If the government would make up its mind to require for every child a good education, it might save itself the trouble of providing one.
That’s right. Get the government out of the education business at all levels — federal, state and local. Leave it to parents to obtain an education for their children wherever and however they may. Sure, help pay the school fees of the poorer children, but take the job of education out of the hands of the government.
I disagree with the popular notion that the whole or any large part of actual education should be in government hands. Educators spout on and on about diversity, but they dare not actually practice it. Diversity requires individuality of character, diversity in opinions (not just skin tones) and differing manners of conduct. To achieve this requires diversity in education, not just the state-run form.
A general state-run education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another. The mold in which they are cast is the one that pleases the government or the majority of the existing generation. It establishes a despotism over the mind, which naturally leads to one over the body.
An education system controlled by the state should only exist as one among many competing experiments. Now that’s diversity. This country contains a sufficient number of people qualified to provide education under government auspices. Those same people would be able and willing to give an equally good education if they worked for.
Yes, education should be compulsory, and, as I said, the state should help those unable to defray the expense. But all the government should do is establish a way to enforce the requirement of an education. Let’s say: public examinations. The test would ascertain whether the child could read and write at a certain age. If the child is unable to do so, the parents could be fined or required to perform some volunteer service.
The test should occur annually, with a gradually extending range of subjects until a degree of general knowledge is attained.
To prevent the government from exercising improper influence over opinion and extending political dogma and doctrine, as is currently the case. The knowledge required for passing an examination should be confined to facts exclusively. Exams should not turn on the truth or falsehood of opinions, but on the matter of fact that such and such an opinion is held, on such grounds, by such authors, or schools, or experts.
The rising generation surely would be no worse off.
In the long run, a society’s worth is measured in the individuals composing it. A society that turns its children into docile instruments of the state, mere cogs in the machinery, will find the machine works smoothly, but vitality is banished.
Now, while all those bloggers at MediaMatters and other so-called progressive websites are busily pounding out headlines like: “Oh my gawd, Nevada newspaper editor calls for the end of public education,” allow me to point out to those of you who haven’t yet collapsed in a fit of apoplexy at the utter heresy expressed above, those words are not mine. They are nothing more than a ham-fisted editing and modernization of portions of the final chapter ofJohn Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty,” published in 1869.
Mill was home schooled by his father and was taught Greek at the age of 3.
Mill described his brand of liberty thusly: “That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.”
Today, everybody wants to tell everybody else how to think, live and behave.