A Revelation on Rights and Compulsory Schooling

The Nature of Rights

For many of you this may not be a revelation as it was to me today, but I would appreciate your feedback and any extra insight you may have into this topic.

“We the people.” The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States starts with these 3 words. We sometimes hear the phrase “by the people, of the people, for the people” tossed around but what does it really mean? OK, the people are supreme. That almost sounds like a democracy, doesn’t it? So what does it mean and how does it apply in a republic?

We know that rights come from God. God gave us unalienable rights which cannot be transferred by anyone or to anyone. We have core rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This means we also have a right to self-governance.

For example, if you were in a plane that crash landed on a tropical island and there was a tribe of natives on the island, you would have a God-given right to defend yourself and your property and to pursue a path of happiness (which is probably to make peace with the natives :)), but you would not have a right to demand the natives educate your children or provide you with medical service or build you a house for shelter. That would be charity on their part, but you have no right to force them to do it.

Many of you have probably read Ezra Taft Benson’s excellent treatise “The Proper Role of Government.” In it he describes how government only wields powers we delegate to them. In other words, if I don’t have a right, I cannot endow government with the ability to enforce it for me. Since I have a right to life and property, I can transfer powers to the sheriff to protect my life and property without precluding me from doing what I need to in order to protect my life and property. Likewise, government cannot assume any rights and powers that I don’t possess individually.

Since we as individuals have the rights, we then form government to protect our rights. We can delegate some of those rights to the sovereign state, which then delegates some of them to the federal government. They are OUR RIGHTS which WE THE PEOPLE inherently possess from God. We have chosen to DELEGATE SOME OF THEM to government in a WRITTEN CONSTITUTION because it’s more efficient to have a representative in a constitutional republic handle those things, otherwise we would have a democracy if we had to take care of every issue.

The U.S. Constitution as written by the people and then ratified by the states (it used to be the united states of America, not the United States of America) has specific powers delegated to the federal government from the states which the feds can handle better than the states such as national defense, coinage, treaties, etc… The powers not delegated were reserved to the states (10th Amendment). The states have powers delegated to it in their written constitution by the people of their state. What isn’t delegated to the state is retained by the people individually. The states in turn delegate to local government the things best handled at that level.

The Education Question

With this understanding in place, by what right is compulsory schooling allowed to exist in our country?

I do not possess a right to force my neighbor to pay my taxes, to mow my lawn, to educate my children, so how is it that the government has taken a right to itself which the people themselves do not possess. Simply put, it is unconstitutional as well as immoral.

A few months back we discovered Alpine School District had a web page with several offensive quotes including this one:

Arguments for compulsory education have been based on the idea that the school is the only institution that can counter the accident of birth, guarantee quality of opportunity, and provide objective and fair ways to select and train talented individuals.” (https://www.alpine.k12.ut.us/phpApps/genericPage.php?pdid=777)

Right off the bat you get a sense that something is wrong. The blatant statement of compulsion immediately strikes out at you if you know that to force someone against their will is at best, misguided, and at worst, satanic. It is a violation of moral agency which God gave each of us. Coupled with the phrase “accident of birth” and you start to wonder what type of individual would dream up such a phrase, and then wonder what kind of person would post it on a school district website. (Hint: a follower of John Dewey and a John Goodlad AED Scholar)

If I have no right to walk over to my neighbor’s home and force him/her to educate his/her child, then I clearly do not have the ability to delegate to government a right to enforce compulsory education on my neighbors’ child either. At its core, education by force is a socialistic concept where the elites believe they know what is best for parents and they seek to enact it by force in complete violation of individual’s moral agency.

In Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address in 1981, he said:

“From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”

So I ask the question, what does constitutional, non-compulsory schooling look like? Please leave your thoughts below.

