Education

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]

The “Value” of Public Schooling

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There are two major values of public schooling, from the perspective of government officials. One, this institution provides the means by which government officials can slowly but surely, over a period of 12 years, mold the mindsets of children into one of conformity and obedience to authority. Second, public ... [click for more]

Public Schools Have Flunked Out

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Public schools are brain dead and on life support; so let’s pull the plug on them, give them a decent funeral, and let better alternatives take root and flourish. Education is what we must save and regenerate, not an obsolete proven flop that has been in a persistent counterproductive condition for decades. The time has come to slaughter a sacred ... [click for more]

It Takes Government to Create a Reading Crisis

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When Horace Mann and his colleagues launched the public-school movement some 175 years ago, they made extravagant promises. Turn the education of children over to enlightened altruistic experts working under government auspices, they said, and illiteracy, vice, and crime will become things of the past. I’m not kidding. Most people don’t know ... [click for more]

School-Choice Flaws

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Some advocates of what is euphemistically called “school choice” argue that their reform would be a crucial step along the road to the separation of school and state. Some of us have dissented. Knowing how government works, we’ve had a hunch that vouchers and tuition tax credits would most likely ... [click for more]

The Separation of Education and State

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Americans, like most people around the world, have become so accustomed to the role that government plays in educating children that the idea of separating education from the state usually comes as a complete shock to them. While everyone is aware of the ever-growing problems associated with public schooling, the ... [click for more]
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