This is an excerpt from “The Case Against the State,” by Tanner Cook.
“The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on – because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.” ~ Noam Chomsky
Proposition: The original intended purpose of our current “educational” system was designed to train children in obedience and for nationalist indoctrination, not education. Furthermore, as evidenced by the data and the cost of education, the State has proven to be most inefficient in its alleged attempt at public education.
Reasoning: Most of us received our history lessons from the public education system, so it’s safe to assume that most don’t know the history of this system. In order to understand the current education sysdeliberate art for fashioning in man a stable and infallible good will.
That is its first characteristic. …The new education must consist essentially in this, that it completely destroys freedom of will in the soil which it undertakes to cultivate and produces on the contrary strict necessity in the decisions of the will, the opposite being impossible. Such a will can henceforth be relied on with confidence and certainty.” It was made explicitly clear that the primary purpose of this new method of compulsory schooling was to shape the “will” of the child, not to educate.
By the 1830s, the Prussian educational system was fully operational, and other governments began to take notice. Martin Brimmer, a Boston city government official, displayed the prevailing sentiment and general theme of the virtue of moral instruction and State servitude in the following passage: “Happy the people whose sons and daughters may be well instructed at the public charge; and happy, thrice happy that community, all of whose children shall receive a physical, moral, and religious education, to the glory of God, and the service of the state.”
Horace Mann, a politician from Massachusetts, spent six weeks in Europe evaluating the various school systems, and upon visiting Prussia, endorsed his support for their compulsory education. Mann was highly instrumental in the establishment of public schools and is often referred to as the “Father of American Education.” Mann admitted a desire for social engineering and wished to bend the will of others. In a letter published by his wife, Horace Mann confesses: “I have abandoned jurisprudence, and have betaken myself to a larger sphere of mind and morals. Having found the present generation composed of materials almost unmalleable, I am about transferring my efforts to the next. Men are cast-iron, but children are wax. Strength expended upon the latter may be effectual, which would make no impression upon the former.” precisely what the Prussians were searching for when implementing their educational reforms.
Johann Fichte, a German philosopher who took a leading role in the German nationalist movement, said this in his Addresses to the German Nation about the new educational system: “The education proposed by me, therefore, is to be a reliable and with Horace Mann leading the charge, in 1852, the State of Massachusetts adopted the Prussian Education System and compulsory attendance laws. The rest of the country quickly followed suit. Mann’s sales pitch to legislatures was that universal public education was the best way to turn the nation’s unruly children into disciplined, judicious republican citizens. The passion for implementing compulsory schools seemed much more focused on social engineering and control rather than actual education. The origins of compulsory public education are not very inspiring, but how do schools fare in modern practice? Turns out, not well at all.
As a report in U.S. News explains, “Since World War II, inflation-adjusted spending per student in American public schools has increased by 663 percent. Where did all of that money go? One place it went was to hire more personnel. Between 1950 and 2009, American public schools experienced a 90 percent increase in student population. During that time, public schools increased their staff by 386 percent – four times the increase in students. The number of teachers increased by 252 percent, over 2.5 times the increase in students. The number of administrators and other staff increased by over seven times the increase in students. …This staffing surge still exists today. From 1992 to 2014 – the most recent year of available data – American public schools saw a 19 percent increase in their student population and a staffing increase of 36 percent.
This decades-long staffing surge in American public schools has been tremendously expensive for the taxpayers, yet it has not led to significant changes in student achievement. For example, public school national math scores have been flat (and national reading scores declined slightly) for 17-year-olds since 1992. In addition, public high school graduation rates experienced a long and slow decline between 1970 and 2000. Today, graduation rates are slightly above where they were in 1970.” It’s clear that the State’s attempt to forcefully educate children has been a complete failure at its foundation, yet, the importance of educating future generations is still just as strong; the market demand for this type of service is unrelenting. Without the State assuming this role, could the private sector satisfy this need?
A report examining the effectiveness of private schools to public schools from the Journal of Development Economics sheds some light on the issue: “Controlling for observable personal characteristics and school selection, we find that graduates of private secondary schools perform better in the labor market. This is contrary to the widely held belief, in Indonesia, that public secondary schools are superior. Our findings, coupled with the existing literature on private school cognitive and cost advantages, suggest the need for greater private participation in the education sector.” An article from the Journal of Economic Perspectives also states that, “Private ownership should generally be preferred to public ownership when the incentives to innovate and to contain costs must be strong.
In essence, this is the case for capitalism over socialism, explaining the ‘dynamic vitality’ of free enterprise. The great economists of the 1930s and 1940s failed to see the dangers of socialism in part because they focused on the role of prices under socialism and capitalism and ignored the enormous importance of ownership as the source of capitalist incentives to innovate. Moreover, the concern that private firms fail to address ‘social goals’ can be addressed through government contracting and regulation, without resorting to government ownership. The case for private provision only becomes stronger when competition between suppliers, reputational mechanisms, the possibility of provision by private not-for-profit firms, as well as political patronage and corruption, are brought into play.”
When the facts are brought to light, as important as education is, the system of indoctrination implemented by the State, at significant already exist, and they outperform public schools. The State’s compulsory educational system does not appeal to reason and evidence. It is nothing but a tool for control.
As Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “The governments of the great States have two instruments for keeping the people dependent, in fear and obedience: a coarser, the army; and a more refined, the school.”