Publicly funded schooling does not simply mean public schools, but any school that receives funding from a government. Government funding of schools represents a conflict of interests, even if the school is private or the government does not set explicit guidelines on how the school is to be organised and what curriculum is to be taught. So long as the school receives any funding from a government it is not a true private or independent school. Even charter schools, like those in California, are not free to run their own curriculum because if they do not heed to the wishes of the government their funding could be cut off at any time so they are under a lot of pressure to conform to government expectations. Once you can accept that the receipt of government funding has a powerful influence on the independence of a school as to how they run their affairs then you can start to see the problems with this conflict of interest.
Governments are instruments of force and violence. They seek to monopolise the use of violence over a geographical area and do so by using violence to enforce their laws and policies. To disobey any government sanctioned directive will result in bringing down upon yourself financial and physical infirmity. Of course there are some good arguments for this, we do not want bands of thugs and maurauders raping and pillaging through our suburbs or bombing our cities. So the government serve important policing and military functions to keep people safe and to provide the security needed for economic prosperity. All governments from the cruelest tyranny to the most liberal democracy provide policing and military services to their countries. The problem is, governments tend to do cruel and insane things to ordinary people: wage wars, conduct experiments on whole populations, make laws that benefit shady business interests, steal half of a population’s income in the form of taxation and then use it to line their own pockets while providing sub-standard services to the communities they claim to represent.
What I have just described in the previous paragraph is simply the facts of life that are true everywhere around the world. In ancient societies the population was so small that they did not need democracy and republicanism because everyone knew each other and dangerous leaders could be removed from power safely. However, when the population grew democracy and republicanism were invented as a means of preventing the government from carrying out cruel policies and waging pointless wars. How effective these measures have been is a fascinating historical discussion that I am sure we will have often on this website. However, the fact remains that democratic governments have been struggling to deal with the fact they can not simply do cruel things and wage wars without first getting the majority of people to agree with them. Yet, when you look at history and the world we currently live in you will see that democratically elected governments make up some of the most cruel and militarily aggressive regimes in history. How is it possible for democratically elected governments to wage such blood thirsty and pointless wars?
The problem is rooted in the publicly funded education system.
Publicly funded education is essentially pro-government because it depends on the government to finance it. If your continued employment depends on pleasing an organisation that deals exclusively with force and violence, then you are most likely going to find ways that appease the interests of that organisation. This is what were are seeing in all levels of the education system: children indoctrinated in primary school to believe the government is always kind and loving, while neglecting to inform them that governments are directly responsible for more death and bloodshed than all other sources combined by multiple times. During the 20th century governments around the world murdered as many as 300 million people and displaced billions more from their homes and property. In secondary school children are not taught how to think independently, how to educate themselves, to understand economics, to appreciate aesthetics or to reason morally. Instead they are taught the same, often worthless, things year after year almost as though the government was deliberately taking from them the best years of their lives for learning so as to prevent them from maturing into independent thinkers who could criticise government actions and policies effectively. Finally, in the universities we are seeing ideologies like socialism, feminism, environmentalism, critical theory and communism taught as though they were factual and effective ways of running a society, while all the time relentlessly condemning the culture, heritage and dignity of the common people to undermine their self-confidence thus making them more easily silenced when they disagree with a government decision.
On every level the government gets involved in education, it ignores the rights of the parent to choose and direct their children’s education and instead assert the interests of the politicians in maintaining their status as a privileged and unaccountable elite.
Here is a brief summary for each of the values publicly funded education instills in the minds of children forced by the government to go through this degrading process of turning a bright, enthusiastic individual and turning them into a self-loathing, obedient drone with limited ability to assert themselves in a conflict.
The structure of publicly funding schooling is designed to train young minds to conform. Firstly, the emphasis is not on recognising individual differences in ability or interest. Children are organised in classes based on age instead of ability. Putting a child who is 3 grade levels ahead in reading into a grade 1 class will make school boring and oppressive for that child. Putting a child who is 3 grade levels behind in reading in a grade 4 class will humiliate and discourage the child. Why do publicly funded schools treat all children as though they are the same academically? Because the point is about making them conform, not about education. Being too smart or too slow is considered a problem and children learn that conforming to the expectations of the schooling system, instead of pursuing their personal educational goals, is more important.
