Government Control of Education is Dangerous

Government Control of Education is Dangerous


Are Learning and Education the same? Does a child learn better in a Natural Environment or in a Public Institution? 
What are the implications of Public Education, HomeSchooling, Community Learning and other forms of Intellectual Development?
This will be updated soon. But in the meantime, take a look at how people feel about this statement. 
Chase Andre
Homeschooling worked for me.


Boston Paul

Homeschooling seems to be working for many.

Public Education VS Community Learning.

Your Thoughts?

Dianna Anderson
Being a teacher and a lifelong public school student (getting my bias out here quickly), I have to ask what your definition of “government control” would be.
Michael T. Lane
homeschooling….ideally I would be for it, but I actually teach private lessons to a brother and sister who have home-schooled their whole lives. Dad’s a professor and all the reasons for the choice are what you usually hear.

All I can say is smart kids when it comes to books. But never have I met a more socially inept pair. Group schooling may have its downfalls, but learning to be a member of social groups, conflict resolution….some things can’t be quantified on paper. Perhaps these two kids are just weird, but they are my only face to face example of the process and given the example, I’d never do it to my son. I would rather monitor his education and point out what things should be considered and not ingested blindly over the social isolation of private homeschooling.

Chase Andre
From middle school on, I was homeschooled (elementary school was done in “Private Education”).

You hit the nail on the head, Paul. Homeschooling, though often evoking a horrific mental image of awkward children clad in homespun floral garb, was precisely “Community Learning.”

In that community, parents who were particularly capable of handling a tough subject (Physics, Latin, etc) would step up and tutor in that subject for a class of homeschoolers. The community relied on each other and on active involvement.

Also, seeing that everything was done in family groups, as a youth I was constantly exposed to people outside my social norm. When I was with my friends, I was often with younger siblings and older siblings, and even parents/adults. I had to learn to conduct myself in each of these situations rather than the Public School Method of segregating groups by age. This keeps you isolated to one primary social circle, which, as we know, just isn’t how the real world works.

Lastly, I was not confined to standardized curriculum. Except for days that I had classes with other homeschoolers, I started my work when I wanted (typically 9am daily), and I was done when I was done (whether that be 3 hours later or 7 hours later). I sculpted my High School Curriculum to fit my interests and emphasized what I wanted to learn, even when it was a bit out of the box from standardized learning. Often, my learning was done outside the “classroom” and out in experiences with my group of homeschoolers. This made the learning tangible. Something that more often than not, simply can’t happen in Public Education.

All in all, I’m a fan of homeschooling. If I could go back, I wouldn’t consider Public School for a second.

Chase Andre
for the record, I wrote my response without seeing Michael’s comment.

Michael, sad to say, that’s not completely uncommon. I know a fair amount of socially awkward (/inept entirely) homeschoolers.

Personally, I feel that’s more on the fault of the parents than it is the kids. From my experience, the parents who homeschool and function well socially produce kids that were homeschooled and function well socially.

It could be argued that there are a fair amount of socially inept people in the public school system. But I’ll freely admit the percentage runs higher in the Homeschooling camp.

…I’m only a tad socially awkward. I think I came out alright…

Craig Ferguson
Public education generally works fine in most developed nations. For some reason it doesn’t in the US. Why? Public education does not = govt control. In Australia (where I’m from) you’re probably more likely to come across the “establishment” views and ideals more in a private school than a public school.
Boston Paul
If a country has a Board/Ministry of Education that determines/approves/establishes the Curriculum, it is Government Controlled or at the very least Heavily Influenced by the Government.

Craig, indeed, Public education does work fine. It runs smoothly.

It is a fine Oiled Machine.

Machines are not organic however.

Machines have a predetermined function. Put a monkey wrench in the machine and it breaks down.

I also make no distinction between private/public education if it answers to a Government Entity.

Technically, Community Learning and Homeschooling can be classed as Private.

I do see a difference in Home Schooling and Community Learning as well, though there are gray areas, overlapping and parallels.

Your Thoughts?

