To educate, or to socialize?
This, I believe, originally came from The Link Homeschool Newsletter and is by John Taylor Gatto (I made a couple minor corrections to the text):
1) An educated person writes his own script through life, he is not a character in a government or corporate play, nor does he mouth the words of any intellectual’s Utopian fantasy. Education and intelligence aren’t the same things. The educated person is self-determined to a large degree.

2) Time doesn’t hang heavily on an educated person’s hands. She can be alone, productively, seldom at a loss for what to do with time.

3) An educated person possesses a blueprint of personal value, a unique philosophy which tends toward the absolute, not one plastically relative, altering to suit present circumstances. An educated person knows who he is, what he will tolerate, where to find peace. Yet at the same time, an educated person is aware of and respects community values.

4) An educated person knows her rights and knows how to defend those rights.

5) An educated person knows the ways of the human heart so well he’s tough to cheat or fool.

6) An educated person possesses useful knowledge. She can ride, hunt, sail a boat, build a house, grow food, etc.

7) An educated person understands the dynamics of relationships, partially from experience, partially from being well-read in great literature; as a consequence he can form healthy relationships wherever he is.

8) An educated person understands and accepts her own mortality; she understands that without death and aging, nothing would have any meaning. An educated person learns from all her ages, even from the last hours of her life.

9) An educated person can discover truth for himself; he has intense awareness of the profound significance of being (as distinguished from doing), and the utter importance of being here and now.

10) An educated person can figure out how to be useful.

11) An educated person has the capacity to create: New things, new experiences, new ideas.

12) Education is built around ten cores: They metaphysical reality, the historical reality, the personal reality, the physical world within reach, the physical world outside personal awareness, the possibilities of association, an understanding of vocation, homemaking, the challenges of adulthood, the challenges of loss, aging and death.

via Extreme Wisdom

I would say that our public school, and particularly in so far as it realizes Horace Mann's dream of the "common school" is an impediment to building a truly educated person. The system is designed to push all students toward the middle, toward common ground. It isn't really about academics, and certainly not about developing the individual. Consider also this dissenting opinion by Justice Resnick in an Ohio case regarding the establishment of charter schools (quoting authors Molly O'Brien and Amanda Woodrum):

For the framers of the Ohio Constitution’s education clauses, the only education worthy of public support was a ‘common’ education, not in the sense that it was provided for the common folks, but in the sense that it would bring diverse people together. They chose the common school concept to promote social harmony, create a sense of national identity, and develop affinity. Moreover, in choosing to mandate the creation of a system of common schools, the constitutional framers rejected the idea of simply subsidizing the existing diverse, parent-initiated and tuition-based schooling arrangements in favor of creating state organization and oversight. They viewed the diversity of the existing arrangements as an impediment to educational progress. The constitutional framers rejected the proliferation of diverse schools in favor of a single system.

Again, my favorite goal of education...socialization. But a well-socialized child is not a well-educated child. On the contrary, he is a child who belongs to the state.

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