Posted on | December 30, 2016 | Comments Off on Agreeing With Noam Chomsky?
“Mass public education was introduced in the United States in the nineteenth century as a way of training the largely rural workforce here for industry — in fact, the general population in the United States largely was opposed to public education, because it meant taking kids off the farms where they belonged and where they worked with their families, and forcing them into this setting in which they were basically trained to become industrial workers.”
That’s from an interview with radical leftist ideologue Noam Chomsky. As an advocate of Christian homeschooling, and a libertarian enemy of the government educational bureaucracy, this is a quote that makes me nod in agreement, even while hastening to say, “But wait — there’s more!”
If you have actually studied the history of American education, you know that Horace Mann was the first secretary of the Massachusetts state board of education and, arguably, the father of the public school system. A critical study of Mann’s career, and of the development of public education in New England, will reveal that a major goal of Mann’s “reforms” was the consolidation of cultural authority by the 19th-century Whig elite. Whereas previously, American education had been an enterprise of families, churches, and local communities, Mann and his allies sought to create a taxpayer-supported, government-regulated one-size-fits-all system. This system was under the authority of a political establishment which in Massachusetts was (not coincidentally) a Protestant Whig elite concerned about challenges from Catholic immigrants, and from Jacksonian populists. As his model for “reform,” Mann chose the state school system of imperial Prussia, and the consequences of this importation of a foreign idea are the root cause of what’s wrong with American schools today, which is everything.
Advocates of Christian homeschooling can recite the Bible verses to show that parents are responsible for the education of their children, and efforts to evade this responsibility — to “outsource” education to government — are therefore an act of sinful disobedience to God.
In the 1960s, after the Supreme Court banned prayer and Bible reading in public schools, many Christian leaders began clamoring about the need to “take back our schools.” O, ye of little understanding! They’re not your schools, they are the government’s schools and, having abdicated your parental responsibility to government, you thereby also surrendered your own authority over your children. It was predictable from the beginning of modern public education that those who craved political power would seek control of the educational bureaucracy as a mechanism to propagate beliefs favorable to their own goals and purposes.
Because the Bible represented an obstacle to the agenda of this political/educational elite, they declared war on the Word of God. Yet they would never have had this kind of power, had it not been for parents eager to have government take over the job of educating children and — to make this a bit more specific — had it not been for Christians who were employed as teachers within the government education system. This has been the great hindrance to churches seeking to make Christian schools a viable alternative. The lucrative salaries provided by the taxpayer-funded public school system lead many Christians to take jobs teaching in those schools and, once on the payroll of these atheist government institutions, they become enemies of Christian education. Pastors who wish to start a church school, or who encourage parents to homeschool their children, can expect to face vehement opposition from any member of their congregation who works for the government schools.
What is now greatly to be feared is that, as the government education system’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy becomes more apparent, Christian schools eager to be perceived as inclusive (in order to attract more tuition-paying students) will gradually abandon their religious purpose, so that they will become “Christian” in name only.
Beyond my own Christian perspective on this, however, there is a basic principle of liberty involved. My children are my children. When parents bring children into this world, their offspring do not become government property. Citizens have a duty to uphold the law, but the government of a free state belongs to the citizens, and not the other way around. Any government which does not recognize the legitimacy of parental authority is an enemy of liberty. A free society cannot force Jewish parents to teach Christianity (or Islam or Hinduism) to their children, nor can a free society force the children of Catholics to attend “comprehensive” sex-education classes that promote contraception and abortion.
If you pay attention to what’s going on in public schools nowadays, however, you know that the government now claims a right to impose any number of controversial beliefs on your children in the guise of “education.” The government schools are controlled by the teachers unions, so that the system is staffed with Democrat Party loyalists, and faculty are prohibited from expressing support for Republicans. Under these conditions, what goes on in public school classrooms is a program of political indoctrination that teaches children to vote Democrat.
This is why university students now erupt in riotous protests whenever any identifiably conservative speaker appears on campus. These young people have been indoctrinated in Democrat-controlled schools where they were taught to consider “Republican” a synonym for evil.
Well, that’s nearly 900 words so far, and I could go on for hours about what’s wrong with public education, but there are other things going on in the world, so I’ll end it here. I’ve hated public school system ever since I was forced to attend public school as a child. Having studied the system so long, I can declare what’s wrong with it, and that’s everything.