Separation of school and state

Jeff Jacoby has the vision:

From issues of sexuality and religion to the broad themes of US history and politics, public opinion is fractured. Secular parents square off against believers, supporters of homosexual marriage against traditionalists, those stressing “safe sex” against those who emphasize abstinence. Each wants its views reflected in the classroom. No longer is there a common understanding of the mission of public education. To the extent that one camp’s vision prevails, parents in the opposing camp are embittered. And there is no prospect that this will change — not as long as the government remains in charge of educating American children.

Which is why it’s time to put an end to government control of the schools.

But why wait for the government to do your job for you? There’s next to nothing preventing most parents from pulling their kids out of the public schools today. The classroom approach is idiocy anyhow; when I coach soccer, it’s necessary to pull a maximum of four or five kids out from the rest if I want to teach them anything more complicated than “dribble around those cones”. The classroom suffices for basic drill and learning how to sit down and shut up, almost everything else requires work alone or one-on-one interaction.

Of course, the government has an inherent self-interest in instilling a willingness to sit down and shut up in the citizenry, that’s why totalitarians from Marx to Mao have believed in the nececessity for mandatory public schooling.