For John, BLUF: We need to rethink our vision of how to educate our youth. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Here is the sub-headline:
Eliminating compulsory schooling laws would break the century-and-a-half stranglehold of schooling on education.
From the Foundation for Economic Education, by Ms Kerry McDonald, October 05, 2018.
Here is the lede plus two:
We should always be leery of laws passed “for our own good,” as if the state knows better. The history of compulsory schooling statutes is rife with paternalism, triggered by anti-immigrant sentiments in the mid-nineteenth century and fueled by a desire to shape people into a standard mold.This is a discussion well worth having. There are two reasons for that. The first is because it is about the education (and thus the success) of our children. The second reason is because we spend large amounts of tax money on education and some of it might not be efficient spending.
History books detailing the “common school movement” and the push for universal, compulsory schooling perpetuate the myths that Americans were illiterate prior to mass schooling, that there were limited education options available, and that mandating school attendance under a legal threat of force was the surest way toward equality.
In truth, literacy rates were quite high, particularly in Massachusetts, where the first compulsory schooling statute was passed in 1852. Historians Boles and Gintis report that approximately three-quarters of the total U.S. population, including slaves, was literate. There was a panoply of education options prior to mass compulsory schooling, including an array of public and private schooling options, charity schools for the poor, robust apprenticeship models, and homeschooling—this latter approach being the preferred method of Massachusetts education reformer Horace Mann, who homeschooled his own three children while mandating common school attendance for others.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff