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Are Compulsory School Attendance Laws Necessary? Part 3


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Today the law is not being used to force delinquents and truants into the schools, but to harass and regulate home schoolers and fundamentalist Christian schools. In the 1800s it was assumed that if you attended a public school you learned to read and write. Today, no such assumption can be made. In fact, public school attendance is now a guarantee for many children that they will not only team nothing, but that their brains will be destroyed in the process.

Today’s public school student is at risk academically, spiritually, morally and physically. To force a child to attend such a school is not only a crime but the worst form of child abuse: menticide — mind murder.

The present-day public school has become the incubator of the functionally illiterate drug user and drug pusher who have made life in our inner cities miserable for millions of Americans and jeopardized our very future as a free and wholesome society.

The compulsory school attendance laws now serve no one but the educators who can use them to further their own monopolistic self interests and cripple the competition.

What America needs now more than ever is a return to educational freedom, so that the American people can apply their ingenuity and unbounded energies to the creation of alternatives to the present debilitating system. Technology has now made compulsory attendance obsolete. One can now learn much more at home than in any public classroom, at less cost to everyone.

In any case, the public school educators have abdicated their role as teachers. They now call themselves facilitators or change agents. Education has become a racket, not a profession. And the money stakes are high. The organized educators now have the political clout in Washington and the state capitals to get virtually anything they want from a bewildered public which have been told over and over again that the cause of educational failure is not bad teaching and a flawed educational philosophy but lack of financial support.

Fortunately, many voters are not buying that lie, which accounts for the rejection of so many school bond issues in local communities. The public seems to have had enough, but it is getting mixed and confusing signals from its political leaders and representatives. Spineless legislators quiver like Jello whenever a leader of the education establishment or its powerful union breathes down their necks. And so, those who are truly interested in education have the double task of exposing the education racket for what it is, and informing the public and their fearless elected representatives of what is actually going on in public education.

The goal of home-schoolers, Christian educators, libertarians, and conservatives in general should be the repeal of all compulsory school attendance laws, which have become the most powerful weapons the education establishment can use to thwart the competition and force parents to do the educators’ win.

These laws not only violate the parents’ unalienable right to determine how their children are to be educated, but they violate the 13th Amendment which prohibits involuntary servitude. No child should be forced to serve the interests of the education establishment. No child should be forced to undergo brain-washing and indoctrination by a self-serving monopoly of facilitators and change agents.

The compulsory school attendance laws came into being before the adoption of the 13th Amendment, which states:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Certainly compulsory school attendance — no matter for what worthy cause — is a form of “involuntary servitude,” which is strictly prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. Note that the 13th Amendment prohibits both slavery and involuntary servitude, and we believe that the law applies to children as well as to adults.

Today, millions of children are forced to serve the interests of the education establishment getting little in return by way of education, often being permanently crippled intellectually by widespread educational malpractice.

When will some honest Christian lawyers challenge the state on this crucial issue? When will home-schoolers organize a concerted, long-range effort to repeal the compulsory school attendance laws or have them declared unconstitutional?

True religious, academic and economic freedom will never be restored in this country until educational freedom is regained. The nature of a society is determined by the way its children are educated. The present atheistic, immoral education monopoly is leading us toward totalitarianism — the total state that owns its people. The growing conservative movement, the Christian revival, and the trend toward privatization all indicate that more and more Americans are rejecting the kind of statist future the educators want for us. The educators don’t call it totalitarianism. They usually call it utopia, egalitarianism, or world government. But what it all adds up to is the end of the America created by our Founding Fathers, the America that countless young Americans fought and died for, the America we want to bequeath to our children and our children’s children.

The compulsory attendance laws are the linchpin of the whole totalitarian plan. Such laws have been used by every modern dictator and tyrannical government to control their people and mold the minds of the children. Such laws are not only not needed in a free society, but ultimately lead to its demise.

Let us launch a drive to pull that linchpin and unravel the whole convoluted web of statist control and regulation that is strangling individual and religious freedom. Only when Americans get themselves solidly back on the road to freedom will their optimism and hope prosper.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

This is Part 3 (of 3) of “Are Compulsory School Attendance Laws Necessary?” which appeared in the September 1990 issue of The Blumenfeld Education Letter, P.O. Box 45161, Boise, Idaho 83711. Copyright 1990 by The Blumenfeld Education Letter. Reprinted by permission.

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    Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the author of "Is Public Education Necessary?"