Quoting Theodore Roosevelt

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society”

~Theodore Roosevelt

This is kind of what I’ve been saying all over the place it seems. This is why I say — in general — that public, state schools suck so much. We are seeing right before our eyes, the education of menaces to society.

Can we deny it?

Can we point to a few schools and a handful of teachers who are exceptions to this rule? Sure. Does it mean that our state controlled, taxpayer funded, industrialized factory-model education system is doing a stellar job at educating a little over 50% of the millions of children force-fed through the system, and because of that, it is worth maintaining?

Hell no!

So what are you going to do about it? (I mean, besides writing pithy retorts on internet forums about how your teachers are great and the schools that your kids go to are top-notch and how people like me shouldn’t be so mean-spirited.)

What Would Teddy Do?

Maybe he’d tell you go yank your kids out of public school, teach them a little “morals clarification” in what it’s like to be a family and to work for your existence.

Maybe then, your head might clear and you will realize how our Government Schools have taken our children and trained them, not to be well educated, but rather trained them to be a menace to society.

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Curing the Public School Disease: The Diagnosis

All I see–in news story after news story about Public Schooling–is symptom after symptom being treated as if it’s the disease.

It’s like suddenly realizing your foot has gone all gangrene on you, and the doctor says, “Yup… that’s nasty. We have to cut it off or you’ll die.” So you lose the limb (because you really don’t want to die right now) and go home happy that your problems are solved… except the doctor didn’t tell you about your diabetes.

Turns out the doctor makes his money performing amputations. Being the professional who knows more than you, he will be more than happy to solve your problems three more times before he’ll have to look harder for another symptom to treat.

So, here are a few more symptoms of another sort: We have discipline problems in Muncie schools, we have a student that was allegedly raped by another student during lunch and the administration brushed her off for two and a half hours (and didn’t call the police), and as a result of the outcry, the public school administrators are making up new rules to make sure this doesn’t happen again. (RIGHT!) So once again, we are all up in arms (and legs, if we are to continue this metaphor) about how to treat this pressing problem; a problem that is a symptom of the disease, not the disease.

Pretty much every public education problem we read or hear about is a symptom.

  • Teachers aren’t teaching the kids the basic knowledge needed to function in society. Symptom.
  • Parents aren’t teaching their children to respect authority. Symptom.
  • Kids aren’t interested in learning and they lash out or disrupt or bully the students who are interested in learning. Symptom.
  • Kids dropping out or “escaping” before the school wants them to. Symptom.
  • Public school officials, tired of the high number of poorly performing students negatively affecting their state test averages, only to turn into dropouts and negatively affecting their graduation rates, are finding creative ways to turn those numbers into gold by excommunicating those kids to private schools (homeschooling.)  See what’s going on in Texas, Illinois, and Indiana if you want to get an idea of what’s probably going on around the nation and still under the radar. BIG, WRONG, TREATMENT OF A SYMPTOM.
  • Rapes, assaults, drugs, gangs, sex in classrooms, sex with students, sex with teachers…. Symptoms all.

About anything you can come up with that we call a “problem” with Public Schools today, can be boiled down to a symptom, not a foundational, systemic, cause of all our problems with public education as we know it today.

So why are we so eager to treat the symptoms and not the disease that has so many disparate and unique symptoms? Could it be that we fear treating the disease because we know the side effects are going to be too uncomfortable for us to handle? Could it be that our culturally ingrained philosophies about schooling every single child at all costs have caused us to miss the point of what true education is all about? (Tolstoy would have called real education–enlightenment. We don’t hear that today. Today, it’s called “attendance.”)

Before compulsory mass schooling was proposed and implemented, funded by the taxpayers and delivered by government employees, there were generations upon generations of people who somehow managed to educate themselves. Start your research by reading about the Founding Fathers. Educate yourself and get back to me.

I know it’s hard to believe–for those of you who don’t read and educate themselves–but before public schooling, America’s literacy rate was estimated to be above 90%. Most all families had a Bible and could read it. The Federalist Papers were written in a manner (at the time) so that even the average American could understand what was being proposed. You could say that Adams dumbed it down so everyone could figure out what that Constitution thing was all about.

