One Reason I Don’t Like the Public Schools

I’ve stated, here and there on this blog, why I am not a fan of the state schools (otherwise known as “public education”). The reason is primarily personal — I had several awful primary school teachers in California who were sadists, sadists who did not like children. I was surrounded by ruffians and bullies who thought nothing of terrorizing me and were allowed to by school officials. By the time all this stopped, I was mostly bored with what California government schools taught. I should have dropped out, and found my own way in life, but I had few social or job skills and I knew little of the world. In 1985, when I graduated high school, the U.S. Army would not take GEDs or drop outs (unlike today, but then the Army didn’t need IED fodder in 1985). Given my experience and upbringing, I made the best decisions I could make.

At least no one was jailed, permanently injured, made pregnant or otherwise damaged by anything I did. So, despite whatever cruel and stupid things I have done (see posting for Melissa somewhere below), I call my life a success.

Back to the schools. Citing California (where else?) law, a California appeals court is considering dragging some children into the state schools from their “school” at home (and there have been allegations of abuse, whatever that might mean) because:

A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare.

Loyalty to the state. We can never have children growing up and questioning the “right” of the state to take life, either their own or someone else. To conscript labor, either their own (through taxes) or that of others (by taxing or jailing them). No, no. We must never allow anyone to be disloyal to the state. Ever.

The ruling examines California state law which requires children to be in school full time, either a private or public school, or to be taught by a certified tutor. Apparently, homeschooling parents in California can be asked to prove they have “proper” credentials and can be fined for failing to produce (despite there being a “constitutional right” to homeschool).

Citing a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision, Wisconsin v. Yoder (regarding the rights of Amish parents to keep their children out of school past grade eight), the California appeals court also said:

The Yoder court rejected the notion that parents have a universal right to refuse to obey a state’s compulsory education law. The court recognized that “allowing every person to make his own standards on matters of conduct in which society as a whole has important interests” is precluded by “the very concept of ordered liberty,” and thus, “if the Amish asserted their claims because of their subjective evaluation and rejection of the contemporary secular values accepted by the majority, . . . their claims would not rest on a religious basis” but rather would be philosophical and personal.

What’s important here is the collectivist idea that society — the “community” bounded by the nation-state, that is, the community held together by coercion and violence — comes first and that the individual comes second. The idea that “society as a whole” has an interest in education is utter nonsense. This is individual human beings as resources, to be guided and managed and molded, to be formed to fit. To be bent and broken. Or thrown away if they become inconvenient. This kind of thing puts the need of an abstraction, “society,” first, and the needs of flesh and blood human beings — human beings made to stand powerless before the state — a very, very distant last.

(Thanks to Christopher Manion at for the link.)