Here is a list of books, based on many helpful suggestions, that discuss whether school attendance should be compulsory,
or what pattern of financing there should be for tax-supported schools, or the origins of the status quo of government-operated, compulsory schools in many places.
If you have suggestions of books that explain or debate the rationale for compulsory,
government-operated schools, please let me know.
Please respond with any suggestions you have for future revisions of this list.
International standard book numbers or United States Superintendent of Documents numbers, where available, are listed to help you request these books from interlibrary loan or bookstores.
Books on these subjects are generally classified 370, 371, or 379 in the Dewey system, LA or LC in the Library of Congress system of library classification.
The one book I most strongly recommend starting with is Myron Lieberman's Public Education: An Autopsy (1993).
Despite its radical-sounding title, Dr. Lieberman's book is thorough and moderate in its approach to these issues.
Public Education: An Autopsy contains excellent endnotes guiding readers to additional research sources.
The best book for historical perspective on school and state issues is Charles Glenn's The Myth of the Common School (1988), which reviews primary source materials on educational history in the United States, France, and the Netherlands.
Books Listed by Main Entry
Compelling Belief: The Culture of American Schooling
Stephen Arons (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983 & Amherst, MA: U of MA, 1986 reprint)
(ISBN 0-87023-524-9 [pbk., reprint]).
xi and 228 pp.
Thoughtful examination of the state's role in the education of children.
Professor Arons, himself a participant in BITNET mailing-list discussions of education policy,
looks at legal history to reach disturbing conclusions about the rationale for compulsory school attendance.
An important book for anyone who cherishes pluralism.
(after listing cases in which parents were fined, imprisoned, or denied custody of their children for home schooling):
"In none of these cases did anyone seriously question the health or happiness of the children or suggest they were being abused and neglected
in any way other than their parents' failure to send them to schools most people attend." RECOMMENDED.
Short Route to Chaos: Conscience, Community, and Re-Constitution of American Schooling
(Amherst, MA: U of MA Press, 1997)
(ISBN 1-55849-077-9; 1-55849-078-7 [pbk.]).
xvi and 213 pages; notes, selected bibliography, index.
Superb analysis of current education reform proposals in the United States in light of the importance of freedom of conscience for civil society.
Includes excellent commentary on Goals 2000 legislation (neither credulous nor naive, as are most commentaries on that legislation) from an experienced lawyer's point of view.
Arons's comments on other recent books on education policy (including several mentioned on this Web page) are interesting and thoughtful.
Les consommateurs d'école: Stratégies éducatives des familles
(Paris: Stock/Laurence Pernoud, 1982)
French book documenting bureacratic stratagems of parents in a system without explicit school choice.
"Pendant longtemps, l'appareil d'éducation n'a pas été envisagé comme un service mis à la disposition de citoyen,
mais comme une institution chargée d'exercer une contrainte--bénéfique--sur ce citoyen."
Who Owns the Children?: Compulsory Education and the Dilemma of Ultimate Authority
(Waco, TX: Truth Forum, 5th edition 1991)
xxix and 703 pages.
Is Public Education Necessary?
(Boise, ID: Paradigm Company, 2d ed. 1985)
xiii and 263 pp.; endnotes.
"Brilliant revisionist history" (said Fortune Magazine)
of the period when compulsory school attendance originated in the United States.
Blumenfeld's book includes astounding quotations straight from the pens of Horace Mann and other founders of the current public school system, including Mann's promise
that public schools would reduce crime by 90 percent or more!
Now the best book on the historical origins of the public school system is Charles Glenn's
The Myth of the Common School, listed below,
but Blumenfeld's book remains a path-breaking, illuminating historical study.
Favorite quotation: "After more than a hundred years of universal public education,
we can say that it nowhere resembles the utopian vision that drove its proponents to create it."
Challenging the Giant: The Best of [Skole], the Journal of Alternative Education
Mary M. Leue, editor
(Albany NY: Down-to Earth Books, 1992)
xv and 488 pages; illustrations, bibliography.
Collection of articles from the Greek-titled alternative education journal [Skole]
(which is how the Greek title of this journal is spelled,
but shouldn't they have used the Greek word for school, which would be transliterated "Schole"?),
including articles by veteran activists on alternative education issues.