Can you imagine ANY high school class studying the Federalist Papers, discussing and debating the content intelligently today? Ever wonder to yourself why public schoolers don’t read much, or well? That’s another symptom.

So what is the disease?

Compulsion

The freedom and liberty we enjoy as Americans have been curtailed when it comes to our personal enlightenment; our personal education, if you will. One single law, and the feeding of a leviathan I call the Government/Education Industrial Complex has almost single-handedly usurped the responsibility and duty of every parent to raise AND educate their own children. Let’s face it: we’re only one free or reduced meal away from turning many of our public schools into Outpatient Orphanages. Right now, they’re just welfare schools for those who don’t take responsibility for rearing AND educating their children seriously.

If it’s Taxpayer Funded, Government Run, and Attendance is Compulsory, it must be a SCHOOL!

Schooling is NOT education. The two are different animals. Schooling in America is a system entirely based on compulsion… attendance.

Ever wonder why we don’t have compulsory EDUCATION laws? Why is that? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing? You go to school to get an education. Right? Well, no. If the State codified the compulsory receiving of an education/learning/enlightenment, then when they fail to deliver on that promise, you could (in theory) make a legal claim against the State.

The reality is, the State only compels you to ATTEND a school. You (or rather, your child) is not required to actually LEARN anything. You see… THAT part is really still up to the parent. YOU, the parent, are still responsible for making sure that your children BECOME educated, or enlightened so that they can participate in our civilized society. According to the state, schooling takes exactly twelve years… for everyone. But education? Isn’t that really a lifetime learning thing?

When do you really start learning about life and what you really want to be when you grow up? After high school, right? Isn’t that what we tell each other while retelling all of our public school horror stories? So what was the point of all those wasted years?

Oh! Take a look at that! Could that be a disease? Could that be the thing that spins off all those psycho-social symptoms we can’t keep track of? Compulsory Attendance? Never mind, let’s just chop off another limb. Let’s arrest parents who don’t force their children to attend government schools. That’s a symptom we can handle.

So seriously… how do we treat the disease and put a stop to about 90% of the social symptoms we are experiencing with Public Schools?

1) Repeal all compulsory attendance laws. We don’t have to have a law to force people to feed, clothe and shelter themselves, why is it necessary to force them to attend a government institution at the taxpayer’s expense for something called schooling?

2) Redefine the public’s role in paying for the attendance of other people’s children in State-run Schools. We either agree that it is important to contribute to the funding of every child’s education (not just the children who are property of the state) or we decide that while we support the education/enlightenment of every child, it’s really up to the parent to decide how that works out for their family–and how to pay for it.

I’ll let everyone mull those two big shots of chemo’ and expound on how I believe this treatment will work in a future post.

—-

It’s not that we can’t solve problems because they’re complicated; it’s that we DON’T want to solve problems because the solutions are too hard.

Quoting Alexis de Tocqueville: Literature Good, Tradeschool Better

This interesting quote speaks to the need for the study of ancient literature in order to secure a sound democracy. But, it is not good ONLY to study the classics. A society needs the trades, commerce and other producers so that the society’s needs are met, and all are happy.

In other words, your community isn’t worth squat with a bunch of pointy-headed intellectuals running around telling each other how smart they are. We need the ditch-diggers, the car-fixers, the grocers, clerks and farmers. Not everyone is going to go to college.

Maybe keeping kids in “…a multitude of bad grammar-schools, where superfluous matters, badly learned, stand in the way of sound instruction in necessary studies” is a bad thing. Maybe we should consider invigorating the general health of our communities by allowing those who are predisposed to the trades and other useful yet not necessarily academic studies, get to it and get on with their lives.

(Any added emphasis is mine.)

Alexis de Tocqueville, from "Democracy in America"

It is important that this point should be clearly under-stood. A particular study may be useful to the literature of a people without being appropriate to its social and political wants. If men were to persist in teaching nothing but the literature of the dead languages in a community where everyone is habitually led to make vehement exertions to augment or to maintain his fortune, the result would be a very polished, but a very dangerous set of citizens. For as their social and political condition would give them every day a sense of wants, which their education would never teach them to supply, they would perturb the state, in the name of the Greeks and Romans, instead of enriching it by their productive industry.

