Compulsory public school is widely thought of as something that benefits society as a whole.
A reasonably well-educated populace makes a country run more smoothly…or, at least, that’s the theory.
An Arizona State Representative wants to improve public school–by making it optional.
Yes, Republican Representative Paul Mosley wants to do away with the law that requires kids to attend school.
He’s a father of seven kids under the age of 10, and he and his wife are currently homeschooling them.
He thinks that education has devolved into state-funded babysitting for many kids who have little interest in learning.
Mosley elaborates: “I believe…the kids who don’t want to be there are a larger distraction to the kids who do want to be there. We’re telling kids they have to go to school, and we put fences around the schools to protect them now, and we give them a meal or two and sometimes send a backpack of food home with them.
“So now schools are not only tasked with educating our children, but also feeding our children. What happened to the personal responsibility of a parent to feed and educate their kids?”
Interesting stance, Mr. Mosley..
Of course, the initial idea of compulsory schooling was met with militant resistance when it was first introduced by law in 1918.
Education was something you did after the farm chores or factory work was done, if you had time. You were also limited because of access to things like books, ink, and paper to write on.
However, in the age of the internet, information saturates every moment of our waking lives.
We live in an era where two-year old kids can operate iPads and use Google voice-search to find out anything they’re curious about–for better or worse.
Of course, Mosley’s many critics say that repealing compulsory education laws will just leave millions of kids at home, ignorant and hungry.
Is compulsory schooling really about helping kids to learn, or is it about government-managed “parenting,” so that more parents can stay in the work force?
Some, like the late author, John Holt, suggested that public school would naturally improve if we allowed them to function like businesses in a free market economy.
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In other words, if schooling wasn’t mandatory, the burden would be on educators to make it engaging, relevant, fun, and worthwhile to children, in order to get them to show up!
After all, research has repeatedly shown that learning happens easiest and best when the learner actually wants to learn.
Others think that’s little more than utopian bullshit, and that kids would just play video games all day (oh, and what if they did?)
So what do you think? Do you agree with Rep. Paul Mosley about repealing compulsory school laws?