In the United States compulsory education laws require children to be educated between certain ages; typically beginning that education before the age of six and remaining enrolled until at least 16. Parents have options available to them to obtain that education for their children, most often through a public or state-accredited private school or, as has become increasingly more common, homeschooling. No matter what method of education a parent chooses, education is funded through taxation, even of those who have no children in the school system. It is a socialist education system of sorts. The appropriation, distribution and efficacy of those collected tax funds is at best questionable considering the performance of American students and how they compare globally.
It can be argued that these compulsory education laws are antiquated as they were enacted originally to primarily improve literacy rates but secondly to discourage the widespread child labor practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries. During these two centuries, and presently in the twenty-first century, the former variable of illiteracy has been reduced to less than 14% of the U.S. population, and when adjusted for socioeconomic factors, that illiteracy number is nearly zero percent in the U.S. With a parent population that is adequately literate, children can easily be taught to read through homeschooling methods. And regarding the latter, labor laws have evolved exponentially thereby eliminating the latter necessity for the compulsory education law enactment to squelch child labor violations or abuses.
These facts raise the queries of what function does a public education system have for modern America and what beneficial impacts could a reformation of the system, and abolition of the compulsory education laws, offer to the people of this country?
The United States lags behind many countries in primary education test scores, achievements and scholastic aptitudes yet we spend more money that those comparative countries on education. Why do we pour so much more money into a demonstrative underperforming system? At times it would appear that true education is neglected in order to just pad numbers, increase test scores or suggest improved performance – as a mask to continue to receive federal of state taxpayer funds and disguise the actual results of the education system. Or, from a more sinister yet plausible perspective, real education is intentionally altered or retarded to systematically mold the cognitive abilities of generations of citizens, dull our intelligence and discourage critical thinking. Philosophy and classic literature is excluded from primary education. Music and art programs – two valuable intelligence developing courses of study – are reduced, thwarted or plainly removed by budget cuts.
Strangely, sports budgets are often amply funded. New stadiums, weight rooms, lighting for fields, artificial turf on fields, etc. are often constructed to support athletic programs, primarily at the high school level. How is this appropriation of funding beneficial to the education of a student? Could this perhaps be a component of the systematic dumbing down of the masses referred to earlier? After all, children that have had an education which had heavy emphasis on athletics and sufficiently aesthetic and functional facilities may in fact be channelized into an adulthood of collegiate and professional sports fanaticism and obsession. That in fact could be used to distract the citizenry from more important matters of the mind.
Perhaps we could benefit more from a shift in the budget appropriations; slashed sports budgets and increased technology, art, philosophy, or music budgets. Or maybe we could socially benefit by homeschooling our children in which we could introduce these provocative areas of study so our children will thrive intellectually beyond anything a public school education, by compulsory education law mandate, can produce meanwhile reducing tax burdens on a social government program (i.e. public education) that isn’t currently getting a passing grade.