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RIP, Public Schools

Updated on December 30, 2017

Too Much Government has Ruined Public Schools

First, let me ask that the term "public schools" be retired in favor of a more accurate term: government-controlled schools. Unlike public parks, which people are free to use at their discretion, "public" schools operate through coercion. Imagine being told which public park you could use or being required to be located in the park for a specified number of hours weekly while government officials recorded your attendance. Furthermore, while a public library has librarians bound by professional standards to respect all viewpoints, "public" schools can be manipulated by political interests to promote certain viewpoints (United Nations, global warming, socialism) and denigrate others ( pro-life, patriotic, evangelical Christian, constitutionally-limited government.)

While the public is welcome to participate in endless fundraisers and help proctor end-of-year testing, parents are excluded from the educationally significant decisions. Curriculum and textbooks are determined by bureaucrats. This is not "public" in the sense that the public has a real voice in what really matters. Parents have very little influence if they choose the public option, unless they wish to uproot their family and move to a better school district--which will only be better until some bureaucrat finds out about it and pulls it back down to be equal with all the others.

Now let me state that I am absolutely in favor of education. It is possible to be pro-education while opposing government-controlled schools. The government has had generations to prove it can educate the populace and it has failed in the academic rigor department. Yes, education is essential; so are groceries. Private grocery stores do an excellent job of providing food and private schools do an excellent job providing academic instruction. According to Jay P. Greene (p. 155) school voucher programs, which enable students to attend private schools, give results that are as good or better than government-controlled schools "…with happier parents, for about half the cost. If similar results were produced for…fighting cancer…we might expect reporters and analysts to be elated about such promise."

Finally, many will insist that we must fix government-controlled schools because we cannot live without them. The problems of these schools are systemic. Generations of bandages have failed to effect healing. No Child Left Behind, expanding mandatory school ages, zero-tolerance policies (how dare you carry a butter knife in your lunchbox or take a Tylenol for your headache) and other endless rules and policies have made schools little more than prisons. Like a building extensively damaged by wind or floods, government-controlled schools need to be demolished. New schools must be built by private enterprises and groups of parents and teachers that are devoted to maximizing educational outcomes and minimizing overhead (non-educational) costs. It is time to stop pretending that "public" education is about the children; It's about the politics and the money and preserving the status quo.


Greene, J.P. (2005). Education Myths . Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Challenge Educational Assumptions

News Flashes: The Bad, the Ugly and the Awful

Here are examples of government-controlled schools in action.

What happens when the feds get involved in testing: Parents must prove child in hospice care in morphine coma can't take standardized test. Is there no decency?

A military veteran mom is disrespected by her child's high school because the principal is "scared" of moms with concealed carry permits--even veterans!

Girl punished by school for helping a friend avoid harm. She kept a drunk driver off the road and her school punished her.

Ignorant teacher tells child she can't write about God/Jesus. I guess the first amendment isn't part of the standard teacher education curriculum?

Kindergartener interrogated over cap gun. Suspended 10 days. Can somebody say, "overkill?"

Student suffers asthma attack and is denied any care or comfort. So-called school nurse leaves kid to suffer. Thankfully, he survived despite the school.

Screaming NC teacher does not understand the first amendment.


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