The idea of a state school educating children is inimical to the idea of democracy. At the base is a conflict of interest between a government’s natural inclination to control or manage the citizens, and the democratic idea that citizens should control the government. The sphere of government is rooted in power and physical force, whereas education is in the cultural sphere, which is rooted in knowledge and love. When a state educates with power, the result is indoctrination. Whereas culture has the ability to teach the science of governance and equip its citizens to rule the government.
The founders of the United States recognized this principle. Ben Franklin is quoted as saying, “We gave you a republic if you can keep it.”1https://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/historical-documents/perspectives-on-the-constitution-a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it President Thomas Jefferson argued that “a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth.”2https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-12-02-0454 President John Adams stated that “our democracy is only for a moral and religious people,”3https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-3102 indicating that the cultural sphere had to hold the government in check. George Washington advocated training all youth in the science of government.4https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/presidential-speeches/december-7-1796-eighth-annual-message-congress
Early Americans Taught Citizenship
Many early Americans understood the need to educate citizens in democratic governance. They had either experienced government tyranny in the colonies or later fled government tyrannies in other countries. In one-room schoolhouses run by local communities, students learned the Constitution, the way the American government was set up, and George Washington’s analysis of its strengths and weaknesses in his Farewell Address. In this address he warned
it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.5 https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=15&page=transcript
The community and religious schools that trained several generations of strong, innovative, and democratic citizens, and the 4-H clubs, Boy Scouts, and other cultural organizations that reinforced democratic values were gradually supplanted by state schools and value relativism in higher education. This transformation can be associated with the transfer of school funding to states, and the transformation of universities through government grants, student loans, and other financial mechanisms.
State Schools are Hijacked and Oppose Citizenship
Today these schools do not teach citizenship but promote activism against it by focusing on critical race theory, “wokism,” and loose sexual morality. This leaves an increasing number of school graduates unable to become self-sufficient or capable citizens. They are ripe material for serfdom to a society whose government is run by special interests happy to exploit these citizens for their own purposes.
Many people consider this situation to be part of a communist plot. Others consider it to be a plot by big banks or corporatocracy. Undoubtedly, these are the type of forces, both foreign and domestic, that George Washington warned about. There are many individuals and groups, foreign and domestic, that have their eye both on US federal coffers and the private wealth of US citizens. Today’s laws and government orders do not come from the citizens, but from the monied interests that would buy that government for themselves. This is the reality of the political and economic spheres suppressing the cultural sphere and the search for truth, knowledge, and a government that allows citizens to succeed and prosper.
The highjacking of America’s schools was gradual, with states originally just adding a little subsidy to self-funded local school districts supervised by parents wanting the children to succeed. As state funding increased, citizens were initially happy to turn their children over to state-funded public schools. But this put a burden on private schools, and over the years, state teacher’s unions and government bureaucrats began shaping the curriculum. “No child left behind,” the slogan of George W. Bush, eventually turned into “no child able to succeed.” And today, we see Critical Race Theory, LGBTQ theories, and other movements identity politics movements, using government schools to gain control of children and direct them toward their own ends. Only the wealthiest parents can afford private schools where their own children can learn to succeed.
Vouchers Could Enable the Cultural Sphere to Guide Education
The fundamental problem with the current educational system is a government monopoly, combined with a hijacking of the government by special interests. State-supported public schools are not fundamentally interested in raising children to be successful individuals with healthy families, but loyal followers of those who control government spending. This means that the government sphere dominates the cultural sphere of society, the inverse of democracy.
While early Americans paid for the education of their own children or cooperated with their neighbors to build local schools, wealthier communities were able to create schools that provided children with more opportunities for success than poor communities, where the chance to children turning to a life of crime was higher. To solve this problem school vouchers have been proposed that would redirect state-funding for schools to parents rather than teacher’s unions and other interest groups that have hijacked public education.
School vouchers could provide greater equality of opportunity for poor children by allowing parents to send their children to private schools of their choice. They would also eliminate the viruses that have crept into the state schools and hijacked them. By states redirecting funds from the economic sector to schools rooted in culture, parents would be allowed to send their children to schools where they could become good citizens and learn the values of self-sufficiency necessary for a large middle class and for democracy to function.
This proposal for school vouchers is suited to an integral society in which the cultural, economic, and government sectors all play an integral role in the education of children. Neither the economic sector nor the government sector should control education through a monopoly on funding or legal power. Knowledge and love are aspects of the cultural sphere, and they should be more fundamental to the education of children than money or power, which lead to serfdom and slavery.