Educational freedom means getting the government out of the education business and the idea of compulsion out of education. It means parents providing for their children's education in the same way that they purchase any other service in a free society. The idea that parents can afford to pay rent, buy a car, feed the kids, and buy their clothes but can't pay for their education is preposterous. If parents had to pay for education, they would budget their finances to include that expenditure. And they would have the money to do so, because they would not have to pay the high taxes that now support the present wasteful government-owned and -operated system.
That's the kind of educational freedom that existed in colonial times and the early days of our republic. Imagine how different our history would be if King George III had set up a government education system, with compulsory school attendance laws, and a curriculum that would have brainwashed the children to become loyal and obedient subjects to the King. Would we have had a Declaration of Independence? Would we have had such independent-minded founding fathers as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and others? What do you think?
We've been led to believe that without compulsory school attendance, we'd have illiterate, ignorant children sitting home playing video games, watching TV all day or roaming the streets and committing crimes. But the glaring fact is that, despite compulsory school attendance laws, we now have more illiteracy, more ignorance, and more delinquency among young Americans than before such laws were enacted. In 1993, a survey of adult literacy in America sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Education, revealed that half the adult population of the United States can barely read or write. That's what 150 years of government schooling have given us!
Back in the days of educational freedom we had 99 percent literacy. In 1812, DuPont de Nemours, the Frenchman who founded the DuPont chemical company, published a book entitled National Education in the United States of America. He wrote:
The United States are more advanced in their educational facilities than most countries. They have a large number of primary schools; and as their paternal affection protects children from working in the fields, it is possible to send them to the school-master — a condition that does not prevail in Europe. Most young Americans, therefore, can read, write and cipher. Not more than four in a thousand are unable to write legibly — even neatly … In America, a great number of people read the Bible, and all the people read a newspaper. The fathers read aloud to their children while breakfast is being prepared — a task which occupies the mothers for three quarters of an hour every morning. And as the newspapers of the United States are filled with all sorts of narratives … they disseminate an enormous amount of information.
Obviously, back in the early days of the republic, education was a family affair closely connected to religious practice. A nation built on Biblical principles had to be a highly literate one. And all of this high level of literacy was achieved without any government involvement, without any centralized bureaucracy, without any professors of education, or accrediting agencies, or teacher certification. And, most significantly, without any compulsory attendance laws.
The fact that millions of young Americans now emerge from twelve years of compulsory schooling unable to read, write, spell proficiently, or do basic arithmetic, or speak grammatically, means that the purpose of public education is no longer education but something else. What is that something else? It is politically-correct socialization. But even that doesn't work, since so many of these victims of the system become anti-social nihilists and delinquents.
What our nation needs now, more than ever, is a return to educational freedom, so that the American people can apply their ingenuity and unbounded energies to the creation of alternatives to the present debilitating system. Technology has now made compulsory school attendance obsolete. One can now learn much more at home than in any public classroom, and at less cost to everyone.
The goal of homeschoolers, Christian educators, libertarians, and conservatives in general should be the repeal of all compulsory school attendance laws, which have become the most powerful weapons the education establishment can use to thwart the competition and force parents to do the educators' will.
These laws not only violate the parents' unalienable right to determine how their children are to be educated, but they violate the 13th Amendment, which prohibits involuntary servitude. No child should be forced to serve the state and the interests of the education establishment. No child should be forced to undergo brainwashing and indoctrination by a self-serving monopoly of facilitators and change agents.
True individual freedom will never be regained in this country until educational freedom is restored. The nature of a society is determined by the way its children are educated. The present atheistic, immoral education system has produced the Columbines, the violence and vandalism than now plague our public schools. The ultimate aim of the system is to lead us into a New World Socialist Order in which parents will be deprived of the right to control the education of their children.
If you're not sure what the New World Socialist Order will be like, just read the yearly resolutions of the National Education Association and get hold of the Student Data Handbook (NCES 94-303) which describes the scope of information that is now being gathered on each child and put into the federal computer in Washington for the purpose of social control.
The compulsory attendance laws are the linchpin of the whole totalitarian plan. Such laws have been used by every modern dictator and tyrannical government to control their people and mold the minds of the children. Such laws are not only not needed in a free society, but ultimately lead to its demise.
For that reason, the Alliance for the Separation of School and State was founded by Marshall Fritz in 1994, as an organization devoted to unraveling the whole convoluted web of statist control and regulation that is strangling individual and religious freedom. Only when Americans get themselves solidly back on the road to freedom will they be able to transfer to the next generation the true legacy of liberty left to us by our founding fathers.
Unfortunately, too many conservatives and Christians still send their children to public schools. If they would all withdraw them from the system, we’d be well on the road to restoring this nation’s freedoms.
But there is one thing every freedom lover can do. And that is support the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. Marshall Fritz died in 2008. But he left the Alliance in the good hands of Alan Schaeffer. Check out their website at www.schoolandstate.org.