29 Responses to “A Revelation on Rights and Compulsory Schooling”

  • Melissa:

    I feel non-compulsory school looks like the Thomas Jefferson Leadership model of education formed by Oliver DeMille. There would not be same aged groups of children in classrooms all being herded into the same “conveyor belt” style curriculum. Children would be guided in learning–not demanded or commanded. Mentors would inspire rather than require (DeMille’s words). Children would be allowed to follow their interests while being introduced to new concepts, materials, etc. There would be less training for a job and more training to think on their own. There would be more discussion and less worksheets. There would never be national blanket assessments–different areas of the nation possess different values, histories, and resources. Non-compulsory education is localized. Non-compulsory education busies itself with improving each child not comparing children to each other in a “get ahead” fashion.
    This is a good start I feel.

  • Chuck:

    I believe the 1,200 pound gorilla in the room has no resemblance to a constitutional non-compulsory education.

    Personal responsibility and accountability.
    I need to be responsible for by acts and choices. I also MUST suffer the consequences of those choices and actions.

    Who gets to decide what “schooling” is?
    Do we say it is 12 years of instruction?
    Or can it be an apprentice program?

  • Glen Haner:

    The “accident of Birth” must mean the unfortunate situation of sometimes heartbreaking inequality into which we are born. Every heart that beats resents the unfairness of that. Decent charitable souls have always been a neutralizing force, countering the inequality. No environment is more cruel and brutal to the less advantaged than that of public school.

    The road to Hell is paved with villainy posing as good intentions. You know, the road America is on.

  • Joey:

    Just a start… schooling would be based in free-will associations of people pooling their resources and agreeing upon a philosophy and ethic of education. The source of facilities, equipment, and materials would be personal, respected and appreciated as derived from the labor and sacrifice and free-will dedication of families, neighbors and allies in purpose. There would be thousands of institutions independently administered and therefore immune to large scale initiatives by fringe special interests trying to indoctrinate the rising generation to their political and social and perverted agendas. Size, curriculum, method of instruction, structure, etc., would all be variable according to individual preferences. Most churches would be highly involved, especially in providing to those who lacked financial resources (please note the foundation of most all major educational institutions in a church – I recently discovered and appreciated the founder of Howard Universtiy. Please also read Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington on how to create a school to truly educate young people to be free) Market forces would drive viability when no one had to pay for or attend rotten schools or sit still for idiot, unworkable curriculum. Individual moral imperatives would guide teachers (I have also discovered the fact that up to 10,000 teachers of their own volition and in various private societies and associations from the North poured into the South to offer education to freed slaves after the Civil War and mostly taught them to read using the Bible)… I could go on.
    The present Government monstrosity that is not really about being a school, functions the same way as the old state “church” which was not really about being a church, and uses the same kind of rhetoric and perversion of good motives and human nature to ensnare everyone into complicity in compulsion against their neighbors, and against themselves.

  • Brain J. Holman:

    Great topic! I think we miss the mark if we try to describe what a non-compulsory educational system looks like. That’s diagnosing the symptom and not the disease. We need to take it one step further and look at the factors that determine if an educational system is compulsory or not… how the money is obtained and who decides how it’s spent. Money is not just a medium of exchange. It’s also a direct measure of our personal freedoms. How much of our money (or other resources) do we spend as we see fit, and how much is confiscated and spent by others?

    Since our money is confiscated through taxes and spent by “the government”, our educational system is compulsory. For example, whether you own or rent, at least a portion of the cost of our compulsory educational system is built into your housing payment (property taxes).

    The only way to change our educational system to a non-compulsory one, is to stop “the government” from taking our money; to put the choice and responsibility back into parents’ hands. Only then, can a non-compulsory educational system become a reality. I don’t know what it will look like, but I know it will be better.

  • Anonymous:

    Non-compulsory education is, of course, a higher law ordained of God through the natural law of Free Agency. EVERYTIME I encounter a COMPULSORY anything, I ask myself, ” How does this conform to the law of Free Agency?”. I rarely encounter much of anything in my life today that is not compulsory. I am required to provide my social security number to open a checking account, I am required to follow the esthetic standards of my neighborhood right down to the number of bikes I can park on my lawn, of the color of the exterior paint that I choose for the exterior of my home. Compulsory taxes, compulsory confiscation of my wages for Workman’s comp, social security, Federal taxes, etc.
    What we tend to forget, however, is that with any right or freedom comes the increased price of
    personal responsibility. The majority of parents I encounter in the public school system of today are far from willing to assume MORE responsibility for their children. I realize that THIS particular forum is blessed to have a following of HIGHLY responsible parents but I hate to shake the illusion—that is only about 2% of the parent population being served by public education today.
    What accounts for my dim view of parents today? RATIONAL observation of REALITY!!! I challenge you to park outside an elementary school’s boundaries one day and watch the driving and parking behavior of parents bringing their children to school or picking them up from school. How many parents do you you see who willingly comply to the NATURAL laws of driving safety. I had my own glimpse of reality this week.
    I work in a public school and part of my assignment the first two weeks of school has been to help educate parents who drive their children to school in the new loading and unloading procedures. I have personally witnessed how fine the line of civility is even in my very small rural town. I have witnessed large numbers of parents verbally abuse and use obscene hand gestures on teachers who are at the curb assisting them in safely unloading their children at curbside. Oh no, we don’t want to inconvenience ourselves by refraining from unsafe practices like unloading children in the middle of the street, or by modeling safety procedures for our children by teaching them NOT to jay walk but

  • Anonymous:

    Instead to use a crosswalk. Although it takes us a mere 12 minutes flat to empty our campus of 531 children by bus, walking, or parent pick up, that mere 12 minutes of wait time is enough inconvenience for a large number of people to be tested and stressed beyond their limits. I have been SHOCKED at the demeanor of these spoiled, self-indulged, intolerant young parents. They drive to our doorway rip their hearts from their chest (their very most precious and innocent child) hand them over to people the entrust with the very lives and minds of that precious child and while doing so, proceed to abuse the very person they are entrusting their beating heat to until 3:00 PM
    How many parents do you know who voluntarily take it upon themselves to actively participate in the art of good parenting. Those of you who do it know what handwork it is. It requires very deep core values that are hard won through life’s adventures. it requires the patience of Job. it requires the stubborn perseverance of the pioneers—which means saying NO to your child THEN STICKING TO THE DECISION not to waiver in the face of torrential, gale force
    winds and howls of protest that emanate from the undisciplined throats of your screaming child.
    It sounds like I have a pretty low opinion of parents, doesn’t it? Today I do. This has been the most demoralizing start to a school year that I have experienced in 32 years.
    I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret, folks….there is NO SUCH THING as compulsory education in the State of Utah. Our State and local communities are choosing NOT to enforce those compulsory education laws that are on the boo is. There is absolutely NOTHING stopping parents from enjoying the freedoms of the type of schools they describe as wanting for their children EXCEPT maybe the excuse that confiscation of their tax dollars precludes them from having the resources they need to school their children properly. Hogwash! Education has never been more free or more readily available to the masses than it is right now. Ever heard of th Khan Academy on Yu Tube? Go learn Physics for free from an MIT engineering graduate with a Masters Degree in education from Harvard.
    Ever since the John Singer debacle, Utah’s government has lost the fire in the belly for enforcing compulsory education laws. No Superintendent will force you to comply with ANY of the home schooling regulations on the books. There are not enough resources to micromanage the details of compliance listed in the Utah State Code. DCFS will NEVER take your child from your home today. Their stated mission is to preserve the family structure at all costs. The juvenile court system is so weak and overloaded that EDCUCATION compliance is the LEADT of their concerns. It is a rare district attorney that wastes his time on truancy or attendance enforcement. The adult courts laugh school officials out of their chambers if they dare to enter a petition against a parent for educational neglect.
    I say a truly free and compulsory education for the masses would probably be the tipping point into anarchy for this country. It would be FAR too much strain and effort for the majority of parents today.
    You don’t believe half of what I’ve said about compulsory Ed, do yu? Try me out. test it. Go talk to your local principal and ask him/her how many children he/she thinks have parents with the character and fortitude to homeschool their children properly. Believe me, I’ve known some who do it magnificently but they are about 1/2 of 1% of our population.
    I too wish that education were not compulsory. I dream of the day when the parents would be beating down the doors of my school simply because they believed in the value of what I had to offer them. Unfortunately, the public schools of today are the result of exactly what most parents want….a free babysitting service, with no phone calls home with bad news about anything that needs a parent’s loving, caring heart to handle. Oh, and while you’re at it teachers, why don’t you make sure my kid is fed for free, transported for free, and I’d you can manage it, get him into a good college for free.
    Quit yer bellyaching. Get out there and create the reality of the schools you dream. They can have the attributes you list right now. You don’t need to change any stupid compulsory education law to get it done. No one is stopping you.

