Americas Public School System --- Brutal and Spartan
The public school system in America has become a dismal failure. But education in many other times and cultures has been quite successful. The ancient Greeks, whose civilization was at its height around 500 B.C., founded Western civilization as we know it. The Athenian Greeks invented or perfected logic, drama, science, philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, literature, and much more. Yet ancient Greece had no compulsory schools.
Other than requiring two years of military training for young men that began at age eighteen, Athens let parents educate their children as they saw fit. Parents either taught their children at home or sent them to voluntary schools where teachers and philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle gave lectures to all who wanted to learn. These great teacher-philosophers did not need a license to teach, nor did they have tenure.
The ancient Athenians had a free-market education system. The thought of compulsory, state-run schools and compulsory licensing would have been repulsive to them. The Athenians respected a parents' natural right to direct the education of their children.
In contrast, Sparta, Athens's mortal enemy, created the first truly state-run, compulsory education system on record. Individual Spartans lived and died for the state, and had to serve the state from birth until sixty years of age. Their society was a brutal military dictatorship in which male children literally belonged to the city, not to their parents.
The Spartan military government took boys from their homes and parents at the age of seven and forced them to live in military-style barracks for the rest of their lives. Spartan men were life-long soldiers whose highest duty was to obey the commands of their leaders.
It is no coincidence that Sparta had compulsory, state-run education. If a society believes that children belong not to parents, but to the state, then the state must control children's education by compulsion.
Are our public schools any different than the brutal Spartan society in the way they treat parents and children? Today, school compulsory-attendance laws force parents to hand over their children to government employees called teachers for eight to twelve years.
In effect, our local and state governments claim that they, like the Spartans, own our children's minds and bodies for twelve years. Parents who refuse to hand over their children to the public schools can be and have been locked in jail for disobeying the compulsory-attendance laws.
In this respect, our public schools today are just as brutal as the Spartans. The difference is only in degree. Where the Spartans stole children from their parents to serve a lifetime in their military, our local governments create laws that let them, in effect, legally kidnap our children to serve twelve years in their education boot camps called public schools. The brutality of the principal is the same. Like the Spartans, our public-school officials think they own our children, and have contempt for parents' rights.
Joel Turtel is an education policy analyst, and author of "Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children." Contact Information: Website: http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 718-447-7348. Article Copyrighted © 2005 by Joel Turtel. NOTE: You may post this Article on an Ezine, newsletter, or other website only if you include Joel Turtel's complete contact information, and set up a hyperlink to Joel Turtel's email address and website URL, http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com
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