Jeffree Pike
I think not having public schools is more dangerous…that is what right-wingers want like vouchers to pay for their private religious schools….I teach at a public school where elementary kids learn Chinese, Taiwanese,English & other subjects including music….I do disagree how they segregate kids at an early age here…(once in 5th grade one class is the ‘soccer’ kids who play soccer about 2 hrs a day while the ‘brains’ are constantly studying)
Jeffree Pike
On agreement I will share that my understanding is that all kids in Taiwan are now being vaccinated w the H1N1 ‘vaccine’…I’m told some kids were vomiting after the injections…
Craig Ferguson
I’m not really sure that society changes fast enough to worry about curriculum, which is evaluated and updated annually if necessary.
Dianna Anderson
Craig said precisely what I was thinking. When I think of Government Control of Ed, I think of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ or ‘1984’ by George Orwell. In extreme cases such as that, yes, it is dangerous.

But, BP, now that you’ve posted your definition, I think I have to disagree with you. By that reasoning, any organization controlled by a higher authority of sorts is dangerous. Logically concluded, that means the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, any sort of government institution, not merely limited to education but anything involved in public discourse – heck, the TSA, the EPA or, heck, PETA – is dangerous. As you already know, I’m less inclined to be so automatically distrustful of such higher authority, especially if I have seen it function well in my own life.

Now, in specifically tying this down to education, “government approved curriculum” sounds terrifying, but, really, it just means that the education is standardized to make sure that the students are being given basic skills they need to become contributing members to society – meaning, able to function on their own, able to think critically for themselves, able to contribute – if not to the academic sphere – but to the ongoing discourse that characterizes humanity. That is the goal of any sort of education, public (gov’t approved) or no (homeschool). Standardizing education gives universities and employers a reasonable expectation for what comes with a prospective employee or student. If you have a high school diploma, one could reasonably assume that you know how to put a sentence together – most of the time.

Being the product of a public education system, I won’t say that it doesn’t have it’s flaws, but I can’t buy that just because it’s a government curriculum that it’s dangerous. And after teaching for the first time in an environment (a private university) this year, I also have to disagree with (and somewhat resent) your implication that teachers and students simply become cogs in the machine and it prevents learning from being “organic.” Whether or not the learning is organic does not depend on the gov’t control or lack thereof on the curriculum – it depends on the ability of the teacher to create an active learning environment, to encourage their students to think critically. I’m anything but a cog in the machine, and I resent the implication as such.

John Uys
Gov control of anything is dangerous.
John Uys
How do they govern them selves?
Dianna Anderson
Pronouns, John? Who’s they and themselves?
John Uys
you must work for them…..
Michael Turton
Undemocratic government control of anything is dangerous. Accountable government control of most things is merely exasperating and often inefficient, but it is seldom dangerous.
Michael T. Lane
I don’t understand this knee-jerk reaction against all things organized or monitored by the government. Most of these controls were installed in Western countries as a specific reaction to the failures of “community based” regulation…read a novel like The Jungle by Upton Sinclair for an example. You think people/groups/companies are going to regulate themselves? The historical record resoundingly says no.

In the realm of education, what that would mean, if the individual community held total sway over all aspects of its children’s education, is that children are victims of the circumstances in which they were born. Religious kids would get only religious education, bent to fit a preconceived world view with active omission of contrary facts. Racist communities would decide to interpret everything through a racist prism. Kids, being little and without say, would have to take it if their parents said so. This was how it was for most of history and the very reason that measures were taken. Technological advancement has rendered that world obsolete. It wasn’t a world of rosy sunshine and rampant free-thinking. It was a world where on community educated its kids to hate the community on the other side of the river. Sorry to be pessimistic, but history leans far more to this side that to the one posited by the utopian community model.

In the end, someone is always controlling what kids learn. The government may be a faceless entity that at times is actively instilling propoganda, but the same could be said for any community based system. It’s just what the goal and how large the scope of the propoganda.

Boston Paul
I am enjoying the discourse. I must take a bit of leave, but I do want to leave with my thought. I will be back later today.

I believe Governments should have no Authority over Learning.

The Student/Teacher relationship is a sacred one. It is organic, mutually exclusive and should be pure Dao.