Choice and Control in American Education,
Volume 1: The Theory of Choice and Control in Education and
Volume 2: The Practice of Choice, Decentralization and School Restructuring
William H. Clune & John F. Witte editors
(London: Falmer, 1990)
(ISBN 1-85000-821-3 [vol. 1] 1-85000-8183 [vol. 2]).
(The Stanford Series on Education and Public Policy).
xxii and 416 pages [Volume 1]; biographical notes on authors and index.
Compilation of articles by various scholars, focusing mostly on "public school choice" issues.
Witte is now the official observer for the state of Wisconsin of Milwaukee, Wisconsin's ongoing and still limited experiment with school vouchers.
Politics, Markets & American Schools
John E. Chubb & Terry M. Moe
(Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1990)
xvii and 318 pages; appendices and endnotes.
Controversial book that broke the "liberal" mold of the Brookings Institution with its forthright advocacy of market-based solutions for education.
Responsive Schools, Renewed Communities
Clifford W. Cobb
(San Francisco: ICS Press, 1992)
xvii and 297 pages; foreword by Amitai Etzioni, notes, bibliography, index.
Thorough look at the necessity of educational finance reform to promote education reform, from a communitarian perspective.
Education by Choice: The Case for Family Control
John E. Coons and Stephen D. Sugarman
(Berkeley: U of CA Press, 1978)
xiv and 257 pages; appendix "Introducing Family Choice in Education through State Constitutional Change," notes, bibliography.
Trailblazing early book on educational choice from a "liberal" perspective by authors who have continued their involvement with the issue ever since.
Scholarships for Children
John Coons & Stephen Sugarman
(Berkeley: Institute of Governmental Studies Press, 1992)
Hard-to-come-by book synthesizing the thoughts on vouchers
(the "scholarships" of the title) of two "liberal" Berkeley law professors
who have studied and litigated issues of equity in school finance since the early 1970s.
Thoughtful examination of the role of the state in education from a philosophical perspective, by an Australian scholar.
Favorite quotation, itself from another book, by Ferdinand Mount, The Subversive Family: An Alternative History of Love and Marriage (1982):
the family is "the ultimate and only consistently subversive organization."
Educational Freedom for a Democratic Society: A Critique of National Goals, Standards, and Curriculum
Ron Miller, editor
(Brandon, VT: Resource Center for Redesigning Education, 1995)
284 pages; bibliography, notes on contributors.
Thoughtful articles from various points of view on current federal programs of education reform in the United States. Contributors include Stephen Arons, David Purpel, Seth Rockmuller and Katherine Houk, Pat Farenga, and Linda Dobson.
The Purposes of Education in American Democracy
Educational Policies Commission, National Education Association of the United States
(Washington: National Education Association, 1938).
ix and 157 pages.
Disgusting evidence that arrogance about the mission of government-operated "education"
in the United States has a long history.
On the other hand, I can hardly argue with the book's suggestion that each "layman" ought to be more interested in what schools do:
"Suppose you were a stockholder in an enterprise with a million employees,
doing a two-billion-dollar business every year and occupying a plant valued at six billion dollars.
Suppose also that this enterprise had a vital and direct effect on the welfare, safety, and happiness of you,
your children, and your countrymen,
and that it was concerned with the protection and development of a certain natural resource worth five times as much as all our material,
mineral, soil, oil, and forest resources put together.
Would you not want to meet occasionally with representatives of the management and consider with them and with the other stockholders just what this great organization was attempting to do,
and how it could secure the greatest success?"
Well, supposing all those things, I'd wonder why I was called a "stockholder" rather than a "compelled client"
when the next page notes that "Every child must attend the schools and the laws will punish his parents if they do not provide for his schooling."
What kind of a great organization is it that requires the policeman's billy club and handcuffs to force consumers to consume its service?
Now that the spending is up above $US260 billion per year for government-operated schools in the United States,
I'm much more interested in whether there will soon be effectual competition to this ever-growing monopolistic organization.
Read the other books in this bibliography and see if you don't agree.
Power to the Parents: Reversing Educational Decline
(London: Sherwood Press, 1987)
Interesting review of all the issues of school and state from a British perspective, with frequent reference to American issues.
"The supply of food is, surely, even more important than the supply of teaching services,
for unless our children are adequately protected against starvation they will not survive long enough for anyone to need to worry about protecting them against ignorance.