It is evident that in democratic communities the interest of individuals as well as the security of the commonwealth demands that the education of the greater number should be scientific, commercial, and industrial rather than literary.

Greek and Latin should not be taught in all the schools; but it is important that those who, by their natural disposition or their fortune, are destined to cultivate letters or prepared to relish them should find schools where a complete knowledge of ancient literature may be acquired and where the true scholar may be formed. A few excellent universities would do more towards the attainment of this object than a multitude of bad grammar-schools, where superfluous matters, badly learned, stand in the way of sound instruction in necessary studies.

All who aspire to literary excellence in democratic nations ought frequently to refresh themselves at the springs of ancient literature; there is no more wholesome medicine for the mind. Not that I hold the literary productions of the ancients to be irreproachable, but I think that they have some special merits, admirably calculated to counterbalance our peculiar defects. They are a prop on the side on which we are in most danger of falling.

About Me: Are You Part of the Homeschooling Movement?

Question: So how did you get involved in the home schooling movement? I home schooled some, saw a lot of positive out of it. Unfortunately, I also met home school parents who didn’t do a good job.

Answer: The short answer is, No. At least not in the sense of a movement that is organized. I think many people believe a movement isn’t a real movement until there are some non-profits involved, hiring lobbyists to give the movement ‘a voice’ in Washington. That’s not a movement. A movement is something where a huge number of people end up doing the same thing without the need for mailing lists, newsletters, calling trees and fundraising campaigns.

IF we are using the later term, then yes, I am part of the homeschooling movement. And I got into it by simply not forcing my kids to attend their local public school.

I didn’t get involved in the “movement” so much, as I just decided to become an involved parent. We decided to be involved in the raising AND education of our children. We decided early on that one of us was going to stay home when we had children, and as it turned out, I was self-employed in a business that was not conducive to a steady income and my wife was. Choice made.

While the kids were growing up, I used my skills to develop a web based and user-group based homeschooling network http://www.ihen.org. I also joined a few other, like-minded parents to found http://www.indianahomeschoolers.com. For about a decade now, we’ve supported, helped, networked with other parents who need help with their homeschooling. We’ve (collectively) answered literally thousands of questions and pointed thousands of people in the right directions, finding co-ops, internet resources, hard resources (like museums, libraries, etc.) and generally Helped Hoosiers Homeschool. In fact, that’s our motto: Helping Hoosiers Homeschool since the turn of the century.

Are we a movement? Nah. We’re a project. A work in progress. We aren’t so much a “movement” as we are a simple networking hub for information and ideas about alternatives to public, state schooling.

So, am I a part of the movement? I suppose so. But it’s not like I have a fancy placard on the wall making it official.

Now… What About Those Other People?

The end of your question reflects a condition I like to refer to as: TOPS (Those Other People Syndrome).

If I can encourage you to think outside of the box a little, I would like for you to think deeply about your last two sentences.

You say you experienced a lot of positive things. Were those experiences more positive than you might have experienced with a public school? If so, then isn’t that the entire point of having the freedom to choose the educational paths for your family? You did great! Kids are great! Life is good!

But you say it’s unfortunate that (in your opinion) there were some parents who weren’t doing a good job homeschooling their own kids.

First… so what? Does the fact that (in your opinion) some people don’t do such a good job, impugn the entire enterprise? (I ask that because there are a surprising number of people who believe that a few bad apples should indite the entire barrel.)

Here is where I would like for everyone to do a little deeper thinking: If that is the case — bad homeschoolers make homeschooling an undesirable lifestyle for everyone — then what are we to do with other failing things? What about failing government schools? Bad teachers? Uninvolved and neglectful parents? Are not they just as, if not more, influential and destructive to the lives of children?

And what about those parents who are just plain bad? They send their kids to public schools because it’s convenient to not have to care for your own children 24/7, they don’t have to take responsibility for the kids’ education — and it’s free. The State Schools teach the kids next to nothing in a values-free vacuum, because they believe that kids that don’t learn things just don’t have involved parents. The kids don’t get any instruction at home, so  in essence, we have millions of kids being raised by government schools adopting Lord of the Flies philosophies and nurtured by the media culture. The kids are screwed until they can leave home and make a mess of their lives all on their own.

