Separating School & State
by Sheldon Richman

The book explains why American public education is bad, but it does not explain why it is so much worse than public education in other industrialized countries.


"Literacy was higher before government schools existed." p. 3

The same arguments against national religion apply to national education. p. 6

"To those who say families cannot be trusted with the education of children, the proper answer is: then why do you wish to leave democratic decision making regarding the schools to the heads of those families? Surely it is more feasible for parents to make decisions about their own children's education than it is for them to make such decisions for everyone's children." p. 7

This is not an unanswerable argument. It could be the case than the majority of families take a sensible position about education while a minority of families are irresponsible. If this is the case, then the public education approach under democratic control is more rational than the laissez faire approach (assuming that education of children is a good thing and that it is OK to ignore the parents natural rights).
""Public" and "private" are therefore misleading labels. We would advance the cause of clear thinking if, instead, we called them the coercive and consensual sectors. The "public" in "public schools" is an Orwellian euphemism for coercive. Their money and their students are procured by force." p. 8

"Value-free education is a chimera. Even an attempt to divorce values from education conveys a view of values: that they are unimportant." p. 23

Year Read: 1997

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