Short answers to seven common questions
- What is "Separation of School & State"?
In order to improve education, we need to free the schools from politics.
This means the separating schools from federal, state, and local government involvement in attendance, financing, content, and teaching methods.
Government schools today, like government churches of yesteryear, are used by the politically strong to undermine the weak.
Two centuries ago, Americans decided that politics is too nasty to be involved in Church and Sunday-school. We need to make the same decision for Monday-school, Tuesday-school, and Wednesday-school, etc.
We're Americans. We can free the schools from politics by separating them from the state!
- Can't we just reform the schools?
We can't reform "public" schools because they're not broken. They undermine politically weak parents today just as they did when they were founded on bad principles in the 1840s:
- Socialism, the idea that government should own and administer the means of production (e.g., schooling).
- Welfare, the notion that you're entitled to your neighbor's money for your children's education.
- Compartmentalism, the notion that it's OK to dis-integrate academics and religion by keeping them in separate compartments called school, church, temple, and family.
Government schooling in America can't be fixed any more than government farms could be fixed in the Soviet Union.
- Why must we be so radical?
American society is falling like a streamlined brick into the sewer. Parent weakness is the root of the problem. "Radical" means "get to the root."
Ending government involvement in schooling can reverse the collapse because it's the only education policy proposal that addresses the underlying societal weakness, parent responsibility.
American families must reassume the responsibility of paying for and determining their children's education. Nothing gets parents' attention to education as much as paying for it. As families reassume their duty to their children, we'll see fulfillment of the ancient wisdom, "fathers, turn your hearts toward your children."
- What about the poor? How will they go to school?
I want the poor to go to better schools than today. Free market schooling can make this happen. It will deliver better education at less than half the cost of government schools.
The top two-thirds of the families will be able to afford tuitions after the $300-billion tax cut, but the poorest third will need financial help. We'll need to raise an additional $20-billion each year for groups like the Children's Scholarship Fund.
Americans now give $175-billion to charities each year. With the huge tax cut, we can prudently predict $20-billion in new scholarships. (For more information, please see Education: What About the Poor?.)
- Is School Liberation actually possible?
School Liberation is already happening. Of 53-million school children in America, parents have already liberated 6.5-million children for reasons of safety, academics, or morals. They have chosen private-schooling, religious-schooling, and home-schooling.
As the next wave of reforms fails and even more pull out, this number will grow to 8, 10, even 15-million outside the system. We'll reach a point where support for government schools will collapse just like support for Marxism collapsed in the East. It'll probably happen in a Big Whoosh, just like the fall of the Berlin Wall.
- Will the transition hurt some children?
Utopia isn't an option.
We must go in one of two directions: a) continue down the present road of bringing more and more families into dependency with such notions as school breakfast, school dinner, school clinics, longer day, and longer year, or b) we can reverse the 150-year slide and move toward more family responsibility for education.
Today we harm children by weakening their parents with government programs that foster irresponsibility. We must end these programs and call upon parents to do their duty to their children. It's not utopia, but it's doable.
- How will people pay for schooling?
Competition, innovation, and unity of purpose between parent and teacher can bring the cost of good schooling down by 50-75% of government schools. Separation will allow a $300 billion tax cut. This means 2/3 of the population can afford tuition and will have $200 billion left over. We can prudently predict an increase of $20-25 billion in charitable giving to assist the 1/3 of parents who will need help to cover part or most of the tuition. (For more information, please see Education: What About the Poor?.)