Doesn’t the Government have a Direct Interest in an Educated Populace

Yes, the government does have a direct interest in an educated populace─one that is educated just enough and in ways that will perpetuate the goals and existence of the government.

William T. Harris, the U.S. Commissioner of Education in the late 1800s, summed up the goal of government schooling like this:

Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening. The average American [should be] content with their humble role in life…

He was bragging.

He was not the only leader of education to express that sentiment. Many others said the same thing. The goal of schools was to create a manageable society, an easily controlled people who would not become dissatisfied with their lot in life and who would obey when their government called on them to do so.

But surely, you might be thinking, that’s not how it is today. Haven’t we evolved past that? Aren’t we more enlightened now? Unfortunately, Horace Mann, John Dewey and their cohorts are still studied and admired in university schools of education.

Many education majors still come away with the sense that they are agents for social change and feel justified in superseding the values and wishes of parents and families. Armed with the power of the state and unaccountable to parents, they do the government’s work in shaping young minds to submit, to be good, obedient citizens who trust the government as a benevolent father who wishes nothing more than to care for them.

There are teachers who have not accepted the role of social crusader, of course. They recognize that strong families make for a better society and they honor and encourage that, but all too many have embraced the ideology of Mann and Dewey.

When we turn our children over to government schools, they become truly what the government has claimed for many years─”our” greatest resource. Don’t think for a minute that the government means parents or families or even communities when it says “our.” It means the government’s greatest resource, a resource to meet the needs of a growing and hungry state.

The government needs three things to thrive and grow:

1.  Obedient citizens who will not upset the status quo.

2.  Money, which requires citizens who believe the government deserves their money and will utilize it in better ways than they themselves will, or at the very least, citizens who are afraid not to hand their money over.

3.  Power: citizens who will willingly subdue fellow citizens who refuse to submit; citizens who will fight wars; citizens who will turn on one another when ordered or asked to do so but will not turn on the government. Without force, the government is powerless. Unless people are willing to act unquestioningly on behalf of the government to enforce its edicts, the government has no power.

You do not need to believe that public schools were started in order to meet these needs of the government (though a careful study of school history will reveal considerable evidence for the theory), but you should be able to recognize that today’s schools fulfill the needs. And it should alarm you.

Our founders worded the U.S. Constitution so that the federal government should have no role in education. It was not within the scope of their endeavor to dictate the same to states, but their efforts at the national level were surely a warning to citizens of the danger of handing over to a ruling body the teaching of its subjects.

Many parents have reached the point of fed-up. The parents who struggle to maintain a presence and influence in their children’s lives while they attend government schools often find themselves doing battle with the school and with their children, giving in on things that are important to them when the battle becomes too pitched.

Now is an excellent time in history to join the growing movement of freedom in education.