2015-01-28

Stay On The Right Side Of The Law

A few days ago, Michael Esch published an excellent article at Liberty.me. The article was ostensibly about teaching his son chess, but more importantly, the article was about better alternatives to modern educational  methods.

In particular, he writes (emphasis in the original):
Educators can nurture these desires, but they cannot make learning happen. We cannot force a person to live a certain way. Many parents and teachers believe that they should force a child to do certain things. If the child does not want to participate, then he is punished. This type of conditioning will only insure that the child becomes blindly obedient to future authority figures. We should teach our children to do what is right, not what is commanded.
One problem with modern education is the fact that it has become a sort of de facto day care for busy modern parents, who can't seem to be bothered to do like Mr. Esch, and help guide their own children toward greater knowledge.

I certainly don't claim that doing so is easy - quite the contrary! Still, the dangers of a 20-year-old government day care program make themselves felt when I come across stories like the one I read at WFAA this afternoon:

GUSTINE, Texas — Here in Gustine, population 457, what happens at the schoolhouse affects nearly everyone. And something happened Monday that is causing a big controversy in this small town. 
"I felt uncomfortable, and I didn't want to do it," said 11-year-old Eliza Medina. "I felt like they violated my privacy." 
She was one of about two dozen elementary students who were rounded up in the small town 90 miles southwest of Fort Worth. 
Eliza's mother, Maria Medina, said boys were taken to one room, girls to another, and they were ordered "To pull down their pants to check them to see if they could find anything."
Every day our society faces a choice between making our children blindly obedient to civil servants who inevitably treat our children as though they are in fact the state's children, not ours, or reducing the size and scope of our public services.

Maybe you believe that all education might be public, and I don't want to pick that fight today. But if education is to be public, shouldn't we at least minimize our children's exposure to it in the same way that we minimize our own exposure to the TSA at the airport, or the DMV?

When we see educators practically forced to abuse their power because we have asked them to step in as surrogate parents, haven't we taken the idea of "public eduation" a little too far?