Earlier, I posted a link to an article out of
What does this mean when applied to the public schools? To answer this, we need to answer two questions: "What is the purpose of public education?" and "Does the outcome match this purpose?" Also of interest to the discussion might be who gets to determine the purpose of education in the first place. I offer here a brief synopsis of the historic purposes of public education and how this has shifted since the early 1900s, leaving parents and schools with differing purposes.
April 13, 1635, the Puritans established the
This purpose was reiterated in some of the colonies’ first laws. In 1642, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony became the first state in the history of the English speaking world to require its citizens be taught to read. Why?
Here the primary reason has shifted to the ability to read the history of our nation and appreciate the value of our free institutions, with a mention of the advantage of being able to read the scriptures for ourselves.
Today, the purpose of education falls more into John Dewey’s goals, outlined in School and Society (1916).
This spawns the ever popular question posed to homeschoolers, “What about socialization?” It has become the primary purpose of public education. Unfortunately, this has left the primary purpose most parents have for their children in education. Most parents are concerned that their children will grasp the fundamentals: reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and science. They worry about the practical abilities of college and career. Socialization may be a factor, and may be part of a reason they have decided to achieve these goals via public education rather than homeschool, but it is not the driving force behind their purpose in educating their child. The purposes of public education have left the purposes of its clientele.
So we see reports highlighting how our educational system is out of step with what parents want. But instead of addressing the issue and bringing the schools into line with the purposes of the parents of the children attending these schools, we strive to further educate parents into the social goals of education. And bring about legislation to make alternatives more difficult, including the increased regulation of homeschools and the banning of certain types of curriculum in private schools. We completely nationalize our public school system so that our central government mandates the education system in individual districts, a power that was never given to our central governemnt. The parents are silenced and their support of public education wanes. And those who question this are accused of forming blocks to undermine the efficacy of public schools.