The song from which this post takes its name was a protest against English public schools, which were used in that country to crush young spirits and enforce a heinous caste system. At this point, it is impossible for any thinking person to support state controlled schools. Thinkers on all sides and throughout history have come to the same conclusion.
- They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork – George Carlin
- Schools train you to be … a usable victim for a military industrial complex that needs manpower – Frank Zappa
Mr. Carlin, above, recorded perhaps the best ever statement of this problem. It’s worth spending three minutes on YouTube to hear the whole piece. Jeremiah’s favorites are the thinkers who identified this as a general problem regardless of political alignment.
- State education is a mere contrivance for molding people [into] that which pleases the dominant power in the government – John Stuart Mill
- Too much state control in educational matters is a fatal danger to freedom, since it must lead to indoctrination – Karl Popper
- We have not yet developed a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination – Doris Lessing
Finally, we have two quotes from dictators who were candid about their intentions. Especially creepy is the idea that the young victims will be incapable of thinking critically. They are to be mentally maimed.
- The schools must fashion the person, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than what you wish him to will – Johann Gottlieb Fichte
- Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted – Vladimir Lenin
For America to be successful, and meritocratic, we must ensure that all children have access to good education – but we must not trust the state to provide it. The state will use the schools for indoctrination instead of education, which may be why American schools are the world’s most expensive.
Delegating education to the private sector would make it more efficient, but there is no guarantee that corporate messaging would not find its way into the schools – substituting one form of indoctrination for another.
This problem does not have a ready solution, but there is a clear mechanism for finding a solution. This is an important technique for setting policy. You don’t always need a ready solution. Only statists believe that policy makers have all the answers. What you need is a mechanism for finding a solution.
In this case, the mechanism is to enlist parents in fixing the schools. Ensure that the state will pay for public schools, private schools, charter schools, online schools, home schools, and even religious schools – and allow the parents to choose.
Initially, there might be wacko schools teaching dogma instead of arithmetic, but these would fail rapidly. Parents will reliably move their kids into the most effective schools. They are the group best equipped to find a solution, and they should have the power.
See also: Backpack funding puts focus on students