Separate school and state, suggests writer

TRACKSIDE © by John D’Aloia Jr.

June 22, 2004

An e-mail pen pal’s response to the last TRACKSIDE was "Separate school and state altogether, there's no historical or constitutional reason for this horrific marriage. The first baby step to improving education is to abolish mandatory education laws. Restoring education to the privilege it is, rather than a "right" that imprisons will cure many ills." He had no way of knowing that a concluding paragraph containing such a prescription ended up under the delete key for length and flow considerations.

A prime reason for separating the two has long been recognized - the use of the education system by the state to mold compliant citizens, citizens who are but cogs in the wheel of government, who believe as the state believes, without the discernment and analytical ability to know when they are being handed malarkey and their freedoms taken away. The premise has been expressed by those on both sides of the debate, indicating that there is more than a grain of truth to the charge.

Two well known protagonists of the 20th Century understood what was at stake in government-controlled education. Here is a quote from a book written by one who believed that it was imperative for a nation’s education system to be controlled by the state: "The school… it is the seed-bed of the coming generation. It is a struggle for the soul of the child, and to the child its first appeal is addressed." In contrast, the belief stated by another person, as explained by Congressman Lawrence McDonald in We Hold These Truths, was that federal aid to education was to be feared and in 1949 he denounced those who supported federal aid to education. They were, he asserted, "guilty of extravagance with public money, of dishonesty, and of behavior more dangerous to our form of government than any external threat that can possibly be arrayed against us."

This very serious debate has gone on throughout recorded history. Aristotle - "All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind are convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Abraham Lincoln - "The philosophy of the school room of one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next." Admiral Hyman Rickover - "America is reaping the consequences of the destruction of traditional education by the Dewey-Kilpatrick experimentalist philosophy ..The student thus receives neither intellectual training nor the factual knowledge which will help him understand the world he lives in, or to make well-reasoned decisions in his private life or as a responsible citizen."

I can hear the anguished cries - we would never be able to educate our children if we did not have government schools. Without government schools, you would be keeping a lot more of your own money to spend as you saw fit, to provide for the education of your children - in Kansas, close to two-thirds of the state’s budget is devoted to education. The market place will provide competitive alternatives, as it does now. There are private K-12 schools across the state, with proven academic success, operating on and charging a heck of a lot less than the close to $10,000.00 per student that Kansas now spends on K-12 education. A market place innovation that is growing is a combination of distance education and home schooling for those parents unsure of their ability to home school without outside help. (Sheldon Richman, in Separating School and State: How to Liberate America’s Families, 1994, The Future of Freedom Foundation, suggests ‘Family-based learning’ as a better term than home-schooling - he believes that the term wrongly suggests isolation.) And for the very poor? Jacob Hornberger, President of FFF, wrote: "The way they were educated throughout the 1800s in the U.S., before public schooling was implemented - through fellowships, scholarships, and other financial assistance provided by the wealthier members of society, on a purely voluntary basis." Evidence that his contention is on the mark is found in the growing number of private scholarships being provided by organizations such as the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which has provided $165 million in private K-12 scholarships to 62,000 needy children nation-wide since 1999, and by similar private state and local level efforts, such as "Children First: CEO Kansas" in Wichita.

Oh, yes, sorry, almost forgot. Who were the two protagonists noted in the third paragraph? First, Adolph Hitler, writing in Mein Kampf; second, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, speaking when he was President of Columbia University.

See you Trackside.


The website address for Children First: CEO Kansas is



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site