  • Blackjack, casting aside the irresponsibility of parents, what does a system look like where your statement “I dream of the day when the parents would be beating down the doors of my school simply because they believed in the value of what I had to offer them,” is a reality?

    I got an email the other day from a parent whose children have to get on the bus an extra 15 minutes early for the free breakfast crowd to get to school on time. These kids that ate breakfast at home arrive early and just sit.

    I am frustrated by parents who rag on teachers and tell them to give their child an A. This has to stop. We are going to engage in an exercise in the next couple days to brainstorm ideas and I really want everyone to think about this. Maybe a parent’s responsibility manifesto should be signed by parents at the beginning of the year that includes, “if my child is not performing A level work, I expect them not to get an A.”

  • Buffysnell:

    I think it looks like a free market society, where you hire teachers that must compete with one another to teach your children. Why should obtaining a good math teacher, or a good English teacher be any different than finding a good violin teacher? Or a good swimming instructor? Free markets work because competition increases the variety and quality of services, and people get to keep their own money to choose for themselves.

  • Fred:

    Great Topic – Had this very discussion this week with a retired ASD administrator.
    1. Your “island tribe” example sounded anti-undocumented student when i first read it. Was that also the intent?
    2. I proposed non-compulsory attendance at the high school level ie 50 kids in a room who want to learn can be taught more then 10 kids who do not want to be there. The rebuttal was, “If you don’t force kids to attend school, what do you do with them?” I suggested that was a parent problem. He also suggested the alternative to education is prison.
    3. All schools could be changed to the charter school format. The buildings are self funded. The curriculum is parent directed. The student funding (read vouchers) and standards come from the state thus eliminating the district bureaucracy. Attendance may be three days a week augmented by electronic/technology driven curricula. The three day a week model could allow for two sessions using the buildings six days under extreme circumstances.
    4. Funding is a huge issue in Utah. We have too many kids and to few resources. I have no children in school but see the value of helping young families afford education for the community’s children. I also object to the education bureaucracy we now have. Therefore a compromise might be for the local parents to build the structures and the community supply the funding through taxation for the instruction.

  • Channariley:

    Making it easier to open a charter school would be a good start. There are certainly enough kids still on long waiting lists to open several more just in Alpine District. Smaller, locally-controlled schools are cheaper and more effective, tend to more closely adhere to community values, and can be focused on the needs and interests of the families involved. I’d love to open a charter school with a history and arts emphasis, but my girls would be in 5th and 7th grades by the time the doors opened in 4 years – assuming I could get the charter to begin with. Or, what if parents could retain their tax dollars to pay for their own kids’ educations, instead of paying for other peoples’ free baby-sitting?

  • joyce81779:

    Compulsory “free” education is the 10th Plank of the Communist Manifesto. It is the most important for Communism to go forward, since the children are the future of any system.

    What would education look like in a free society – without the compulsion of Communism?

    Whatever the free people living in that free society wanted it to be – with free association, freedom to contract (the most misunderstood and very most important expression of freedom), freedom to become and be whatever the individuals in that free society decided.

    But there is the rub. We have become a society of people who have not a clue how to live free. Freedom would require, not only that one could not be compelled to pay for the education of another, but would not require one to pay for the healthcare, or drug benefit, or old age benefit, or any other welfare benefit of any other.

    A truly free society would have NO compulsion for ANYONE to perform ANYTHING. Punishments for violation of just laws, laws that would punish people for the violation of the rights of another individual, are right and good. But to force one to the support of another in any way is a violation of eternal principles and God’s laws.

