Friday, April 8, 2011

Do Compulsory Education Laws Cause More Harm than Good?

I'll begin with a quote from a favorite book of mine. I know it is long, but I think it really highlights this unquestioned law that we have in this country.

Going hand in hand with the spread of public education have been compulsory attendance laws, which have forced all children up to a high — and continually increasing — minimum age, to attend either a public school or a private school certified as suitable by the state apparatus. In contrast to earlier decades, when a relatively small proportion of the population went to school in the higher grades, the entire mass of the population has thus been coerced by the government into spending a large portion of the most impressionable years of their lives in public institutions. We could easily have analyzed compulsory attendance laws [p. 120] in our chapter on involuntary servitude, for what institution is more evidently a vast system of incarceration? In recent years, Paul Goodman and other critics of education have trenchantly exposed the nation's public schools — and to a lesser extent their private appendages — as a vast prison system for the nation's youth, dragooning countless millions of unwilling and unadaptable children into the schooling structure. The New Left tactic of breaking into the high schools shouting "Jailbreak!" may have been absurd and ineffective, but it certainly expressed a great truth about the school system. For if we are to dragoon the entire youth population into vast prisons in the guise of "education," with teachers and administrators serving as surrogate wardens and guards, why should we not expect vast unhappiness, discontent, alienation, and rebellion on the part of the nation's youth? The only surprise should be that the rebellion was so long in coming. But now it is increasingly acknowledged that something is terribly wrong with America's proudest institution; that, especially in urban areas, the public schools have become cesspools of crime, petty theft, and drug addiction, and that little or no genuine education takes place amidst the warping of the minds and souls of the children.

Murray Rothbard wrote this passage in For a New Liberty. In many ways, schooling did seem very much like incarceration. There were many classes which truly seemed like a waste. I could have been doing something productive for society and learning something while doing it instead of, for example, learning about the new art techniques that developed during the Renaissance, which, while interesting, is in no way useful to me. Then there is the fact that I was literally grounded to the campus for most of the day. I am not allowed to leave campus during lunch hours, but what purpose does that serve?

One day, maybe, we will look past our first reactions and try to see the real value that schooling has, especially our modern centralized system. A new approach is needed, as our schools today are nothing but centers of indoctrination of our society's most impressionable minds.

1 comment:

  1. Wow,
    am impressed that no-one has commented in nearly one year, either the indoctrination has been complete or this is a topic too hot to handle.
    myself I am pleased to have this raised, I have been saying for some time that I was not educated, I was incarcerated.
    I did not get ANYTHING from my schooling as I had what we term in Britain 'learning difficulties'. I did not have the social awareness to make any friends, or even to rebel against the harm that was being done to me. I am an autodidactic having taught myself since leaving school. The one thing that this has really given me is an independent mindset, I see way and above other peoples' arguments and past the propaganda fed to us by the political elite and the 'pandering to the masses' media.
    it's no fun though, I see things but cannot communicate them to others. I saw the economic crash coming while Clinton was still in the White house, I KNEW Iraq would be a disaster: not for the moral reasons that were very pertinent at the time, but for the strategic impact it would have in diverting attention from Afghanistan. just because the president of the USA stands on the deck of an aircraft carrier and says the war is over does not make it true.
    If you are interested in this topic (not war) but the abusive of so called 'education' I recommend the 6th Feb BBC radio programme ANALYSIS "do schools make a difference?": you can listen again to this from their website.
    it is interesting that they are only looking at the possible positive benefits yet they come to the conclusion that, at best, schools make only a 10% improvement!
    Meanwhile, I am concentrating on recovering the Joy of my childhood (and reading Orwell)