The work of giving/sharing Knowledge should be in the Hands of (Wo)Men of Wisdom.

I think we can all agree that a Government Entity clearly is not this.

Public Education is at the mercy of the government.

The Government will authorize what can/cannot be taught in its schools. Thus, students will be given a bias education depending on the Nature of said government. If the government is Fascist, Communist, Capitalist, etc., that is what the students learn or are heavily influenced by.

I have been a teacher in and out of various Institutions.

This Thread is not about teachers per-se, it is about the system. I know excellent teachers from all walks. Some excellent despite the system; regardless, their hands are tied. They are not free, but bound in the system. I have seen teachers fired for not adhering to the status quo.

Dianna, thank you for your thoughtful post.

Mike L. just saw yours.

I will address both in detail asap.

Will be back tonight Taiwan Time.

Peace and Love

Blaine Whiteley
I think Mike L and Dianna have hit the nail on the head, though I’d like to point out that they are talking about a national ‘core’ syllabus which still leaves room for other community based interests to be taught.

Paul I feel you’re talking about teaching methodolgy more than educational control when you mention the Tao. Good teachers always end up ‘dancing’ with their students.

Maybe we should be addressing Declarative Knowledge (Book knowledge) Vs Procedural Knowledge (Apprenticeships etal)

Dianna Anderson
BP – I look forward to that post, but I’d like to throw something else out there before you do, just to chew on.

I think you’re abstracting “government” far too much. When you discuss the “government entity,” I get this cartoonish image in my head of this big, autonomous hungry machine (painted bright red, for some reason) devouring up little screaming teachers and pupils, and honestly, that’s an incorrect image of the educational system. I have to agree with Mike L on this one in that the knee jerk reaction against anything governmental simply doesn’t make sense here. As he pointed out, there’s really no way to get some sort of unbiased education. I think both your abstraction of the government entity and idealization of the “Dao” that exists between teachers and students is far too abstract to be of any real use in setting a way to go about teaching for the people.

Working within a concrete form – i.e., the real world, public education with a government sanctioned curriculum is yes, far from perfect, but hardly an instrument of evil government control. Like any “system,” it *can* be dangerous (as you rightly point out with fascist and whatever programs), but to outright declare that it *is* dangerous merely because it is a system is, frankly, presumptuous and judgmental.

And I say this as the product of 12 years of public school education, in the midst of completing 6 years of private higher education, and as the daughter of two life long public school teachers. I certainly didn’t turn out as a cog in the machine, did I? Heck, if I just absorbed everything I was “taught,” I’d be a mess of conservatism mixed with odd liberal stripes. I think Mike L is right on the money in that what you’re imagining – education free from government control, this perfect Dao – only exists in a utopian world, which we, clearly, don’t have.

Sorry if that was harsh. Education’s an issue close to my heart.

Tobie Openshaw
I agree … depending on the good graces of every individual teacher to somehow impart the good stuff and not the bad stuff is perhaps expecting a little much. I’ve certainly met enough whackjob individuals who call themselves teachers to be happy that they’re working according to some kind of plan.
Daniel Ship
I run a school in India for street kids. The gov’t here doesn’t do a very good job of educating the masses — in fact, millions are still illiterate — but there is practically no one else to do it. I think if you are lucky enough to be in a position to home school your kids well, that’s fantastic. But I don’t think the majority of people are in that position in any country — and those who are should still have some common basis for the curriculum.
Also, you get lots of freaks teaching all sorts of things to kids, like James Keegstra in Canada teaching that the holocaust never happened, etc. If there is no central control, there will be lots more crazies teaching wrong ideas to kids. Even if some of the so-called crazies are actually enlightened beings doing a far better job than the norm, there needs to be some universal standard to regulate what kids are learning.
Education is perhaps the most important unifying force. When all the kids are being taught the same thing, they become the same. This can be and is being used and also abused, but I think it’s undeniable that in the modern, globalizing age we live in, we have to become more unified in our thinking or there will be more violence and destruction. So standardized education is good in that sense. It’s just necessary to make sure that the people actively participate in determining the nature of the education. One plus is, the more educated people are, the more capable they are of this kind of participation.
So in a nutshell, my opinion is: Gov’t Control of education is essential, but the gov’t has to be controlled by the people.
Jason Grenier
All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall

