There is no question that public education fails to impart knowledge and the ability to think critically to students. Private schools spending far less per student do a far better job. Homeschools spending thousands less than both public and private schools do far better. Research shows that homeschooled students are as much as a decade ahead of public school students in the ability to think.
Does this mean that public schools are a failure? That depends on what you believe is the goal of compulsory public education. Since the 1800’s when state-funded education was introduced, schools have mass-produced what society needs: relatively docile, compliant young citizens ready to slot straight into tedious jobs. In his 1990 New York City Teacher of the Year acceptance speech, John Taylor Gatto, clearly described the purpose of compulsory public education; "Schools were designed by Horace Mann and Barnas Sears and W.R. Harper of the University of Chicago and Edward Thorndike of Columbia Teachers College and other to be instruments for the scientific management of a mass population. Schools are intended to produce, through the application of formulas, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled."
If that is the purpose and basis of compulsory public education, it is a success. In the US, as automation and other advances in technology allows us to manufacture far more with far fewer people, the need for more educated workers has decreased, and the need for more lower paid service people has increased. The type of worker we need, as seen by the massive amounts of illegal immigrants, are to do relatively low skilled low pay jobs. These are the jobs that some say Americans won’t do. A literate, well educated person is not going to settle for supporting themselves with a physically demanding, un-rewarding, labor intensive job like cleaning toilets, digging ditches, or picking food. A literate, well educated person is not going to accept the unreasoned excuses, and demonstrably false reasons the government uses to further reduce individual liberty.
Thus the government’s goal is not a critically thinking, self-reliant individual. Most European countries have outlawed home schooling and control what private schools can teach. Home schooling and self-education do not teach individuals to be compliant. In fact a school-free education gives children a taste of freedom and self-reliance, remote from performance-obsessed authorities. No need to ask permission for the toilet, no pressure to conform. If it catches on, it might result in fewer young people accepting the role of wage slave. It must seem like a dangerous trend to those responsible for running the national economy. Despite the clearly better performance and better proven education of home schooled children, the powers that be do not want you home schooling your child, or to even choose for your child to receive a private education outside of government controls.
"'Parent choice' proceeds from the belief that the purpose of education is to provide individual students with an education. In fact, educating the individual is but a means to the true end of education, which is to create a viable social order to which individuals contribute and by which they are sustained. "Family choice' is, therefore, basically selfish and anti-social in that it focuses on the "wants' of a single family rather than the "needs' of society." ~ Association of California School Administrators
Maybe a better question is; "How Did We Ever Come to Believe that the State Should Tell Our Children What to Think?" If the goal of education is to transfer knowledge and exercise young minds to be able to think clearly and logically, not to create compliant, obedient, masses the government can control, then we must change what we are doing. The foundation of the USA, was based on radical ideas and clarity of observation and thought by men with little or no formal education. It was after the age of enlightenment which created the Declaration of Indpendence, and US Constitution, and Bill of Rights, that compulsory schooling was instituted. Free thinking people are not conducive to government control.
The idea that compulsory schools are not an effective way to educate individuals is not new or radical.
“Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.” ~ Plato
“Just as eating against one’s will is injurious to health, so studying without a liking for it spoils the memory, and it retains nothing it takes in.” ~ Leonardo Da Vinci
"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” ~ Albert Einstein
"Schools have not necessarily much to do with education... they are mainly institutions of control, where basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school." ~ Winston Churchill
“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” ~ Isaac Asimov
To escape the trap we are now caught will require acts of courage and imagination: first – question the legitimacy of the school monopoly; Second – garner political resolve to deconstruct current model of schooling; Third – return education and schooling to real people and real communities taking it away from the abstract hands of the federal government.
Let’s start with the biggest lie, you need a formal education to be successful, and that because all parents won’t educate their children the state must do so. That we have a “collective responsibility” to fund and supply other peoples kids with an education because “they are our future”. This is collectivist thinking that has proven to fail throughout history. The "collective obligation" paradigm has failed so utterly in modern American schooling. We should shift our paradigm back to the paradigm that built this country and ushered in the industrial age; You have no obligation to educate anyone's offspring but your own.