  • Jennrc3:

    This is one of the reasons I have decided to tutor or children at home this year. I cannot keep going to a system that is not working. I still am paying taxes, which I would love to have in my pocket to use for our own children, however I am willing to to choose principle over money. There was an unexpected, new feeling of freedom I felt in not sending our children to public school this year. I was really nervous about it, but now I am not. I am not perfect and I am sure this won’t be easy, but we have the responsibility to see the needs of our children and provide for them. The educators do not pray for each child in their school or classroom to know what they need to be learrning each year, so how do they decide what our children need? There isn’t a curriculum that will meet the needs of most children. I don’t think we should all have to pay for a system we don’t feel is working for our children. It used to be that most children were taught at home, and the public schools were there as a last resort for the families who were really poor. Everyone else was home taught or mentored. What happened?

    I also agree with the Thomas Jefferson method.

  • Allison:

    I liked the schooling method I saw when we lived in the Netherlands. The education money from the state followed the children to whatever school the parents chose. Our small neighborhood had two schools within walking distance. We chose the school not associated with any particular religion. In our second neighborhood, we choose a religious school, and the children started class with prayer.

    I asked one principle how he felt about educating the American kids. After all, it added more kids to his school which means added work. If I remember correctly, he said something like, “Next year, the government will give us enough money to educate the total amount of students enrolled this year. So we welcome the American kids because next year we will have more money for our school.” Why did the American kids pick that school? Because we liked the great kindergarten teacher. She drank coffee and wore slippers to class, but the kids loved her and the education was great.

    This is the model I would choose for schooling in the United States: groups, including religious groups, build schools, and parents choose where to send their kids. These groups hire the best teachers, and if a teacher or administrator proves less successful at his/her job, that person is let go. The money associated with each student follows the student to whatever school the child attends.

    I believe an educated populace is crucial for a free, well-functioning society, so I would continue to make primary and secondary education mandatory. (Forums like this can only exist among educated groups of people.) Home schooling, like other types of schools, would be a viable, legal, and accepted option. States would establish their own educational requirements, and the individual schools would meet those requirements the way they saw fit. The federal government would have no role in education.

    Even though education would be compulsory, the ability of the parents to choose where, when, and how their children are educated would add much-needed freedom of choice to the educational system.

    And in response to Jennrc3: it is true that in days past, many children were educated at home, but it is my understanding that many towns also built schoolhouses and hired the most educated person they could find to teach the children. Many of those towns had school boards to make sure the children were educated in the way the parents wanted. I didn’t think this system is necessarily bad, but the way it currently functions is unsuccessful, even harmful. It would be great to have teachers carefully selected by school boards that truly represented the parents, to have parents who took responsibility for their children, and to have children who really wanted to learn. Until that millennial day arrives, I think smaller, locally-controlled schools that receive money for each student they teach is the best answer.

  • Joey:

    I am absolutely opposed to any taxation to provide anything to education. I will give where and as I see fit. That is freedom. Utah’s problem with funding, as well as the rest of the country’s is that they have no restraint and no sense. Just walk into one of these new “Palaces of Learning” that looks more like a country club and you will see the problem. Are we educating for an entitled aristocracy? People can provide for themselves. Make it do or do without. Let us not even get into the endless ‘services’ and personel and auxiliary operations that have crept into the education definition.

    As to “Accident of Birth”– before they were educated to self-pity, most of the great achievers of the past were born to difficult situations in life. They used them to propel themselves forward rather than sink themselves in dispair. The iniquity (inequality) of scripture is the sealing up of opportunity by one group against another, the removal of agency, and enforced classification of people politically, financially, socially or morally. Those who talk about the “accident of birth” don’t believe in the Providence of God.

  • Michelle:

    The true nature of schooling or education in a free society is exactly the same as that of religion. In America each individual and family is free to decide what they believe and to worship according to their beliefs. They can choose to associate with a certain church or religion, but they alone are responsible to make those decisions and to fulfill the responsibilities of their decisions. I cannot decide I like one specific church and then ask government to reimburse me for my tithing and to pay for our building, pay our pastor’s salary, etc. And I especially cannot ask government to force others to join my church or learn what I believe. Freedom of religion is simply no different from freedom of education. Each parent is free and responsible to choose what and how they want their children to learn. They can then decide how to carry out their desires. They can find a school which best fits their beliefs, or they can teach their children themselves, or any number of other options. But they are responsible to meet the requirements of their decisions.