Leanie Wessels
I have to agree with Craig F. It seems that public schooling doesn’t work well in America. Home schooling can be great but I think there are somethings that our parents can’t teach us especially in the social sector. Education is not only about academic stuff. Kids acquire social skills too. What makes public schooling such a daunting idea is perhaps maybe not enough emphasis on individual needs and that in some cases maybe only one point of view is taught. Public schooling may have a way of enforcing issues.There’s a whole book on this where they talk about the differences in education in the west and east ( 4 got title). But at the end of the day I have to agree with Diane on the role of the teacher. It depends also on the teacher and how they teach it . It is the teacher who can make the difference too, irrespective of whether it is a public or private school. Where I grew up some of the public schools functioned better than the private ones and this was largely in my opinion the teachers who made the difference.
William Walsh
So is a lack of Education…..
Artsees Diner
You want to know what is more scarey than government run education (it is in the united states you know)? Education run by publishing companies! I seriously think there is a scam, a rip off that would make Bernie Madoff look innocent in this country. Doesn’t anyone think it is kind of funny that the same companies that make the certification tests for teachers, the standardized tests for students, the ones that report the results to the government are the same ones that are making millions off of interventions and publications. They are the same ones running all the major job searches, the same ones whose primary funders are universities? Talk about climategate, some one look into the schoolyard gate. Tell me what you see. Come on seriously, children’s test scores have not gone up more than 3% points since testing began in the mid-70’s?
Boston Paul

I have a lot of thinking and writing to do.

This might take a while.

Artsees Diner
Boston Paul, you sure get us talking!

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  1. I have been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or blog posts in this kind
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  2. Not to bitch, but that’s what I’m good at and I’m in a bitchier than usual mood today…(apologies in advance)

    I’d rather see you flush out your thoughts more in the space provided than provide space for other people to give their thoughts, many of which deserve to be flushed. (more so the military forum postings)

    It’s your website, dude. You’re the main attraction. Stand up on your soapbox, spout off and let the website’s audience bark at you or each other in the designated comment section. It’s perfectly fine to re-post stuff you’ve written elsewhere, but you don’t share top billing with comments from…er…wherever they’re coming from. It’s kind of like “News” networks filling airtime by reading Twitter messages on air. It waters down the content, gives the comments more validity than they deserve and it isolates posters from each other. There’s a few posters in those forums I want to shit on, but if they can’t see me shit on them, what’s the point?

    OK enough of that. Back to education…

    I really need you to explain the concept of Community Learning because I have no fucking idea what that really means. Aren’t public schools…public…and…in the community? Is this some kind of hippie commune thing? Is it a private school under another name? Charter school? (not really too sure what they are either) Educate me mountain dwelling wise-man.

    Other than the mediocrity, the boredom, the irrelevancy and the overarching notion of conformity …what exactly is wrong with public schools?

    As for home schooling, just the very words conjure up a collection of Neo-Nazi’s, religious zealots, drugged up hippies and control freak parents who want to brainwash their kids to think exactly the same way they do…and dorks and retards who would be mercilessly destroyed if left alone among the general population…Oh yeah, and the kids that have been expelled from everywhere else.

    • Thank you for the Sentiment bro. With you in Mind, I dusted off the Soap Box and brought this out:

      That being said, this is a Community Forum (I hope) and the Discussions I feel are important. I am writing (and will write) a few essays concerning the Discussions you have seen.

      On another note, I wrote a reply to one of your posts and one of Little John’s and it got sucked into the “Goodbye Forever Void” … as soon as I pull the Internet “I just Cyber-f*cked you dickhead” Log out of my Colon, I will respond again.


      • Yeah, I’m having one of those “goodbye forever void” moments at Cousinavi’s. His site keeps rejecting this one particular comment. I can post other comments right in the same topic, but it just won’t let me post that one specific comment for some reason.

