That should give a sense of the direction things are heading, the first from Germany, home of compulsory state education and inspiration to the Prussian system used here in America:
And, here, running an idea up the flagpole to see who gets splinters, an essay by one of Slate’s conformity-bots:
For reference, here are three quotations from Johann Gotlieb Fichte, the godfather of our model of public schooling, whose theory was eagerly embraced by Prussian minister of education von Humboldt, whose approach was eagerly promoted by Horace Mann in this country:
“It is essential that from the very beginning the pupil should be continuously and completely under the influence of this education, and should be separated altogether from the community, and kept from all contact with it.”
Of course, it is not to be expected that all parents will be willing to be separated from their children, and to hand them over to this new education, a notion of which it will be difficult to convey to them. From past experience we must reckon that everyone who still believes he is able to support his children at home will set himself against public education, and especially against a public education that separates so strictly and lasts so long.
”Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished.”
So, the German homeschoolers were committing, essentially, treason: they were voting with their feet, so to speak, against the notion that their kids are raw materials for the creation of Fichte’s Third Stage of human development, in which every well-schooled child does exactly and only what the state wants him to do. For their own good, of course.
In World War II, we invaded Germany, destroyed their military, executed any of their leaders we could get our hands on – and left the school system intact, for the simple reason that it is *our* school system, too. Some of the laws the homeschoolers are being prosecuted under were put in place by He Who Shall Not Be Named.*
Germany is, as is so often the case in many areas, ahead of us in education. Here, there are still, if you can believe it, teachers and even some administrators who cling to the idea that their job is to educate children to be free, productive Americans, despite all the evidence in front of them. They think that the diametrical conflict between that goal and every established method, practice and structure of classroom education, the the petty bureaucracy, the bullying (the kids getting bullied is enabled by a culture in which the teachers themselves are bullied by their betters first), the disastrous outcomes for the kids, are a *mistake*. So, here in America, we see continued efforts to structure, to standardize, to centrally control teachers, so that fewer and fewer get through the filters who will try to actually educate kids (as opposed to training them to perform on command), and that the efforts of that dwindling population will bear ever less fruit as times goes on. Until we achieve the perfection that is Germany, and those who fail to eagerly hand their kids over to the government are seen as the traitors they are, and wiped from the face of the earth.
* (psst – Hitler)
Aside: I’ve heard second hand – from a German, no less – that these German homeschoolers really were Bad People who were damaging their children. Maybe – but I’ll believe that’s the true reason for this intervention when the troops start seizing children out of the classrooms of ‘under-performing’ schools for the same reason.