“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
“Is there an idea more radical,” John Taylor Gatto begins in a Youtube video, “in the history of the human race, than turning your children over to total strangers, who you know nothing about?”
“And,” Gatto goes on, “having those strangers work on your child’s mind, out of your sight, for a period of twelve years?
“Could there be a more radical idea than that?”
Our response is yes. Unfortunately, Mr. Gatto, it can indeed get more radical.
Next level radical is when total strangers throw you in jail because your child didn’t receive enough time with said other total strangers.
And it’s something that, strange but true, happens. Yes, even in the Land of the Free.
Take, for example, what mother and substitute teacher Julie Giles wrote on her Facebook page last May, just before she turned herself in:
“If anyone feels the need to go public with this feel free to do so… the facts are Sam originally had what they consider 12 unexcused absences, 6 are allowed per year, so he had 6 more than is acceptable, but the doctor reissued 3 excuses that Sam didn’t turn in, so basically I am being arrested for THREE days.”
Yes, Giles was locked in a cage because her son Sam missed three more days of instruction than he “should’ve.”
Kicker? The police even had the gall to shackle her ankles.
“I am home,” she wrote later. “I was actually placed in ankle shackles!! I was told that doing so is procedure. I was respectful and followed directions. Sheriff Mike Kile allowed me to leave after being booked and was photographed without having to call a bondsman. I will call tomorrow to get my court date.”
But, wait. There’s more…
In 2011, another mother, Kelley Williams-Bolar of Akron, Ohio, was arrested for sending her kids to a public school out of her district.
(Because redistribution of income is for the “greater good,” right?)
Her father, Edward L. Williams, lived in a more prosperous area. His district had a school she liked. Lacking options for good schools in her district (for example, there weren’t any good schools in her district), she asked her father if she could use his address to enroll her girls at the good school.
He, as any of us would in his position, said yes.
Two years later, as a result, Williams was charged with a fourth-degree felony: grand theft. And both he and his daughter were charged with “defrauding” the school system. (Even though Williams was, in fact, legitimately a resident of the district.)
The court also ruled that Williams-Bolar pay $30,500 in tuition. Which is, we suppose, what two years must cost two girls from the ghetto.
But, wait once more. There was hope in the land…
[After massive public pressure from Change.org and other activist websites] The gracious governor, Mr. John Kasich, took the Grand Podium and, with a flick of his shriveled lawmaker, reduced Williams-Bolar’s sentence of jail time and changed her felonies to mere misdemeanors.
(Whoever tells you that chivalry is dead and has dug even a bare toe into the incorruptible soil of Ohio is either unpatriotic or a conspiracy nut.)
Unfortunately, though he may’ve tried to muster it up, Kasich didn’t have the juice to extend his bedraggled monolith of compassion to Williams-Bolar’s father, Edward Williams.
Edward, a law-abiding citizen, lost his home over the charge. He died in prison in 2012.
Why? Because his granddaughters deserved a better education. But were instead forced into failing schools.
And that’s just a microcosm of what happens as a result of this loony overly-centralized compulsory public education system.
“Mass schooling of a compulsory nature really got its teeth into the United States between 1905 and 1915,” John Taylor Gatto wrote in an essay titled Against School, “though it was conceived of much earlier and pushed for throughout most of the nineteenth century.”
When the State pitched this radical public schooling adventure to the masses, Gatto explains, they said it would be good for three things: “To make good people. To make good citizens. To make each person his or her personal best.”
Of course, that’s just what they told the public. And, gee golly, who doesn’t want to be a ‘good personal best citizen!’?
H.L. Mencken, sharp as he was, saw it for what it still is: “…the aim of public education is not to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence… nothing could be further from the truth. The aim… is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States… and that is its aim everywhere else.”
It is, as you probably know, a replica of the Prussian compulsory schooling system.
“The Prussian mind,” Gatto explained in his book The Underground History of American Education, “which carried the day, held a clear idea of what centralized schooling should deliver: 1) Obedient soldiers to the army; 2) Obedient workers for mines, factories and farms; 3) Well-subordinated civil servants, trained in their function; 4) Well-subordinated clerks for industry; 5) Citizens who thought alike on most issues; 6) National uniformity in thought, word, and deed.”
And over the past century, the only thing that’s changed about our centralized education system is it’s gotten worse.
But it wasn’t always this way. And this craziness can (and, we believe, will) be reversed.
From 1776 to the early 1800s, school was, as Neal McCluskey said in an essay featured in Policy Analysis: “decentralized, entrepreneurial, and driven by the demands of individual parents and local communities, not school districts or states.”
And because of this freedom of information, by the time the state stepped fully in, literacy was already widespread.
And, fortunately, this decentralized nature of learning is making a resurgence. Education is slowly spreading out — and going virtual.
The World Bank itself, the “almighty centralizer,” contributed to a study which readily admitted a trend of growing decentralization: “Most countries are experimenting with or contemplating some form of education decentralization,” says the report. “The process transfers decision-making powers from central Ministries of Education to intermediate governments, local governments, communities and schools.”
And here’s more good news: Each time the compulsory education system in the U.S. does something ridiculous as placing a mother in shackles (“Durr… must follow procedure”), or throws the book at a mother for wanting more for her children, the sillier it will seem to the public it supposedly serves.
And the less legitimacy, and trust, it will uphold.
Until, finally, one day in the near future, as it reaches a blaring crescendo of craziness, people will start to wonder:
“Wait a minute. Why are we paying for this [expletive deleted]? Education is virtually free.”
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
P.S. Tomorrow, as promised, you’ll learn how to access the Darknet in less than five minutes — and why it’s good to know.
P.P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.