. Jorgensen, The State and the Non-Public School, 1825-1925 (Univ. of Missouri Press: 1987); Rockne McCarthy, Disestablishment a Second Time: Genuine Pluralism for American Schools (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing: 1982); and Rousas John Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education (Ross House Books: 1995, reprint).
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