Originally published in The Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 4, May 1996
IF PARENTS CONTROLLED the schools, would we...
· Insist children learn the same things at the same time?
· Create a bleak artificial environment and lock our kids in it for years, knowing that most of what they learn is irrelevant or wrong?
· Allow them to have no standards, no goals, and to dumb down the kids?
· Allow our property to be confiscated if we didn't pay their bigger bill each year?
· Hire unionized teachers with binding arbitration who could vote for their raises?
· Let them give our kids mind-altering drugs (Ritalin) to control behavior as insane asylums do?
· Suspend the band and sports for a year to coerce ourselves to vote for a tax increase?
· Believe that 10 to 15 percent of our kids are "learning disabled" when figures show only a 1 percent likelihood?
· Allow our children's and our lives to be so dominated by school's synthetic experience that there's no time left for real experiences?
· Use standardized tests that have no education value and can damage kids?
· Use only "certified" staff when private schools have no such restriction and avoid hiring them?
· Assign 60 percent of every day to non-academic indoctrination like "social values?"
· Allow the state to dictate who can run our schools?
· Let teachers use our children as shills for their pay raises?
· Pay twice what private schools charge and get half the learning?
The answers are either no or hell no.
Parents are encouraged to relinquish our natural roles as educators. Feeling guilty about that, we are easy prey for schools that demand more taxes to raise our children badly. Educationists have learned to hustle us, shake us down in a shell game for control of money and our children's lives.
What's wrong here in my city is what is wrong everywhere — school is a state monopoly that can neither educate effectively nor inform the public honestly. To become responsive and accountable, education needs to be separated from government. Otherwise, it will continue to serve only itself and we will remain its slaves.
Some of the more