This does not mean that you are not free to accept our natural feeling of charity by offering to voluntarily help fund the schooling of orphans and such. Unless we go back to the idea that as a nation we will only thrive again when we recognize, as our Chinese competitors realize, that this is a competition. You and I have a vested interest in seeing our children get the best education we can offer them, the better we educate them the more competitive they will be, and better prepared to provide for themselves and us in our old age.
In Massachusetts, prior to compulsory public education literacy was at 98%, it has never again reached greater than 91%. Obviously compulsory public education’s goal is not a literate thinking population, and has failed to produce such.
Proof that formal education is not necessary or in most cases desirable for success abound all around us. Bill Gates, arguably the most successful person of modern times is a college dropout. Don’t buy into the lie that he is an exception, when it comes to success Gates is not an anomaly of success but more the rule.
Here are a few famous dropouts:
• Thomas Sowell - Economist, author and political commentator. One of my favorite writers on political and economic philosophy.
• George Carlin - Comedian. One of my favorite comedians, especially because of his word play.
• Albert Einstein: Nobel Prize-winning physicist; "Time" magazine's "Man of the Century" (20th century) (after dropping out of high school, he studied on his own and passed the entrance exam on his second try to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)
• John D. Rockefeller Sr.- Self-made billionaire American businessman-philanthropist; co-founder of "The Standard Oil Company;" history's first recorded billionaire (dropped out of high school two months before graduation; took business courses for ten weeks at Folsom Mercantile College [a chain business school])
• Henry Ford: Self-made multimillionaire American businessman; assembly-line auto manufacturing pioneer; founder of the "Ford Motor Company"
• Walt Disney: Oscar-winning American film/TV producer; animation and theme park pioneer; self-made multimillionaire founder and spokesperson of "The Walt Disney Studios/Company; "Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient; Congressional Gold Medal recipient; French Legion of Honor admittee/Medal recipient (received honorary high-school diploma from hometown high school at age 58)
• Abraham Lincoln: 16th President of the United States; (little formal education - Lincoln himself estimated approximately one year; home schooling/life experience; later earned a law degree through self study of books that he borrowed from friends)
• Carl Sandburg: Pulitzer Prize-winning American author (little formal education; later passed entrance exam to Lombard College and graduated)
• Diana, Princess of Wales
• George Burns: Oscar-winning actor/comedian (elementary school dropout)
• Dave Thomas: Self-made multimillionaire American businessman; founder-spokesperson of the "Wendy's" fast-food restaurant chain (equivalency diploma)
• Martin Van Buren: 8th President of the United States (little formal education; began studying law at age 14 while an apprentice at a law firm, later became a lawyer)
• Andrew Carnegie: Self-made multimillionaire American businessman and philanthropist (elementary school dropout)
• John Chancellor: American television journalist; evening news anchorman
• "Colonel" Harlan Sanders: Self-made multimillionaire American businessman; founder-spokesperson of the "Kentucky Fried Chicken/KFC" fast-food restaurant chain (elementary school dropout; later earned a correspondence course law degree)
• Samuel L. Clemens ("Mark Twain"): Best-selling American author and humorist (elementary school dropout)
• Christopher Columbus: Italian explorer (little formal education; home schooling/life experience; went to sea in his youth)
• Davy Crockett: Early American frontiersman; U.S. Congressman (Tennessee Representative); died at the battle of the Alamo (little formal education - less than six months; home schooling/life experience)
• Charles Dickens: Best-selling British author (elementary school dropout)
• Joe DiMaggio: National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
• Sir Francis Drake: British explorer; knighted in the United Kingdom (little formal education; home schooling/life experience; went to sea in his youth)
• George Eastman: Self-made multimillionaire American inventor; founder of the "Kodak" roll film camera, corporation, and chemical company
• Thomas Edison: Self-made multimillionaire, most famous and productive inventor of all time; invented the filament electric light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera; electrical power usage pioneer; Congressional Gold Medal recipient; knighted (France: bestowed the rank of Chevalier, (had no formal education - home schooled)
• Benjamin Franklin: American politician - diplomat - author - printer - publisher-scientist - inventor; co-author and co-signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence; one of the founders of The United States of America; face is pictured on the U.S. one-hundred dollar bill (little formal education [less than two years]; home schooling/life experience)
• Clark Gable: Oscar-winning actor
• George Gershwin: Oscar-nominated and most celebrated American songwriter-and classical composer; Congressional Gold Medal recipient
• Amadeo Peter Giannini: American-born founder of "Bank of America"
• Cary Grant: Oscar-winning actor
• W.T.Grant: Self-made multimillionaire American businessman; founder of the "W.T. Grant Company" department store chain
• H.L. Hunt: Self-made billionaire American oil industrialist (elementary school dropout)
• John Huston: Oscar-winning American film director-actor (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, etc.)