    Indeed, the comparison between education and religion is a very accurate one. If education were completely separate from government and left as an individual decision and responsibility (as it should be–remember it is the communist manifesto, not the constitution, which advocates government funded compulsory education) education would likely be viewed much more as a domain of the churches which, along with the family, is the perfect institution to provide for education. LDS folk may recall (or discover with a bit of study) that that was the original idea all along, and compulsory education in Utah was imposed by Anti-LDS legislators as a requirement for statehood.

    Of course along with this it is essential to remember that it is the responsibility of each individual to care for the poor and needy. This would obviously include helping to provide education for those who could not afford it. And yes, it is true that freedom comes with a price, and some people would fail to educate their children, just as people are now free to fail to teach their children about God or provide them with any religious training. We can argue about which is more harmful to society.

  • Michelle:

    “I believe an educated populace is crucial for a free, well-functioning society, so I would continue to make primary and secondary education mandatory. (Forums like this can only exist among educated groups of people.)”

    I would argue that for the vast majority or us on this forum, our interest and knowledge in these discussions is possible despite, not because of, our compulsory educations. I agree that what you describe is the very best compulsory, government controlled system, but the question is, is any compulsory, government controlled system constitutionally or morally correct. Isn’t any version of Satan’s plan still Satan’s plan? As soon as there is government funding education becomes a welfare entitlement and there inevitably follows control–i.e. government imposed requirements which limit citizens freedom. Somebody is put in a position to decide what education must be and what it cannot be. Our brilliant founding generation, the majority of whom could actually read and comprehend the Federalist Papers were not a product of any compulsion, but of freedom and responsibility.

  • Kristin:

    I love this article. I came to the same conclusions months ago and now I home school my children. The great lie is that “parents won’t educate their own children.” Of course we will. Those of us who take on parenthood responsibly and see it as a responsibility. Then of course, there are those “accidental parents” out there. This could get really sticky really soon as we start to go back into history and look at parenting rights. It used to be that parents only had any “rights” to their children, or decisions to be made about their children’s upbringing, if both parents were married. If not, you were merely a sperm or egg donor, and the government delegated your role to someone else–this works under the assumption that children have basic rights, and those rights will be assumed unfulfilled by parents who remain unmarried.

    Oh how far we’ve come.

    When do a child’s rights begin and an individual’s sexual rights end? This is not necessarily the direction you want to go with this, but I think it’s the logical end of such a discussion. What are the rights of children vs. the rights of adults, especially when it comes to parents and parenting? A child does have a right to life–but cannot provide it for himself. Thus, he has a rightful claim on his parents for food, shelter, etc. Does a child have a right to education? If so, the only ones on whom this right can be lawfully claimed is their own parents. Thus, the marriage thing, as I stated above, becomes a pretty big deal. Without both parents working together in marriage, how do you determine which parent owes the child what amount and for what? Child support laws are beleaguered by the details of such legitimate questions when divorced or single parents try to simultaneously raise the same child in two different ways and in two different places.

    Anyway, this is probably too long. Great thoughts. More discussion much needed.

  • Kristin:

    One more thought for now…

    It’s interesting to me how religious people typically have several more children per couple than non-religious people. Non-religious people also typically tend to be far more liberal. It is absolutely ridiculous, insidious, even, that the so-called “progressive” movement within education, which has dominated education policy for more than 100 years now and is very liberal, should dominate the educational philosophy for children of all of America. It’s as though the people moving such philosophies forward think to themselves, “I don’t want to have my own children, goodness no, that’s far too much work. But I do want to indoctrinate the vast majority of children with my philosophies, even if that goes against the beliefs of most of their parents.”

    We have to take back our right to educate our own children. We’ve got to stop being so trusting of a very liberal educational atmosphere. Unless, of course, you agree with that, in which case, the public system is just what you’re looking for.