Yet, however fiercely it might be fretted with anxieties that all our children should be provided with a national core diet
(and that too a diet which would enable them in future years to meet the requirements of future employers),
it is hard to imagine that any government subject to the discipline of free elections would even entertain the possibility of introducing measures
--enormously expensive measures, necessarily requiring massive increases in general taxation--in order to provide all such children food 'free' at the point of supply,
or at the point of consumption, either in shops, or (eventually no doubt) in messes, all established and managed by Local Food Monopolies (LFMs)."
Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman
(New York: Harcourt Brace, 1980)
xiii and 338 pages; appendices, notes, index.
More than the personal statement promised by the subtitle,
a thorough exploration of economic aspects of public policy by a Nobel Prize winner in economics.
Chapter 6 of Free to Choose includes a particularly thoughtful reexamination of the education system.
"'In his secretarial reports to the Massachusetts Board of Education,
Mann proclaimed repetitively . . . that education was a good public investment and increased output.'
Though the arguments were all pitched in terms of the public interest,
much of the support of teachers and administrators for the public school movement derived from a narrow self-interest.
They expected to enjoy greater certainty of employment, greater assurance that their salaries would be paid,
and a greater degree of control if government rather than parents were the immediate paymaster." (citing E.G. West)
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
John Taylor Gatto
(Philadelphia, New Society Publishers, 1992)
(ISBN 0-86571-231-X [pbk.]).
xv and 104 pages.
Bombshell book by the 1991 New York State teacher of the year,
whose award acceptance speech roundly criticized the public school system.
The book includes the award acceptance speech and other essays by Gatto, a fine writer who at that time was an amateurish historian.
(Gatto's massive forthcoming historical study promises to be even more controversial.)
Favorite quotation: "Teaching means different things in different places,
but seven lessons are universally taught from Harlem to Hollywood Hills.
They constitute a national curriculum you pay for in more ways than you can imagine,
so you might as well know what it is. . . .
1. Confusion. 2. Class Position. 3. Indifference.
4. Emotional Dependency. 5. Intellectual Dependency.
6. Provisional Self-Esteem. 7. One Can't Hide. . . .
It is the great triumph of compulsory government monopoly mass-schooling that among even the best of my fellow teachers,
and among even the best of my students' parents, only a small number can imagine a different way to do things."
WRITTEN BY A TEACHER.RECOMMENDED.KMBowns
The Myth of the Common School
(Amherst, MA: U of MA Press, 1988)
xi and 369 pages; endnotes and bibliographies.
Superb historical study relying on primary sources in English, Dutch, and French,
including the official records of the state of Massachusetts,
to which Glenn had access as a Massachusetts state education official.
The Myth of the Common School combines an unparalled sensitivity to the role of government schooling in a democracy with
an unmatched familiarity with the historical literature and current events.
The Myth of the Common School is as fine a book on educational history as one can find in the English language. RECOMMENDED.KMBseen_MNU
Choice of Schools in Six Nations
(1989) (Superintendent of Documents # ED 1.302:Sch 6/5) (OERI PIP 90-851).
xiii and 238 pages; bibliograpy.
Survey by Charles Glenn of school choice policies in
France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain, Canada, and the United States
for the United States Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Improvement.
Rather than speculating on what might be,
as too many who discuss educational freedom do, Glenn observes what is in several countries
whose historical backgrounds he knows well.
Educational Freedom in Eastern Europe
Charles L. Glenn
(Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 1995)
(ISBN 1-882577-20-5; 1-882577-21-3 [pbk.]).
US$15.95 (paperback), xxi and 338 pages; foreword by David Boaz, index.
More valuable reading from the keyboard of Charles L. Glenn, this time about the newly liberated countries of eastern Europe and the precommunist and postcommunist education systems.
As always in his books, Glenn meticulously documents primary sources and provides thorough historical perspective.
School Choice: Why You Need It--How You Get It
(Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 1994).
xii and 208 pages; index.
Thoroughly documented account of the rationale for school choice,
and the first blow-by-blow account of the California Proposition 174 voucher initiative campaign by a participant.
The author's compassion for the poor the initiative was designed to help shines through on every page.
Also evident on every page is the thuggery and lies of many voucher opponents, who spent millions of dollars to defeat the initiative,
and indeed spent huge sums to keep the initiative from even appearing on the ballot.
An important source of fact to counteract lies about the CA voucher campaign that are still being heard daily around the world.
