Leaving Never Land

by Tammy Drennan

Tighten your seatbelts, everyone. The federal government is brewing another experiment that will utilize public schools as laboratories and students as lab rats. And they’re backing it with 2.35 billion dollars.

Here’s the deal. Key (politically influential) people believe students still don’t read as well as they should. Even though the government has been in charge of teaching reading for 160 years, these people still feel it’s the best vehicle to improve reading scores in the United States. In spite of over a century and a half of government education flops, legislators and the president think they’ve finally found the solution.

Jamie P. Fasteau, vice president for federal advocacy for the Alliance for Excellent Education, thinks the proposed legislation is great, because, he says, “We had long known how inextricably linked literacy is to high school success.”

Please excuse my incredulity and the resulting sarcasm, but I must say that our insights just get deeper every generation: We know that high school success is linked to literacy? When did we not know this — and whatever will we discover next?

Here’s a discovery that would really rock our country: Government involvement in education is linked to intellectual mediocrity, moral and cultural decay, destruction of community, and loss of liberty.

Quite a few million families have already made this discovery and taken corrective action – they’ve chosen independent forms of education. Millions more are on the edge of making the discovery; they just need a gentle nudge to fully awaken them.

But the majority languish in the sort of public education Never Land that produces statements so patently absurd that they’d be funny, if only the people who made them didn’t have so much influence over real children.

The solution to this state of affairs is to expand and strengthen the foundation of freedom by refusing to be educated by and refusing to allow our children to be educated by the government.

The solution is to stop further empowering the state by throwing our energies into vouchers and other schemes that increase government’s control over children.

The solution is to take all that passion and money (are you listening, Bill Gates?) and instead of trying to manipulate the public school system, create government-free education choices for the neediest – choices that help families up and out of the cycle of despair inflicted on them in large part by schools that fail to prepare children in any way for a life of significance and liberty.

The solution is to inspire parents, to help them see what education could be, what their children’s futures could hold, to light fires of indignation over what the state and its partners have inflicted on us all.

The solutions will be as various as human beings. I’m not talking about creating a new school bureaucracy, even if it is free of government meddling. Our whole history as a country proves that variety is the life of growth and improvement. Until the mass government takeover of education in the 19th century, we were a nation that reveled in diversity. It wasn’t always neat and it certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was a system inclined to progress. And we were moving forward — in every way — until our government found a dozen ways to wrestle our progress from us and turn it into a campaign to make everyone the same, the chief means being public schooling.

Mao loved conformity, Stalin loved conformity, Hitler loved conformity. Does this not teach us something? Conformity requires control – lots of it. If we hope to see a free and prosperous and happy future, we will have to give up control and depend on persuasion and example. It will be a hard principle to embrace, even without government in the picture. Control is easier and more satisfying. Power is addictive.

But the manipulation and coercion of others has never resulted in anything good. It never will. It doesn’t work in the most basic relationships. It doesn’t work at the governmental level, and it doesn’t work in education. It results in the opposite of everything it purports to accomplish. When we accept this obvious truth, we’ll be able to move forward.

Respect, persuasion, creativity, innovation, invitation – these are the ways to revolutionize education. Offer substance, model excellence, lift others up to become your peers, not your beneficiaries.

Let’s shed the numbness of mind so long imposed on us through government-delivered education, so we can have meaningful conversations and create meaningful options.

4 Responses to Leaving Never Land

  1. wintertime says:

    When are conservatives going to WAKE UP!!!!!

    Government schools can NOT be reformed because government schools ARE SOCIALISM, socialism can’t be reformed!

    Simply by attending a government school children learn that it is OK for the government to take money from their neighbor to pay for a service that their parents want for free! It is a short step from being comfortable with socialist delivered schooling to being completely comfortable with:

    Direct election of Senators
    The IRS
    FDR’s New Deal
    Johnson’s Great Society
    A thousand other paper cuts of socialist programs
    And now OBAMA and his communist minions!

    All it took to accomplish ALL of the above was for 1 to 3 generations of Americans ( my **parents** and **grandparents**!) to be made comfortable ( on a daily basis) with taking money from their neighbor to pay for schooling their parents wanted for **FREE**!

    I have a plan but, sadly, it is likely too late:

    Conservatives MUST immediately set up private education foundations to do the following:

    **Award grants to conservative teachers who would set up private and tuition-free one room schools. ( They could look a lot like the day care centers many parents use now in homes and small buildings.)

    **The foundations would certify the teacher, test the students, and approve the curriculum.

    ** The foundations would run sports leagues, community theater, and arts programs. ( These programs, that are now run by the government school monopoly, often create “rah-rah” support in the voting booth. This monopoly and cycle of dependence must be broken.)

    **The foundations would organize the parents into a lobbying group dedicated to the complete abolishment of all government schooling.

    I suggest one room schools instead of institutional schooling because:

    **Institutional schools are expensive!
    **Institutional schools have many zoning issues.
    ** Prussian-model schools in many ways resemble prisons and teach children how to be good prisoners.

    Can we do it? Yes, of course we can! Harvard has an endowment of $35 BILLION!!!!! Our Marxist dominated universities, colleges, and philanthropies also have endowments in the BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS! ( Much of it foolishly donated by conservatives.)

    While I don’t like giving a service away for free, at least in the beginning the conservative educational foundations would need to do this. Why? Answer: The government is running a price-fixed monopoly and is undercutting the free market by giving its educational services away for FREE.

    So…Yes, children would be getting a free private education ( at first) but at least the lesson learned would be gratitude. When government takes money from their neighbor to provide tuition-free schooling, the children learn feelings of entitlement! ( BIG difference!)

    In time, parents would be expected to take on the full cost of educating their own children. Charity would provide for the poor.

    Finally,…Conservatives MUST get it through their thick skulls that Marxism is our nation’s **most** serious threat! Government K-12 schools are the Marxists’ **most** powerful weapon!

  2. wintertime says:

    Regarding Bill Gates:

    Mr. Gates is firmly mired in the quagmire of the education-industrial complex. ( My apologies to Dwight Eisenhower.)Mr. Gates is NOT about to bite the hands that feed him and his employees!

    Mr. Gates is very dependent on the government K-12 schools. It is teachers who recommend his products. Superintendents place large orders for his products.

    The educational-industrial complex is HUGE! For example:

    **Teachers and school employees fill the pews of churches, and ministers then fear offending the people who put money in the collection plate.

    **Armies of vendors and their employees depend upon the millions upon millions of dollars that flow from the schools to business large and small.

    **Even my **dentist** ( of all people) and his 5 employees depend on government school dental insurance to bring patients into the office.

    ** In my county, the government schools are the single largest employer in the county. No other business even comes close in term of money budget or number of employees.

    The above is a MASSIVE voting and lobbying group supporting socialist-model government schooling. If conservatives are going to beat this political clout they will need to do an end run around it. ( See the plan I posted above.)

  3. tdbwd says:

    Dear wintertime,

    I’m intrigued with your idea for private education foundations. Have printed up your comments for further thought. Thanks much for writing!!


  4. wintertime says:

    I’m on FreeRepublic.com almost every day with the same suggestions.

    Conservatives **must** take charge of the problem!

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