• Elton John: Oscar-winning songwriter-singer; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee; knighted by the United Kingdom
• Andrew Jackson: 7th President of the United States (no formal education; home schooling/life experience)
• John Paul Jones: Scottish-born American Revolutionary War U.S. navy commander; famous quote: "I have not yet begun to fight." (little formal education; home schooling/life experience; went to sea in his youth)
• Henry J. Kaiser: Self-made multimillionaire American businessman; founder of "Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation," "Kaiser Steel," etc.
• Kirk Kerkorian: Self-made billionaire American businessman
• Ray Kroc: Self-made billionaire American businessman; founder of the "McDonald's" fast-food restaurant chain
• Jerry Lewis: Actor-comedian-singer-entertainer-humanitarian; knighted (France: Chevalier [or Chev.] Jerry Lewis)
• John Major: British Prime Minister 1990-1997
• William Shakespeare: British playwright; best-selling British author
• George Bernard Shaw: Nobel Prize-winning Irish-born British playwright; best-selling author
• Frank Sinatra: Oscar-winning actor-singer; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient; Congressional Gold Medal recipient
• John Philip Sousa: American composer-conductor (elementary school dropout)
• Zachary Taylor: 12th President of the United States (little formal education; home schooling/life experience)
• George Washington: 1st President of the United States; former general; Chairman of the Constitutional Convention; U.S. nickname: "The Father of Our Country"; face is pictured on the U.S. one dollar bill and twenty-five cent coin (quarter) (no formal education; home schooling/life experience; went to sea in his youth)
• William Faulkner: Nobel Prize-winning and Pulitzer Prize-winning American author; screenwriter (dropped out of high school in second year; later attended University of Mississippi but did not graduate)
• Herman Melville: Best-selling American author and writer of Moby Dick, arguably the greatest novel of all time.
• Liza Minnelli: Oscar-winning actress-singer
• Robert Mitchum: Oscar-nominated actor
• Claude Monet: French painter (elementary school dropout)
• David H. Murdock: Self-made billionaire American businessman
• Florence Nightingale: History's most notable nurse; best-selling Italian-born British nursing book author (no formal education; home schooling/life experience)
• Thomas Paine: American Revolutionary War era political theorist; best-selling British-born American author; famous quote: "These are the times that try men's souls." (little formal education; home schooling/life experience)
• Millard Fillmore: 13th President of the United States (little formal education - six months; home schooling/life experience; studied law while serving as a legal clerk with a judge and law firm; later became a lawyer)
• Will Rogers: American author-humorist-lecturer-actor-entertainer; famous quote: "I never met a man I didn't like."
• Frederick Henry Royce: Self-made multimillionaire British businessman; co-founder-designer of the "Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Company"; knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Frederick Henry Royce) (elementary school dropout)
• Edmond Safra: Lebanese-born billionaire banker-philanthropist
• David Sarnoff: Russian-born American radio and television pioneer; given the title "Father of American Television" by the Television Broadcasters Association
• William Saroyan: Oscar-winning screenwriter; Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright
• Vidal Sassoon: Self-made multimillionaire British businessman; founder of "Vidal Sassoon" hairstyling salons, academies, and hair-care products
• Walt Whitman: Best-selling American poet (elementary school dropout)
• Orville & Wilbur Wright: Aviation pioneers; Congressional Gold Medal recipients
• Grover Cleveland: 22nd and 24th President of the United States; face is pictured on the one-thousand dollar bill, which is no longer printed; (dropped out of school to help family earn income; studied law while serving as a clerk at a law firm, later became a lawyer)
• Irving Berlin: Oscar-winning American songwriter-composer; film story writer; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient; Congressional Gold Medal recipient
• Paul Allen, billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, founder of Xiant software, owner of Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers. Dropped out of Washington State to start up Microsoft with Bill Gates.