        Anyway, my compla-er- “constructive criticism” about comments was only about putting other folks comments from other discussions inside your story’s text itself. It can be made to work in a one-on-one, sports highlight reel kind of way, but a group chat in it’s entirety (especially in the same font)can get pretty confusing. If people are directing comments at the comments in the main text you get…uh…See I’m confused already.

        I got it! Reading a blog posting of a blog discussion is like watching a TV show of a guy watching a TV show and hearing his comments without being able to respond beyond talking to your own TV.

        Anyway, I still want to know more about this Community Learnin’ thing and why Guv’ment Edumacation is so bad.

        I look forward to seeing that story/stories.

  3. Mary –

    I think there needs to be a difference between testing and education defined here. Education is a means of making better citizens, more well-informed and able to think critically not only about their own lives, but about the lives of those around them. Testing, on the other hand, is merely a way of measuring a knowledge base and facts.

    Just because the American system may fail at testing, in a system where the tests themselves are flawed, and not taken seriously by most students (I’m referring to specifically the NCLB tests in this case), does not mean it’s a failure in all respects. You are considering it a failure based on one aspect when, as this discussion has already acknowledged, education has a multiplicity of factors and things that come into it. I’m a great test taker, but that’s not a true measure of anything but my ability to think quickly on my feet. I have students in my classes who are terribly at taking tests, but they are by no means poor students. Your criteria are far too narrow.

    And if governmental control was the reason for such failure, why, why why do countries that have more governmental control over their education do better than us by your measuring stick? I’m thinking specifically of China, of Germany, of Japan. All have more extensive government control than ours, all do better on general subject (i.e., math, science, geography, etc) tests than America. At what point does failure mandate further control? Clearly there is no one equation for this.

    I agree with cousinavi on this one – government is far too nebulous a term here, and being a product of the public education system, I think it’s a ridiculous idea to write off public education simply because it has government control. Every system has its problems, and just because something comes from the government doesn’t mean it’s bad.

    And BP, I *still* want clarification of your position. I don’t know what you’re talking about when you discuss “the dao” between teacher and student and what system you would put up as an alternative. It doesn’t do any good to say that something’s bad in the status quo without proposing an alternative.

    • You need to reread my prior posts. There is a double edge sword here. There was nothing wrong with education in the past. The United States produced more scientist, thinkers, innovators, creators, inventors during the period between 1955 and 1980 than anyone clearly realizes. The inception of mandatory testing, Federal Government involvement by way of Title 1, and yes, a bigger hand in education has made it impossible to truly teach. NCLB had some degree of merit, unfortunately, instead of getting the HELL out of education, and putting into practice an understanding of holistic education, they became control mongers as they always do. Federal Government’s role initially was to make sure that every child had a balanced, fair and equitable right to learn how to read, write and compute, along with a clear and focused understanding of citizenry. Now they are mandating, dictating, and manipulating data in order to control the masses. Yes, control the masses. Whenever anyone clearly dictates not whether someone can read,. but what they are to read it is manipulation. When they go so far as to say who would be the best teachers and who should stay and who should go, then they are indeed manipulating what they believe the outcome should be, and what it should look like.
      Clearly, public education is necessary, as far too many people would not invest in their children’s education as is witnessed already in this country. I cannot tell you how many times I see children failed, not academically by our school systems, but by the “cultural” breakdown in their homes, communities. A wise person once said, “yes, today teachers are not just teachers, they are also called upon to be parents, I feel your frustration.” To which I replied, “then damn it, get the hell out of my way and let me be the Momma, cause there is absolutely no way that I would let my child behave like many do, nor would I let them fail as a result of their behavior! I raised 3 successful daughters all with college educations, all with high moral, ethical standards, and empathy…on very little, except I was their first teacher, and they started school with a sound understanding of what the purpose of school was!” The government cannot mandate morality, ethics, or a sound balanced education. They can merely be PC, and hand out the subsities, of which always have conditions.

