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School Critics: From
By David W. Kirkpatrick (February 14, 2008)
Senior Education Fellow
U.S. Freedom Foundation www.freedomfoundation.us
The public school system prevails despite continual and soundly based criticism from the beginning. Here are some examples:
"I have to thank my great-grandfather that I did not go to a public school, but had good masters at home, and learned to know that one ought to spend liberally on such things." Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.
"The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn. Cicero, p. 11, Selections from the Essays of Montaigne, NY: Appleton-Century, 1948
"If it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by the governor and council, the commissioners of the literary fund, or any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience." The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition, 1904, Volume 14, pages 420-421
"For years most critics of U.S. Education have suffered the curse of Cassandra - always to tell the truth, seldom to be listened to or believed. ... The schools are in terrible shape." The Ladies Home Journal, March 24, 1958
"Central authority is convenient to perform routine or ‘merely' administrative functions, when people have more important things to do ... But this too can be fateful, for administration soon encroaches on every function." Paul Goodman, "People or Personnel and Like a Conquered Province", NY: Vintage Books, 1968
"If kids in America do not go to school, they can be put in jail ... That is why the school cannot even learn anything about its students. As long as you threaten people, you can't tell whether or not they really want to do what you are proposing that they do ... All you can tell is, they'd rather come to your class than go to jail." Pp 97-98, James Herndon, How To Survive in Your Native Land, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1971.
"With one or two rare exceptions, I have never met a superintendent of schools who exhibited the slightest knowledge of what education was all about except getting more money for more equipment." Syndicated columnist Sydney Harris, p. 8, The Patriot, Harrisburg, PA, Oct. 11, 1976
"There's a tradition in education that, if you spend a dollar and it doesn't work, you should spend two dollars; and not only that, you should give those two dollars to the same person who couldn't do the job with only one." Frank Macchiarola, New York City Schools Chancellor, 1978-83
"Why is it that millions of children who are pushouts or dropouts amount to business as usual in the public schools, while one family educating a child at home becomes a major threat to universal public education and the survival of democracy?" --Stephen Arons, Compelling Belief, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Col, 1983, p. 88.
"(R)eviews by the Hewitt Research Foundation of more than 8,000 studies have failed to turn up any replicable research suggesting that normal children should be schooled before age 8 ... Except for highly specialized classical services, even handicapped children are best taught in their homes prior to the age of8 or 10." p. 63, Raymond S. Moore, "It Depends on Your Aim," pp 62-64, Phi Delta Kappan, Sept.. 1985
"Education is ... generally agreed upon as a continuing failure since 1782. It has been failing ever since then, to my knowledge ... I used to be Commissioner of Education and there wasn't a damned thing I could do with them." Address by Dr. Francis Keppel, Information Literacy and Education for the 21st Century, A Symposium in Leesburg, VA, April 14-16, 1989.
"Of the major social institutions in the Western democracies, only three are characterized by compulsion: prisons, the military and public schools." Denis P. Doyle, "Our one-size-fits-all public schools derive from a 19th century concept in need of updating," p. 22, The American School Board Journal, July 1989
"The nation in effect does not have a truly public school system in a large part of its communities; it has permitted what is in effect a private school system to develop under public auspices." Francis Keppel, 1977 U.S. Commissioner of Education, The Necessary Revolution in American Education, NY: Harper & Row, 1966, quoted, p. 80, Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities, NY: Crown Pub., 1991
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Copyright 2008 David W. Kirkpatrick
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