  • Kristin:

    Yes! Sisters in home schooling! The more women who start trusting themselves more than they trust a corrupted system, the more amazing the children of our homes and neighborhoods will be. Miracles will occur. God bless you, Jennrc3, and all other home schooling moms!

  • pleasantgirl:

    Thanks everyone for the lively and interesting discussion. I especially have to agree with Michelle that what is discussed on this forum was never taught to us in public schools and we have to come the conclusions we have because of independent study, not anything we learned K-12. It was only when I pulled my children out of public school, enrolled them in a private LDS based school that I learned any of what is discussed here. It has been an exciting journey!

  • Anonymous:

    What would the “School of Beaten Down Doors” look like?
    Very small—probably no more than 200-300 children. So small that every child is known and recognized by name by all members of the staff
    Every member of the faculty has a publicized manifesto written and published for parents and students that introduces their beliefs, their purpose for teaching, their demonstrated expertise in a subject area, their teaching style, a syllabus of the course, parent support materials, video tapes of 1-3 of their BEST lessons presented to a live class, online reviews of the staff by parents and students outlining specific rating on specific criteria….extent to which student/teacher rapport is built, ability of the teacher to design student work that is engaging and meaningful to the child, grading standards, achievement scores publicized by student growth made per year and grade level standers met

    Very specifilly defined standards, reading lists, projects, performance events

    Flexible schedules to meet the needs of the child and family.

    Outside of school learning such as travel, internships, and work experience or service experience counts as learning

    Liberal arts curriculum–real liberal arts similar to the Thomas Jefferson education

    Self-selected mentors

    Physical fitness development extremely key–I believe physical capacity is a cornerstone to intellectual capacity and ultimately to the development of self esteem

    God-centered. Daily prayer and reflection, discernment time built in to the schedule

    Foreign language, music, philosophy, debate, oration,

    NO ATHLETIC teams. Leave that to the community recreational facilities similar to Europe.

    Required involvement of the parent would be a partnered learning experience where the child and the parent choose a project to accomplish together, or a subject to learn together. The child must actually see and experience the parent as LEARNER.

    Abundance of technology

    Hands on learning labs conducted by community partners who come in to share and teach about what they do to make a difference in the community, whorl, neighborhood.

    Non compulsory however, very high standards and consistent boundaries established. For example, as a history teacher years ago, the stoners RAN from the parking lot to my classroom to get there before I locked the door and would not admit them to the learning OPPORTUNITIES we were experiencing without them if they didn’t show up. Interestingly, I had fellow colleagues how I got those kids to attend as they NEVER showed up to any class but mine. Hmmm I hadn’t been aware of that until they told me.

    Writing, writing, writing, writing,……..WRITING…..mostly nonfiction.

    Did I say cutting edge technology?

    Is that a good start? Shall we go build that school?
    Children and parents responsible for the physical upkeep, maintenance,
    Cross graded in core subjects like math, literacy, science, oration, fitness

    Well-defined and well publicized honor code with a focus on the development of a character. deserving of the
    Right to freedom

  • Excellent list Blackjack. Thank you.

  • Darlene_burgi:

    We would have to return to the basic principle of assisting parents to feel responsibility for the education of their children . . . . the school (as local as possible) would assist. Parents have been made to feel incapable and have become incapable. Some will choose to be anyway, but the objective of the system we currently have has been to encourage this feeling of incapacity in parents. The bottom line would be home schooling with assistance available through local schools — yes, mixed ages and abilities, for the crucial education is in learning to live in harmony with people. This type of schooling would work better today than ever with all the technology we have. Using the golden rule the brightest would assist the weaker ones — thus learning becomes synergistic.