      Good night!

      oh and to BP’s commentary on student teacher relationships…I have been passed up on jobs before because I spoke to the understanding of the importance of relationships. (A student must trust you before you can teach him or her to read (Dick and Jane reader 1938 forward addresses this to the new and inexperienced educator)This was the follow up to a question about how would I be able to teacher a child who is of a different ethnic origin than myself.

      I think it is very important to understand that in the United States for example there are some exemplary schools. Lake County Illinois for example has the Taj Mahal for schools, while the schools in central to southern Illinois in some cases still have steam heat radiators and the children eat in the gym, all the while the teachers scramble for chalk. Teaching is an art form, Government has a tendency to destroy the creativity in its people.

      Okay, now I am done…

  4. BP, and most directly Dianna;

    I am quite certain that government run education is a potential for disaster. Seriously, in the United States it is compulsory. That means that the government is mandating that you as a parent must educate your child. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting an educated society. Much of the reason for an educated society is for the voting privelege that comes with that. Now, as far as the a government telling you what a child needs to know, well now that is rather Orwellian. For those of you who were born after 1980, you would have no idea of what education looked like prior to your entry into public education. Well, my dear friends, the social agenda is indeed woven into the curriculum. Ever hear of a bull frog in boiling water theory? Currently we have seen a declination or rather a stagnation in achievement. Since the inception of testing in 1976, tests scores have only gained an approx. 3%. All the best practices in the world, FastForWard reading programs at ($30,000 per 60 students) for example have proven to be ineffective. While publishing companies, and governments are making money off of our children’s failures, not successes, (if our kids were learning basic skills, there would be no need for huge NCLB interventions, increased taxing, and massive increase in profits of higher ed, or publishers now would there) but failures.
    Explain to me why, if we are all doing a good job under the governmental umbrella, why do private schools prevail, why do homeschool children prevail, why do public school fail?
    In truth, governmental justification for control is based on failure. The greater the failure the greater the cause for control.

    I truly believe before anyone defends the idea of “governmental control” they need to take a deep look into how much control the government currently has, and how much it will increase in the next 3 years. It is a reality that must be understood. For every public school teacher currently employed in the USA, they need to be very much aware of the truth, what is at stake if they accept federal funding. Unless of course they are in an “approved program.”

  5. The Student/Teacher relationship is a sacred one. It is organic, mutually exclusive and should be pure Dao.

    Vapid, pie in the sky crap. Whaddya want? Every knowledge seeking individual to scale the mountain, find the infinitely wise, cave-dwelling hermit and soak up pristine truth at the foot of the Master?
    Humans are social animals. We live together, farm together, hunt together, laugh together, talk together…we will be educated together. The question then becomes what shall we teach one another?
    Shall we grant equal voice to ALL perspectives, or shall we apply some sort of filter to distinguish between propositions? Some demand that we teach creationism, others evolution. Personally, I have no problem setting a standard by which we (the people) determine that some things OUGHT to form part of a general curriculum, while others ought to be treated as a ridiculous waste of time (if not a form of abuse).
    Government is a nebulous term. You employ it as though it were some vicious and evil external force out to control the population for its own nefarious ends. Others employ it to mean the organization of social groups to promote common ends – streets, hospitals, common defense, and yes…schools. Perhaps there is some truth to both perspectives, but taking Education and making it strictly and purely a personal matter? How does that promote a general understanding in the population at large of those things we DO know to be true: Physics, biology, chemistry, math, astronomy…?
    I’m not so concerned about whether education is public or private. I AM concerned that it be available to everyone equally, AND that it contain truth and the tools for critical thinking, rather than dogmatic, ridiculous, fantastic, damaging horseshit that is promoted by so many “opposed” to public schooling.

    • The Student/Teacher relationship is a sacred one. It is organic, mutually exclusive and should be pure Dao. – Boston Paul

      Vapid, pie in the sky crap. Whaddya want? Every knowledge seeking individual to scale the mountain, find the infinitely wise, cave-dwelling hermit and soak up pristine truth at the foot of the Master? -Cousinavi

      Isn’t that what Veritas Nihilum Vincet is all about?

  6. Chase and I had a long discussion about this in the back of a bus driving through back roads in India. It was interesting, but I’m still waiting on what you have to say.

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