Favorite quotation by Harmer on the union spending:
"The CTA [California Teachers Association] provided full-time staff, an army of volunteers, and established statewide organization [to campaign against the CA school-choice initiative].
It also provided an amazing amount of money. By the week before the election, the CTA alone had spent $12.3 million to defeat Proposition 174."
Favorite quotation of another expert on campaign activities in Harmer's book:
"They've shown they can toss $10 million with the best of them.
They are at the top of the charts in terms of an influential special interest," a Los Angeles Times newspaper quotation of Duane Garrett, a Democratic Party fund-raiser.
(New York: Harper & Row, 1970).
Trail-blazing bombshell of a book by a "liberal" author who spent many years teaching in the third world.
Deschooling Society is astoundingly wide-ranging in the earlier sources on which it relies,
and full of fire of compassion and concern for the children who now are confined to schools in countries around the world.
Some of the radicalism of both Illich's Deschooling Society and Everett Reimer's School is Dead is derived from the author's shared experiences as teachers in Latin America.
WRITTEN BY A TEACHER.RECOMMENDED.KMBseen_HCO
The State and the Non-Public School, 1825-1925
Lloyd P. Jorgenson
(Columbia, MO: U of Missouri Press, 1987).
A History of Compulsory Education Laws
(Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1976)
37 pages; bibliography.
Brief pamphlet describing the history of compulsory education statutes in the United States.
Choice in Schooling: A Case for Tuition Vouchers
David W. Kirkpatrick
(Chicago: Loyola U Press, 1990)
xiii and 222 pages; appendix, bibliography and index.
Thorough, fact-filled examination of the voucher issue by David Kirkpatrick,
a retired public school teacher who enjoyed a long and successful career as a teacher union activist.
(Kirkpatrick is a life member of the NEA and was president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association [PSEA]
the year that PA teachers won the right to strike as part of collective bargaining.)
Kirkpatrick, who has an M.A. degree in history, applies a refreshing historical perspective to discussion of the voucher issue.
Choice in Schooling: A Case for Tuition Vouchers is an unmatched guide to the earlier literature, showing Kirkpatrick's familiarity with virtually all of the many scholars who have written about the voucher issue. RECOMMENDED.KMBowns
La Bataille de L'école: 15 siècles d'histoire 3 ans de combat
(Paris: Denoël, 1985)
Exploration of how "church and state" issues relate to schooling in France.
Favorite of the many quotations Leclerc includes in his book,
this one from Jean Marie Lustiger:
"L'enfant n'appartient à personne et surtout pas à l'État.
Il est donné par Dieu à des parents qui n'en sont pas les propriétaires,
et qui en sont les responsables comme d'un don confié.
Pour que cet enfant devienne ce qu'il est--libre, à l'image de Dieu libre--,
il faut que ses parents, premiers responsables, l'initient à cette liberté!
D'ou la nécessité de la famille éducative.
Tous les psychologues savent bien que l'enfant naît à la conscience de soi devant ses parents.
Tous les régimes totalitaires, du nazisme à toutes formes de bolchevisme,
savent aussi qu'ils doivent soustraire l'enfant le plus tôt possible à sa famille s'ils veulent le transformer en «l'homme nouveau»."
Legal Foundations of Compulsory School Attendance
Lawrence Kotin & William F. Aikman
(Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1980 [no copyright claimed after 1990])
441 pages; bibliography, appendices, table of cases, index.
Study sponsored by the United States federal National Institute of Education (Grant No. NEG-00-3-016) on the effect of compulsory school attendance statutes on various educational policies.
Liberating Schools: Education in the Inner City
David Boaz, editor
(Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 1991).
viii and 220 pages.
Collection of essays by leading writers on school choice, including
Myron Lieberman, "Profit-seeking schools,"
John Chubb and Terry Moe, "Give Choice a Chance,"
and John Coons, "Perestroika and the Private Provider." RECOMMENDED.KMBowns
Privatization and Educational Choice
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989)
xiv and 386 pages.
First title in Myron Lieberman's long writing career (which began with Education as a Profession )
to appeal to the nonacademic community with a vision of market-based reforms for improving education.
WRITTEN BY A TEACHER.KMBseen_HCO
Public School Choice: Current Issues/Future Prospects
(Lancaster, PA: Technomic, 1990).
Examination of "public school choice" plans and why they alone will not promote systemic reform, and may very likely slow movement to genuine reform.
