Sheldon Richman, who authored FFF’s great book Separating School & State: Liberating America’s Families received the following email from his daughter Emily:
“Jennifer and I met a couple of people at this sushi place in Little Rock on Thursday that does karaoke. And we are friends with them on Facebook now. Today, one of them sent me a message asking if you were my dad! He said when he first heard our last name he was going to ask if we were related to you, but he thought we would think he was crazy!
“I asked how he had heard of you and he said:
“I remember back when I was about 12 years old when public schools in Arkansas started doing this ‘restructuring’ thing. Around that same time the book ‘Separating School and State’ came out (either 94 or 95?). Both those things combined to cause a huge stir in the church my parents went to at the time. Several parents pulled their kids out of school and home schooled them after that.
“I thought it was pretty cool that he remembered that and knew who you were! Just thought I’d let you know! — Emily”
It just goes to show how ideas can have a power that is impossible to measure. What a great feeling knowing that our book played a very positive role in the life of some families, especially the children who were not subjected to public schooling as result of the book.
As we have long maintained here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, the key to the education morass, however, is not homeschooling but rather a total free market in education, which would include homeschooling as an available option.
Today, parents essentially have only three choices when it comes to their children’s education: homeschooling, government-approved private schools, and government schools. A free market in education would free up the educational arena so that a much wider array of educational vehicles would be offered to consumers.
For example, suppose parents understand the damage that government schools cause children and do not wish to subject their children to them. Yet, suppose also that they cannot financially afford private school and do not feel competent to homeschool.
What’s their solution? They have none. For them, all three choices are bad. But if the educational marketplace were freed up, the probability is that they would find some more satisfactory alternatives, some of which we cannot even imagine that some creative entrepreneur would come up with.
As Sheldon pointed out in Separating School & State, the ideal is to end all government involvement in education, just as Americans long ago ended all government involvement in religion. That would mean the repeal of compulsory-attendance laws and school taxes, terminating all state education personnel, and disposing of all the school buildings.
Hasn’t the state done enough damage with its system of regimentation, memorization, and Ritalin injections? Why not a free market in education? Doesn’t the free market deliver the best of everything? Why not give families the opportunity to provide the best possible education for their children? Why not separate school and state?