It’s at this point where we can easily tell which young adults were homeschooled and which went to public institutions. And I can say without doubt that the worst homeschooler I’ve met has never been worse than the best public schooler I’ve met. See, I don’t judge the parents; I judge the fruit (once it has matured.)

Are the bad parents doing a good job? Can we more easily point to those families on the street and say, “I’m worried about the way they’re raising their kids.” Sure we can.

But we don’t. Do we. So why the scrutiny on homeschoolers… who are most likely sitting quietly in a library, reading or researching or doing something relatively useful with their lives, with some involved guidance from their parents?

Homeschoolers are easy targets because they’re not doing things the way the rest of the Sheeple do, and that makes the Sheeple nervous.

The point is: at the end of the day, there isn’t much we can do about how people raise and educate their children, can we? We can’t conduct junk food raids on the homes of fat parents with fat kids (yet) and we can’t conduct “educational neglect” raids on the homes of homeschooling families (mostly because most public schools are doing much worse at that teaching thing.)

Fact is: Homeschooling families are always “suspect” and under suspicion for somehow harming their own children by doing something so out of the ordinary as RAISING THEM. Why is that? Please think about it a bit.

If there is one thing, dear reader, you come away with after reading this post, I hope you begin believing that it’s more important to watch out for the people who are REALLY affecting, abusing, indoctrinating our children and stop worrying about how parents — you’ve seen or heard about — are raising and educating their children. Here’s another motto I’ve used for years:

All Parents are Educators. What are you teaching YOUR children?

And THAT is what I do. I help people make progress and think for themselves and stop worrying about Those Other People by busting a few myths. If this is something you call a “movement” — to that I say, “Whatever. I’m in.”

BbB

Tolstoy Paraphrased: Ignore the State and Skip School

 

tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy

Perhaps I went a little overboard?

 

Posting a huge essay by Tolstoy was a little too much for most people to handle, I’m guessing. I know… homework that’s too hard can be a little tiring and really, who needs to know what some old dead white Russian guy said over a hundred years ago? All I can say is you got one thing going for you: Since this isn’t compulsory public school, you can CHOOSE to not enlighten yourself, and you won’t be punished with a bad grade or a detention.

In the school of life, you can choose to be as enlightened or as ignorant as you wish. Those who choose to become enlightened will take the time to read and think and make connections between what Tolstoy said in the past about tyrannical governments, and what’s going on today. In other words, the people with the most connections will be ahead of the game “educationally” because they took the time to enlighten themselves on something they weren’t assigned to learn by the State.

So don’t go crying about how some people are getting a better education than you or your kids. Some people are taking more liberties with the expansion of their knowledge than you are.

In case you missed it the point of the Skipping School blog is this: Government-run State Schools pour billions of taxpayer dollars into an assembly line model of citizen production. Government Schools do nothing to EDUCATE people… they SOCIALIZE people. State Schools dupe parents into believing their children are being taught to think, gain knowledge, become educated and thoughtfully prepared for the “real world” which–ironically–has been forcibly kept out of their common life experience eight to ten hours a day for twelve years! All I want to do is point this fact out and let you decide if this is what you want for your family.

What you are about to learn today (if you are still reading, and if you are, God bless you!) is something you or your children will never learn in school. It’s just not available. And you won’t learn as much with this post, as you would if you had read my previous post with the full text of Tolstoy’s letter. But this particular point is important, so I’m paraphrasing in the event that Tolstoy’s name gives you a headache and makes you want to watch Discovery or History Channel for a break.

Now, for a more concise look at the meaningful point of Tolstoy’s Letter to Liberals, or “What is to be done?”

Ignore the State

The government in Tolstoy’s day wasn’t allowing people to have much liberty and freedom. The people were complaining. Some thought violence was the key. Some thought that working within the system to make it better was the answer. Neither were working for reasons Tolstoy goes into in his letter. He notes that government will never allow its authority to be undermined. They will anything to keep the people thinking they are making productive changes, and ignorant of the fact that they are not changing things at all:

[Working within the government to bring about change is], in my opinion, even less effective or rational. It is ineffective and irrational because government, having in its hands the whole power (the army, the administration, the Church, the schools, and police), and framing what are called the laws, on the basis of which the [people] wish to resist it — this government knows very well what is really dangerous to it, and will never let people who submit to it, and act under its guidance, do anything that will undermine its authority. [The government will never consent to the people’s real enlightenment.]  It will sanction all kinds of pseudo-educational organizations, controlled by itself: schools, high schools, universities, academies, and all kinds of committees and congresses and publications sanctioned by the censor — as long as those organizations and publications serve its purpose, i.e. stupefy people, or, at least do not hinder the stupefaction of people.

