Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » WAY AHEAD OF HIS TIME


Filed at 2:55 am under by dcobranchi

Some things never change. Tim Haas pointed me to a 1966 white paper by E. G. West on “The Uneasy Case for State Education.” There’s so much good stuff in here it’s difficult to excerpt. A couple of samples:

Protection of a child against starvation or malnutrition is in the same category of importance as protection against ignorance. It is difficult to envisage, however, that any government, in its anxiety to see that children have minimum standards of food and clothing, would pass laws for compulsory and universal eating, or that it should entertain measures which lead to increased taxes in order to provide children’s food “free” at local government kitchens or stores. It is still more difficult to imagine that most people would unquestioningly accept this system, especially where it had developed to the stage that for “administrative reasons” parents were allocated those stores which happened to be nearest their homes; or that any complaint or special desire to change their pre-selected stores should be dealt with by special and quasi-judicial inquiry after a formal appointment with the local “Child Food Officer” or, failing this, by pressure upon their respective representatives on the local “Child Food Board” or upon their Congressman. Yet strange as such hypothetical measures may appear when applied to the provision of food and clothing, they are nevertheless typical of English and American state education as it has evolved by historical accident or administrative expediency.

…To what extent does nineteenth century history indicate that the English people, for instance, were in need of governmental help on this account? The evidence shows indeed that the majority of people in the first half of the nineteenth century did become literate (in the technical sense) largely by their own efforts.26 Moreover, if the government played any role at all in this sphere it was one of saboteur!

West advocated homeschooling and vouchers. We’ve come a long way in almost 40 years, eh?

One Response to “WAY AHEAD OF HIS TIME”

Comment by
July 27th, 2004
at 8:43 pm

I can say that homeschooling is gaining in momentum.