Perhaps every one of us might agree that the education of our children is a priority. For that reason, we have entrusted the state to fulfill this need by providing public schooling.
But what do we want of a school?
Is it to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic? Is it to teach history, philosophy, or logic? Is it to teach foreign languages, world culture, or geography? Is it to teach science, art, and music? Or is it to teach athleticism, computers, or religion?
The list of possible subjects could go on because each of us has an opinion on that body of knowledge to which our children should be exposed.
And so we have a dilemma: It seems that the schools cannot fulfill the multifaceted needs of our complex society. Quite frankly, neither they nor the teachers have the available time or resources to devote to everyone’s needs.
To be a teacher in today’s system of schooling is a daunting task. There are so many subjects, so little time, and too few resources. Our teachers are human too-they cannot be expected to live up to all of our expectations. They shouldn’t be blamed for the results of the system in which they find themselves-a system of public schooling.
Instead, we should focus our attention on the system. Why should we expect a system of socialized education to be anything better than what it is? What else might we expect out of government-run schools?
The solution to our dilemma lies in unleashing that incredible potential embedded within our teachers and their administrators. We should free them from their chains of government employment by separating school and state.
What an incredible vision that would be! Can you see it too? I see children who beg their parents to let them attend school every day throughout the year. I see teachers who can’t wait to share their excitement over their special area of expertise. I see children who want to learn and teachers who would have it no other way.
There wouldn’t be the handful of schools that we now have in our local communities. Instead, there would be many more-perhaps a hundred smaller schools, each specializing in its area of expertise. There would be legions of private tutors available at our beck and call.
For the first time, parents would have an incredible array of choices that would better fulfill our needs and those about whom we dream.
Schools that teach the “3-Rs” would be commonplace. And yes, some of them would offer their services free of charge. Oh! What about those special schools? There might be the Mega Computer School. Can you imagine-a school that not only teaches one how to use computers, but also teaches you how to design them, to build them, and to program them?
And there might be the Frances Bacon School of Science. All of its students would be gobbled up by the likes of MIT and Cal Tech for their knowledge and application of science and the scientific method. Don’t forget Patterson’s School of Business and Finance. There you can learn all about how markets really work! And for those aspiring young writers-how about the Morgan School of Literature? The history and philosophy instruction you would receive there would be incredible.
We will certainly owe our gratitude to Fleming’s School of Fine Art and Dance. Our lives will never be the same again after having been exposed to the works of her students. Bravo!
Can you imagine the potential that motivated students and teachers would bring to our society? Of course, such schools and instructions would not be free. But then again, neither are our public schools. For them, we pay dearly-much more than we can ever imagine.
It’s time that we move on to a better system-one based upon freedom and the American way. For that, we must free our schools and free our teachers.
It’s time to abolish, not reform, public schooling. It is time to separate school and state.
This essay originally appeared in The Frederick News-Post. Reprinted by permission.