• H.G. Wells - best-selling British author (dropped out to help family earn income; later returned and went on to college)
• Jim Clark -self-made billionaire American businessman; founder of "Netscape"; first Internet billionaire (17, U.S. Navy)
• Jimmy Dean -..singer-songwriter-actor; self-made multimillionaire American businessman; founder of the "Jimmy Dean Foods" brand sausage business (16, U.S. Merchant Marines; 18, U.S. Air Force)
• Andrew Jackson......7th U.S. President; face is pictured on the U.S. twenty dollar bill (13, U.S. Continental Army; orphaned at 14; little formal education; home schooling/life experience; studied law in his late teens and became a lawyer)
• Leon Uris -..best-selling American author (Exodus, etc.) (17, U.S. Marines)
• Walter L. Smith.....former president of Florida A&M University (equivalency diploma, at age 23)
• W. Clement Stone....self-made multimillionaire (some sources indicate billionaire) American businessman-author; founder of "Success" magazine (elementary school dropout; later attended high-school night courses and then some college)
• Jack London - best-selling American author (dropped out at 14 to work; later gained admission to the University of California; left after one semester)
• Arthur Ernest Morgan....American flood-control engineer; college president-author; appointed by President Roosevelt to be director of the Tennessee Valley Authority public works project (left high school after three years; later attended the University of Colorado for six weeks)
• Ray Charles -.singer-pianist; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee
• Cher......Oscar-winning actress-singer
• Maurice Chevalier.... Oscar-winning actor-singer; French Legion of Honor inductee/Medal recipient (note: rank bestowed in 1938
• Pierce Brosnan - actor
• Ellen Burnstyn - Oscar-winning actress
• Raymond Burr - actor
• Sammy Cahn - Oscar-winning American songwriter-composer
• Michael Caine - Oscar-winning actor; knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Michael Caine)
• Glen Campbell - country music star
• Daniel Gilbert - Harvard University psychology professor (equivalency diploma)
• Dizzy Gillespie - musician-composer (received honorary diploma from high school he attended)
• Patrick Henry - American Revolutionary War era politician; Virginia's first governor; famous quote: "Give me liberty, or give me death!" (little formal education; home schooling/life experience; later studied on his own and earned a law degree)
• Peter Jennings - Canadian-born American television journalist; evening news anchorman
• Ansel Adams - American wilderness photographer; photography book author; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
• Julie Andrews - Oscar-winning actress-singer
• Louis Armstrong - singer-musician
• Brooke Astor -wealthy American socialite-philanthropist-author; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
• Pearl Bailey - singer-actress; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
• Lucille Ball -actress-comedienne-producer; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
• Bill Bartman -self-made billionaire American businessman
• Count Basie -.bandleader-pianist
• Jack Benny - comedian-actor-violinist
• Humphrey Bogart - Oscar-winning actor
• Peter Bogdanovich - Oscar-nominated American film director-screenwriter (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, Mask, etc.)
• Whoopie Goldberg - Oscar-winning actress-comedienne
• Benny Goodman - bandleader-clarinetist
• Lew Grade -British film/TV producer (TV: The Avengers, The Saint, Secret Agent, The Prisoner, The Muppet Show, etc.); knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Lew Grade)
• Philip Emeagwali - supercomputer scientist; one of the pioneers of the Internet (high-IQ high-school dropout; left school in native Nigeria due to war conditions and lack of tuition money; continued to study on his own and earned an equivalency diploma; later won a scholarship to Oregon College of Education in the United States; transferred after one year to Oregon State University)
• Danny Thomas -actor-producer-humanitarian (actor: Make Room for Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show; co-producer: The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, etc.); Congressional Gold Medal recipient
• Peter Ustinov - Oscar-winning actor
• Hiram Stevens - American-born engineering inventor; knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Hiram Stevens)
• Patrick Stewart - actor-writer-producer-director; former captain of the Enterprise on TV's Star Trek: The Next Generation and in films.
