Kids can learn a lot of different things in government public schools. The one thing, however, that they learn across the board is deference to authority – in this case, the authority of the government. Think about all the stories about the application of zero-tolerance policies for anything that looks, acts, speaks of, or tastes like (not really, but one kid was suspended for chewing his breakfast pastry into the shape of something that looked like a weapon) like a gun. The government’s message is guns are bad -in all cases- and you, little compliant future society worker bee, you will not have them, like them, see them, or talk about them.
There are other examples; guns is just one. Our government-run school system was built with the idea of turning out compliant -and uniform- factory workers, civil servants, and citizens. Our society has changed a lot since the public school model was introduced, but the schooling method has barely changed at all (except that it costs a lot more). Jacob Hornberger writes about it in the FFF blog.
Following up on my blog post of yesterday regarding public schooling, yesterday’s New York Times had a really interesting article about public schooling in Thailand that demonstrated perfectly the real purpose of this socialistic program—to produce good little citizens who loyally defer to the authority of the government. Through of a system of imposed regimentation and conformity over a period of many years, the state is able to produce malleable mindsets within people that mold themselves to whatever government officials say, mindsets that are unable and unwilling to engage in independent, critical thinking when it comes to major government policies.
Public schooling is actually army-lite. Here in the United States, at the age of six every child is effectively drafted into the government’s educational system. Every child is mandated to subject himself to a government-approved education. If he fails to do so, his parents go to jail or even have their children taken away from them.
Most American children respond to the state’s compulsory-attendance laws by dutifully reporting to the government institutions known as public schools. Of course, we call them public schools but they are really government schools. They are owned and operated by local and state governmental bureaucracies.
Wealthy Americans are able to send their children to private schools. There, state control is not as direct as it is in public schools, but the control is still there nonetheless. Private schools can operate only with a license issued by the state. If the state yanks the license, the school goes out of business. Thus, most private schools must ensure that their overall educational framework meets the demands and expectations of the state.
Homeschooled students have the best chance to develop an independent mindset. But even then, in many states the homeschooling curriculum and methods are subject to state supervision and control. If the state doesn’t approve of how the student is developing, it will order the child to report to a government-approved school.