Coercively Funded Schools

I’ve been thinking about this for years, but this post of Kevin’s made something gel.

I say we should quit using the term “public school” and start using “coercively funded school”.  My wife is not a public school teacher, she is a coercively funded school teacher.  Why should we use their language when we have our own and ours is more to the point?  It is one thing to say you’re for public schools, or you’re for “Our Children” but it’s another to come right out and say you’re for coercive funding.

Now I would hope, and predict, that most (though not all) church leaders would eschew coercive funding of their church on the grounds that with government funding comes government control (actually, churches are already government subsidized, but that’s a matter for another post).

As I said in comments at Smallest Minority; the purpose of coercively funded schools is to promote coercive funding.  I.e. they’ll promote that which gave them life in the first place, and that which sustains them.  What would be the result, after all, if the coercive schools actively and consistently promoted the American principals of liberty?  They’d be working themselves into extinction of course.  “You’re right” the students would conclude, “freedom, the free market, would be far superior both morally and functionally, in every respect including education.”

No doubt about it; the American founders got it wrong.  Education should have been included with religion and the press in the first amendment, for exactly the same reasons.  As a result of that failure, our coercively funded schools have become indoctrination centers– socialist missions, if you will, churning out useful idiots if not impassioned believers.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why this was not predicted in the 1780s.

After all these years of entrenchment, what is the fix?  So many states have education funding in their constitutions, I believe it will have to come from the states.  Rex Rammell had a good plan for Idaho, but due to an incompetent campaign no one heard of it.  He acknowledged the state constitutional mandate, but would have chopped much of the top off of the coercive education infrastructure and budget.  It is currently extremely top heavy.  Other measures would have opened the doors to more private schools.

18 thoughts on “Coercively Funded Schools

  1. Agree with the concept, but the phrase needs work. “Coercively funded school” is certainly an accurate description, but doesn’t roll off the tongue well. Needs to be more buzzwordy so it’s easier to repeat in soundbites.

  2. Publius, Given the quality of most high school diplomas they are Education camps… Nothing made it in to the little darling’s heads in the first 12 years…

  3. The founders allowed coercive funding of churches in each individual state under the original Constitution, perhaps thinking that these governments would be close enough to the people to prevent some of the excesses. Whatever their reason for State level denominations, I would guess that a similar reason would be given for not foreseeing a danger in state schools.

    As for not including education in the First Amendment, I would guess that it was an oversight because they never thought that the feds would try to muck about with education before they attempted to abridge the freedoms of churches and the press which governments had done repeatedly. These governments had not tried to utilize education to make slaves as much as they had suppressed knowledge to keep the peasants ignorant and (they hoped) docile. The founders likely saw education as the enemy of tyrants rather than another possible tool.

  4. Tell me about it…I grade their quizzes, lab reports, and other assorted written work for a living. Many of them can neither write nor do basic math.

  5. The main reason was that the current tax-funded school model we use today was essentially founded by folks like John Dewey in the late 1800s – early 1900s. In the founders day, k-12 equivalent education was mostly via private tutors and various highly localized funding and administration sources. By highly localized, I mean not funded through what we’d think of as a tax, instituted by the government. If they had any idea how it would morph, grow, and metastasize, yes, I think they would add it to the first amendment similar to religion.

  6. Rolf has it right.

    “Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone is interdependent.”
    – John Dewey, the father of the modern education system

  7. For the life of me, I cannot understand why this was not predicted in the 1780s.

    Language and communication barriers. Rolf above is incorrect, our model was not founded by John Dewey and others in the late 19th century to the early 20th century. The model was founded by the King of Prussia in the 1760s and it was imported to our country a little over a century later by a man named Horace Mann. The founding fathers never could have imagined what was already happening in Prussia or what would happen here. What Dewey and the other progressives did was import the updated version of education and the welfare-warfare state that were created by Otto von Bismarck.

    For a general education on education in America, check out John Taylor Gatto’s book, “The Underground History of Education in the United States”. For a specific and even more damning book check out “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”. Both books are available online for free. I consider both of these books to be required reading for any concerned citizen.

  8. To Henry Acton’s comments, I would add that Gatto’s book pointed out that to the extent that Franklin, et al, knew about the Prussian system, they approved of it…but I, for one, am convinced that if they knew what it would lead to, they would have added education to the First Amendment as well.

    I think “coercively-funded schools” is too much of a mouth-full, too, though. How about “force-funded schools”?

    As someone who home-schools, I resent the fact that I pay (albeit indirectly, because I rent) for an anti-liberty school system–I especially resent the fact that I’m putting money into the system, while I’m paying directly the costs of my children’s educations!

  9. Alpheus (and all); You pay for coercive ed (how about that– it’s shorter) every time you buy anything. Furthermore, I don’t know about all states, but in Idaho there is a thing called a “homeowner’s exemption” on property tax. In short it means that any business property, whether it be your landlord’s or the local headshop, or the five and dime, pays double the property tax rate than a homeowner pays on his residence. There are several similar schemes involving utilities rates, but that property tax goes substantially to coercive ed. Last time I checked, in Latah County it was around half or more than half of all collections.

    Some people may not know this, but property tax is levied on business capital too, such as fixtures and equipment. If you rent business space you’re paying for the landlord’s double tax, plus you pay on your own equipment at that double rate. I’m paying property tax on this computer right now, and on the desk it sits on, and the chair I’m sitting in so the coercive shools can try to fill your kids’ heads with trash while they lobby to keep charter schools out of the area.

    We have a very long way to go.

  10. Yup. And a lot of minds to change. Pullman just had a vote on another school levy, which appears to have passed with almost 80% support (not mine!). I don’t own property, but I pay for it indirectly through rent, which I like to keep low.

  11. If only there were some way of distributing these taxes amongst those who voted for them, while leaving those who voted against them alone…

  12. You pay for coercive ed (how about that– it’s shorter)

    It is still a perversion of the word “education”. I prefer “indoctrination centers”.

  13. To Henry Acton’s comments, I would add that Gatto’s book pointed out that to the extent that Franklin, et al, knew about the Prussian system, they approved of it…

    I don’t believe they had any first hand knowledge of it. Every hare brained method employed in the schools sounds great if you hear a superficial and favorably biased explanation and if you don’t have any real knowledge or understanding of it.

  14. In my experience phrases like “coersively funded schools” will just get you a “you’re crazy” look; most people, especially full-on statists don’t see taxes as coersive in the first place. I use the term “government schools”. It is understandable by the statists and it seems to make more sense to people n general. It also plants the seed of a connection between the “failing schools” and “government” in their head.

  15. As Tam put it recently, “public” modifies “schools” the same way it does “bathrooms” and “transportation,” denoting substandard product occupied by druggies and gang members.

  16. “…most people, especially full-on statists don’t see taxes as coersive in the first place.”
    That is exactly why we should use the “C word” more often. If the naked truth means I’m crazy, then paint me crazy, please.

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