Education

Public Schools and Social Conflicts

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Government is widely perceived as a foundation of social order, yet it is the single greatest source of disorder. Political power constantly tempts those who control it to enforce conformity with their religion, education, lifestyle, or other preferences. Naturally, other people tend to have their own preferences. They don’t want anybody else telling them what to do. They evade ... [click for more]

Obama’s Message to Schoolchildren

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When President Obama announced last August that he would address American schoolchildren in a nationwide televised speech, the Right went bananas. August, of course, was the height of the health-care controversy, and conservative leaders and media commentators imagined that Obama was going to make an overt pitch for his quest for government control over medicine and medical insurance, as ... [click for more]

Imprisoning Musical Creativity

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I am a composer. Since the age of 12, I have been painting canvases of sound at the piano. But my teachers never cared. In fact, my type of talent was deemed worthless by the government’s public-school system. Growing up in the D.C. area, I didn’t have any real models to follow. In the shadow of the nation’s capital, ... [click for more]

Milton Friedman Was Wrong on Vouchers

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In an article I wrote in September 1990 entitled “Letting Go of Socialism,” I pointed out how public schooling is a model of a socialistic program. I also addressed the issue of school vouchers: But the real tragedy is that so many freedom devotees in America also won’t let go ... [click for more]

The Socialism of Public Schooling

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While the nation is on the subject of socialism, we really ought to talk about public schooling. With the possible exception of the military, it’s the best example of a socialist institution one could ever find. It’s not a coincidence that public schooling is one of Fidel Castro’s favorite government ... [click for more]

Education: Free and Noncompulsory

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“The transfer, by the parents, of so much of their own authority and responsibility to the schools is in most ways a cowardly and contemptible business.” — John Holt, What Do I Do Monday? Several times in the last few years, after I’ve written some criticism of the public-school system and called for a complete separation of school and state, ... [click for more]

Set the Prisoners Free

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School is the cheapest police. — Horrace Mann, first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education The immense edifice of teacher instruction and schooling in general rests on the shaky hypothesis that expert intervention in childhood produces better people than might otherwise occur. I’ve come to doubt that. — John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education In criminal-justice ... [click for more]

Vouchers or School Choice?

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The voters of Utah said no to school vouchers on Tuesday. More than 60 percent of voters refused to ratify a bill passed earlier by the state legislature. It would have provided taxpayer-funded vouchers for each government-school student, ranging from $500 to $3,000, depending on family income. Students currently in ... [click for more]

Why Markets Are Dreaded

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In one of those vapid, in-house disputes often published in The New York Review of Books’s letters-to-the-editor sections, we can read about a disagreement among educational experts under the heading “Scandals in Higher Education: An Exchange” (4/26/07). Well, not much of a disagreement because none of the participants gives ... [click for more]

Democracy and Government Schools

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Let’s be frank. We advocates of a completely free market in education are making little progress. I think I know why. Before I get to that, let’s look at where we are. Roughly 90 percent of American children attend government schools. That share has not changed substantially in the last 20 ... [click for more]

The Education Debate We’re Not Having

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My adopted state of New Hampshire may be at a crossroads. The state supreme court has commanded the legislature to find a new way of funding public schools by next summer, or else the justices will impose a solution of their own. Many people here fear that a directive from ... [click for more]
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