  • Jenita:

    Oak, in my reading I have found that the founders did believe that people have different abilities, and should therefore be trained differently. I believe they envisioned higher-caliber people in government, and that is why they stressed that we must choose moral people. We have gotten away from that, as we have become more immoral, and I believe that is the root of the problem. Would we have our current government if we elected only moral leaders? Someone said the most important question of a society is “Who will teach the children?” and from that comes “What will the children be taught?” Horace Mann succeeded in moving control of education from the local community, especially parents, to the federal government, and now we have a national education establishment that answers those two important questions, regardless of the parents’ wishes. I would want education to be local, with state funding without strings, with a variety of school styles and training, so that children would be trained according to their abilities and desires, under the direction of the parents. The local community should decide if education is compulsary. I believe educational problems, along with many of our society’s problems, would be greatly overcome if we stopped paying single women to have babies, and fathers to abandon their children. Fatherless children is our society’s greatest calamity.

  • Jenita, I received this email back the other day after this discussion got started but the person didn’t post it here. I think I’m in agreement with Jefferson.
    Massachusetts had a 98% literacy rate BEFORE compulsory schooling. It’s never been above 91% since.

    A couple of things: According to The Moral Dimensions of Teaching, ed. Goodlad et. al. “[I]t is precisely because [emphasis in the original] children are compelled and children are defenseless and have low status that teaching has moral obligations and thus moral praiseworthiness.” –Roger Soder

    The main basis of this book’s morality in teaching comes from the idea of compulsion. Part of the reason that parents have no right to educate their children is because we compel them to have their children educated. If there were no compulsion, the assumption would be that parents were capable of educating children. Jefferson says, “It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father.”

  • Glen Haner:

    Amen Michelle! The term “thought police” comes to mind. Government religion/education equals government policing and ownership of human minds. Hellish stuff. America must desist from saying “sure, take my children’s minds, I never had much use for my own.” Parents of Crete and Sparta gave forth the minds and bodies of their little ones. The weak were lucky. They got thrown into a deep hole. For hundreds of years there was not so much as one “individual” there who could so much as eat a meal in the privacy of his own home.

    We home school parents must go beyond saving our own. Our actions and words must inspire others to stand up and say “you shall not have our minds. They are not yours to take. Like our lives, liberty and property, this right is inalienable.

  • TJEmama:

    Wow! great comments everyone! What a great discussion!

    I was introduced to the (already mentioned) Thomas Jefferson Education model about 5 years ago. It changed my life in a way I never imagined and it contains the root of what everyone seems to be getting at. Especially the stat that it is only about 1/2 of 1% of all parents who could supposedly do a good job at home-educating their children. Why is that?

    The root of this is that education isn’t a 12-year or 16-year measured entity. It is a lifelong process and too many parents “graduate,” forget everything they know, and push their own offspring into this downward spiraling cycle. Nothing will change until the parents of the young children now start reading and studying and writing in journals and developing their talents and setting goals and using their knowledge to bless others, bringing their kids along with them. This is the upward spiraling cycle that will lead to the changes of which we are all dreaming. And this is the essence of “inspire not require.”

    The last 5 years have been an amazing journey. I read and study and write daily. And not on a blog, in a notebook or journal, handwriting. My kids see me. They are learning above all else that learning doesn’t ever stop, that when they are moms and dads they will read and study and write. It’s not just something they do for school.

    About this “inspire not require”; there has been much discussion about this just in the TJEd community. For myself, I looked to God to see how He handles it. Seems to me he does a bit of both. He inspires yes. But He also requires once we have been inspired. He seems to indroduce assignments and expectations right about the time we feel motivated to move on something. But as a parent, will I see the same cues God can see in my own children? Maybe not perfectly, but better than a teacher who doesn’t know him or her like I do.

    I think many brilliant models have already been presented. The case that in Utah there is nothing stopping us is also food for thought. I believe something is stopping us, it is that my generation is already the 4th generation of completely dumbed-down individuals who has no idea where to begin. On top of that, this lack of true understanding and education has led to a general disposition of entitlement and sedation.

    May we with young children, and those with grandchildren begin to make education a way of life, a way of home life, a way of living. Read, study, write, apply and keep going. Everything changes, and I believe that when my children have grown up and their children have grown up this way that then truly nothing will lie in the way of them bringing to fruition the ideals we now seek.

  • Alamo Teacher:

    See John Taylor Gatto’s book: The Underground History of American Education for further enlightenment on the subject of compulsory education and how we arrived at this dismal method of educating our young today.