Hardly a week goes by that there isn't a story about some kind of lunacy or depravity being peddled by the government school establishment. Some of it is crazy in an amusing sort of way if you aren't the victim, such as the boy who got suspended for biting a pastry into the form of a gun, even though it looked nothing like a gun.
Many other things are pernicious, such as countermanding the moral authority of the parents and teaching the children things that they find abhorrent. Several years ago there was a controversy over some books called Daddy's Roommate and Heather Has Two Mommies. These were blatant homosexual propaganda, but today they are used in many schools even if the parents object. Why this is even a subject to be taught in school would be a mystery were it not for its social engineering purpose.
Massachusetts has blazed new horizons in insanity by asserting that students are to be treated as the sex they claim to be, not their chromosomal sex. What is this but teaching mental illness? If a white student claims that he is black, is he to be accommodated? The “transracial” student would actually be on firmer ground since there would be no chromosomal difference.
What could damage a child more than teaching him that perception is reality? In later life, the person might think he has money in the bank that isn't there. Is the bank going to acquiesce to his perception or give him a jolt of reality?
A few years ago, I was walking back from lunch with a friend of mine, Chris Mileto, and pontificating about how government schools were bad and should be eliminated. He summed it up very succinctly by saying “The public schools are the workshop of Satan.” Many people know this in some form, but think that they can reform the schools or get rid of the bad people running things and everything will be fine. It won't be.
I have never heard any “reformer” say that compulsory schooling is the problem. The government has no business or authority compelling parents to send their children to school. Does the government have the authority to compel a certain diet? How about gym classes or dancing lessons? Almost anybody can see a problem with compulsory church attendance, but compulsory schooling has been around so long that people see nothing wrong with it. No amount of reform will solve the problem. Once compulsion is removed, all authority over curriculum evaporates, and voila, diversity in education. Diversity is the highest good, right? Why not a little diversity in thought?
Hilaire Belloc pointed out the problem eighty-four years ago in a book called Survivals and New Arrivals.
“A universal and compulsory system of instruction has for its first and main effect uniformity. It produces to a pattern. It fills the millions of a nation (at the age when the mind is being fixed) with one set of ideas to the exclusion of others. No mere limited freedom of choice in text-books and teachers can prevent this effect, when the whole system is subject to State regulation, supervision, examination and test..... It is not the particular form of the system, it is its universal character which is of this effect. On reflection we see that it must be so. A body of national teachers will come into being and will be informed with a corporate spirit. They will be trained all in much the same fashion to the same fixed “standards” and with the same ends in view. They will teach under the shadow of a vast bureaucracy and to ends set them by an army of inspectors, examiners and department officials.
You have, therefore, here one essential condition of the "Modern Mind"; its lack of diversity; its mechanical deadness.....
Universal Compulsory Instruction contains also on its compulsory side, as well as in the matter of its universality, a force making for the creation of the "Modern Mind." Compulsion, long continued, breeds acceptance; and the acceptance without question of such authority as it meets - especially that of print - 'blind faith" we have said, "divorced from reason" - is a very mark of the "Modern Mind."
.... The Parent does not choose his child's instructor nor the nature of his teaching, both are imposed by the Civil Authority. The child goes daily to and from that institution, has its whole life coloured by it, knows that its attendance is not an order of its parents but a public command enforced by the Police.... It is at once teaching and law, and those subjected to it are inoculated from their earliest years with a paralysis in the faculty of distinction - of clarity in thought through analysis. Look around you and note the incapacity for strict argument, the impatience with exact definition, the aversion to controversy (mother of all truth) and the facility in mere affirmation. Herein lies their root.”
Leonard Read was the first person I ever read who argued against compulsory schooling. When the idea of abolishing compulsory schooling is first encountered, it sounds crazy to almost everybody because of its long practice. It is the taproot of everything that is wrong with American schools.
The schools don't need to be reformed, they need to be abolished and the state needs to be forbidden any authority over teaching whatsoever.