Another problem is that school is forced socialisation with people one normally would not want to spend time around: bullies, perverts, abusers, manipulators, narcissists etc… Instead of having the right that every free person should have to choose their own company, children are forced to conform with people who are actually harmful for them to be around. Bullies exist in every school, they come in all shapes and sizes and they all can severely damage your child’s emotional and cognitive development, but the government makes it almost impossible for parents to actually fix this problem through the most logical method: keep them separated. Instead, like all the government options, threats and intimidation are the only way to deal with bullies and most of the time the children learn the best way to survive is to withdraw and conform to escape bullies and abusers.
One way I liken this is that bullies are effectively emotional cannibals. They get their sense of self-worth from beating down other children. Thus bullies are a serious mental health issue for children when they are the most psychologically vulnerable; in their childhood years. Sending your children to a public school when you know there are bullies around is no different to sending them into a plague camp. Sure, most people will not die from the plague, but do you want to take that risk with your child’s health? Of course not. But this is a moot point: the government forces you to put your children in harm’s way exactly like this. Remember, if your child is currently suffering from bullying, it is ultimately your responsibility as the parent to protect your child, not the government’s and frankly, the government will never come close to caring about the well-being of a child than what their parent can.
Another problem with conformity is that children damaged by excessive valuing of conformity constantly compare themselves to other people. Do you ever find yourself thinking the following thoughts?
- I did not get an A for English so I must not be as smart and that other person
- My body is not as thin as hers so I must not be as attractive
- I am not like most people so I must be a weirdo
- I am too different and therefore other people can not relate to me
- Everyone else seems to think this, so I must be wrong
You probably got this mentally from your publicly funded schooling. Standardised testing procedures like those used in publicly funded schools assume that all children are equal in ability and interests. Thus they encourage children to constantly compare each other and seek conformity because the suggestion is every time a person deviates from the ‘norm’ they are somehow defective or behind the others. Thus the child is taught to always be on the look out for ways that they are different to other people and to learn to cover up those differences to fit in with the expectations of standardised testing.
In effect, school is a form of prison where children are forced to go and if they behave really well they might be fortunate enough to be released a year or two earlier. Good behaviour is not about learning, it is about conforming to the expectations of their teachers and the children they are forced to socialise with.
Obedience is closely related to conformity, but it is a more sinister threat. Whereas conformity has some advantages because it allows one to remain safe in a dangerous situation by not rocking the boat too much or challenging the sacred beliefs of a group and thus risking ostracism, obedience has no advantage to a person, least of all a child. Obedience means doing what you are told regardless of what the consequences to you personally will be. Obedience is therefore a complete loss of individuality and self-agency. Obedience is taught in publicly funded schools as though it were a virtue though.
The reason why obedience is taught in our schools is because the publicly funded schools governments set up were inspired from a different schooling system all governments use: the military. Remember how governments all have policing and military functions in common with each other? Having an obedient military is essential for every government as the military could rebel and over throw them at any time. In times past the ruling elite used to safe guard themselves by actually being part of the military: patricians, knights, lords etc… However, this was inherently dangerous and so to protect themselves from losing their friends and family members they invented a military schooling system designed to teach obedience. Obedient soldiers do three things: they do not argue, they do not question orders and when told to advance into cannon fire they obey even though they know many of them, including themselves, will certainly die from following such an order.
The government chose to use military based practices for public education to achieve similar results with the general population: they do not criticise government policy, they do not rebel against unjust or criminal governments and they will obediently hand over half of their income in taxation for little benefit to themselves or their friends and families because they were told to do it.
Apathy is the attitude most adults have to learning, yet this is precisely the opposition orientation children have before they start school. Children are passionate learners who aggressively seek knowledge and understanding. What happens to children after 13 years of schooling that leaves them so apathetic to learning?