• Kemmons Wilson - self-made multimillionaire American businessman; founder of the "Holiday Inn" hotel chain
• Kjell Inge Rokke.....self-made billionaire Norwegian businessman
• David Puttnam - Oscar-winning British film producer (Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, etc.); knighted (United Kingdom: Sir David Puttnam)
• Anthony Quinn - Oscar-winning actor
• Julie London - singer-actress
• Sophia Loren - Oscar-winning actress; best-selling Italian-born author; former model (elementary school dropout)
• Joe Louis -..boxer; Congressional Gold Medal recipient
• Roy Rogers - actor-singer-guitarist
• Walter Nash - New Zealand Prime Minister 1957-1960; knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Walter Nash)
• Olivia Newton-John - singer-actress; British-born Australian author
• Rosa Parks - U.S. civil rights activist-pioneer; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient; Congressional Gold Medal recipient
• Mary Pickford - Oscar-winning actress; early Hollywood pioneer; co-founder of "United Artists Corporation" (little formal education [six months]; home schooling/life experience)
• Sydney Poitier - Oscar-winning actor (elementary school dropout)
• Frederick "Freddy" Laker - self-made multimillionaire British businessman; airline entrepreneur; knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Frederick [or Freddy] Laker)
• Tommy Lasorda - baseball team manager; National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
• David Lean - Oscar-winning British film director (Lawrence of Arabia, DrZhivago, etc.); knighted (United Kingdom: Sir David Lean)
• Anton van Leeuwenhoek - Dutch microscope maker; world's first microbiologist; discoverer of bacteria, blood cells, and sperm cells)
• Richard Branson - self-made billionaire British businessman; founder of "Virgin Atlantic Airways," "Virgin Records," etc.; knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Richard Branson)
• Isaac Merrit Singer - American sewing machine inventor; self-made multimillionaire founder of "Singer Industries," "I.M. Singer and Company," etc. (elementary school dropout)
• Alfred E. Smith - New York Governor; 1928 Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate (elementary school dropout)
• Charles Chaplin - Oscar-winning actor-writer-director-producer; knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Charles [or Charlie] Chaplin) (elementary school dropout)
• Sean Connery -Oscar-winning actor; knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Sean Connery)
• Jack Kent Cooke - self-made billionaire Canadian-born American media businessman
• Noel Coward - Oscar-winning actor-director-producer-playwright-composer; knighted (United Kingdom: Sir Noel Coward) (elementary school dropout)
• Joan Crawford - Oscar-winning actress; former dancer
• Charles E. Culpeper - self-made multimillionaire American businessman; early 1900s' owner and head of "The Coca Cola Bottling Company"
• Robert De Niro - Oscar-winning actor-producer; knighted (France: Chevalier [Knight] of the Legion of Honor; Chevalier [or Chev.] Robert De Niro)
• Gerard Depardieu - Oscar-nominated actor; knighted (France: Chevalier [or Chev.] Gerard Depardieu) (elementary school dropout)
• Richard Desmond - self-made billionaire British publisher
• Thomas Dolby - musician-composer; music producer
• Joe Lewis - self-made billionaire British businessman
• Carl Lindner - self-made billionaire American businessman
• John Llewellyn - U.S. Labor leader pioneer; for 40 years until his retirement, president of the United Mine Workers' Union
• Marcus Loew -self-made multimillionaire American businessman; early Hollywood pioneer; founder of the "Loews" movie-theater chain; co-founder of "MGM" studios (elementary school dropout)
• Mary Lyon -.American women's education pioneer; early American teacher; founder of Mount Holyoke College (America's first women's college)
• Sonny Bono - - singer-songwriter-actor; U.S. Congressman (California U.S. Representative)
• Duke Ellington - Oscar-nominated American composer-bandleader; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
• Ella Fitzgerald - singer; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
• Aretha Franklin - singer; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee
• Horace Greeley - American newspaper publisher-editor; U.S. Congressman; 1872 U.S. Presidential candidate; co-founder of the Republican party in the United States
• Thomas Haffa - self-made double-digit billionaire German media businessman
• J.R. Simplot - self-made billionaire American agricultural businessman
• Robert Maxwell - self-made billionaire British publisher
• Rod McKuen - best-selling American poet (elementary school dropout)