Note that State Schools are integral to the stupefying of the people. Think of every nation that devolved into a dictatorship in history, and you’ll find a state controlled education system, by which the youth were institutionalized by the state and not free to become educated outside of the purview of the state. I’m not saying we have that in America. What I am saying, however, is that we are close to a consensus among many Americans that schooling outside of the purview of the state is wrong and in some cases, should be illegal. How soon before that idea becomes actual law?

Tolstoy continues:

But as soon as those organizations, or publications, attempt to cure that on which the power of government rests, i.e. the blindness of the people, the government will simply, and without rendering account to any one, or saying why it acts so and not otherwise, pronounce its “veto” and will rearrange, or close, the establishments and organizations and will forbid the publications. And therefore, as both reason and experience clearly show, such an illusory, gradual conquest of rights is a self-deception which suits the government admirably, and which it, therefore, is even ready to encourage.

As long as the self-deception is encouraged, the people will blindly keep working hard against their own self-interests to infringe upon their liberties in the name of the peaceful democratic process.

The point he ended up making towards the end was that if moral people simply stood up, did what was right and ignored the State, then the State couldn’t do anything about it without tipping its hand to the fact that they were oppressive, violent and did not respect human rights.

What is to be done?

What Tolstoy came up with is simple, yet the hardest thing for many people to do:

[People must continue with] the simple, quiet, truthful carrying on of what you consider good and needful, quite independently of government, and of whether it likes it or not. In other words: standing up for your rights, not as a member of [some special government] Committee, not as a deputy, not as a landowner, not as a merchant, not even as a member of Parliament; but standing up for your rights as a rational and free man, and defending them, not as the rights of local boards or committees are defended, with concessions and compromises, but without any concessions and compromises, in the only way in which moral and human dignity can be defended.

And what can government do against such activity? It can banish or imprison a man for preparing a bomb, or even for printing a proclamation to working-men; it can transfer our “Literature Committee” from one ministry to another, or close a Parliament — but what can a government do, with a man who is not willing publicly to lie with uplifted hand, [work within the government, lying in order to get certain laws passed] or who is not willing to send his children to an establishment which he considers bad, [schools among other places] or who is not willing to learn to kill people, [conscripted for the purpose of killing state enemies] or is not willing to take part in idolatry, [the state sanction religion of the time] or is not willing to take part in coronations, deputations, an addresses, or who says and writes what he thinks and feel? By prosecuting such a man, government secures for him general sympathy, making him a martyr, and it undermines the foundations on which it is itself built, for in so acting, instead of protecting human rights, it itself infringes them.

And it is only necessary for all those good, enlightened, and honest people, whose strength is now wasted in revolutionary, socialistic, or liberal activity, harmful to themselves and to their cause, to begin to act thus, and a nucleus of honest, enlightened, and moral people would form around them, united in the same thoughts and the same feelings; and to this nucleus the ever wavering crowd of average people would at once gravitate, and public opinion — the only power which subdues governments — would become evident, demanding freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, justice, and humanity. And as soon as public opinion was formulated, not only would it be impossible to close the “Literature Committee,” but all those inhuman organizations — the “state of siege — against which the revolutionists and the liberals are now struggling would disappear of themselves.

So, what would happen if all parents suddenly stood up, and stood against the practice of compulsory state schooling? What if they started educating their children otherwise? The Public Schools as we know them, would probably not disappear, but they would certainly change. Would they change for the good? I submit they would HAVE to, for if they didn’t, then surely they would disappear, as all things do that are not wanted, needed or worth purchasing — within the free market.

 

Please read the complete “Letter to Liberals” at LewRockwell.com or my original post, commenting on the letter in full, here. You should also read the book:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude by Boetie, for more thoughts on ignoring the state.

BbB