WRITTEN BY A TEACHER.RECOMMENDED.KMBseen_MNU
Public Education: An Autopsy
(Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard U Press, 1993)
xi and 379 pages.
Best available analysis of education policy in the United States today, among a strong lineup of recent books.
Dr. Lieberman draws on his years as a teacher union activist (he is a life member of the NEA),
his legal training and experience as a teacher contract negotiator,
and his thorough study of the economics of education to shine a light on the inside story of education in the United States--and throughout the industrialized world.
Full of inside information on how the system really works,
Public Education: An Autopsy is the book readers new to these subjects should start with first,
among all those on this list.
Favorite quotation--among many:
"From my first day in the first grade in McKinley Elementary School in St. Paul,
Minnesota, I attended public schools exclusively. . . .
This book would not have been written if I thought that public education could function for most young people today
as it did for me more than sixty years ago. . . .
I am saddened by the anguish and sense of loss that will eventually emerge--
not necessarily or primarily or even at all from this book but from the inescapable truth of the matter.
The decline of public education does not negate the fact that many individuals associated with it perform invaluable services that deserve our respect and gratitude.
My analysis concerns the strengths and deficiencies of educational systems, not of the persons associated with them."
RECOMMENDED.WRITTEN BY A TEACHER.KMBowns
The Teacher Unions: How the NEA and AFT Sabotage Reform and Hold Students, Parents, Teachers, and Taxpayers Hostage to Bureaucracy
(New York: Free Press, 1997)
$US25, xiii and 305 pages; appendixes, notes, index.
Insider's look at the role schoolteacher trade unions have on United States education policy--which is much greater than most outside observers think.
The Teacher Unions reveals for the first time the economic incentives on the union leadership and their negotiating teams,
and the many ways in which local school boards neglect the public interest in their concessions to unions.
Also revealed are what the highest priorities of the teacher unions are when they endorse political candidates, which they frequently do.
Favorite quotation: "In political terms, collective bargaining in public education constitutes the negotiation of public policies with a special interest group,
in a process from which others are excluded.
This is contrary to the way public policy should be made in a democratic representative system of government."
RECOMMENDED.WRITTEN BY A TEACHER.KMBowns
Compulsory Education Laws and Their Impact on Public and Private Education, with Suggested Statutory Language
Patricia M. Lines
(Denver: Education Commission of the States, 1985)
(Sup't Docs. # ED 1.310/2:253963) (LEC-84-11).
64 leaves; bibliography.
Legal analysis by a skilled legal scholar of the systemic effects of compulsory school attendance statutes.
Parents and Their Informational Resources: A Reassessment of Findings from Alum Rock
Patricia M. Lines
([Washington, DC]: U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Educational Resources Information Center, 1993)
(Supt. Docs. No. ED 1.310/2:375985).
How to Start Your Own School
(Ottawa, IL: Green Hill Publishers, c. 1973) (reprint of hardcover edition published in New York by MacMillan in 1973).
vi and 170 pages.
Dynamic, practical book for
"the radical left, the radical right, and everyone in between" who is concerned about education.
Love's How to Start Your Own School has better practical advice than any other book about starting a school.
How to Start Your Own School also has one of the best discussions of the relationship between school and state to be found anywhere.
The proof of Love's ideas is in the school he helped to start:
Wichita Collegiate School, now regarded without question as the best school in Wichita,
and perhaps in the entire state of Kansas.
Love's stories of the struggling start-up days of the school shows what is possible with parent involvement and a clear vision of educational excellence. RECOMMENDED.KMBowns
Disestablishment a Second Time: Genuine Pluralism for American Schools
Rockne M. McCarthy, James Skillen & William Harper
Disestablishment a Second Time: Genuine Pluralism for American Schools was the inspiration for Charles Glenn's The Myth of the Common School,
which alone makes it a valuable contribution to sound discussion of education policy issues.
But Glenn didn't make McCarthy's, Skillen's, and Harper's Disestablishment a Second Time obsolete by writing his own book:
Disestablishment a Second Time remains one of the finest examinations of the role of pluralism in a free, democratic society,
and perhaps the best book of all on how notions of "separation of church and state" relate to education.
Break These Chains: The Battle for School Choice
(Rocklin, CA: Forum, 1996)
xxi and 258 pages; epilogue, notes, bibliography, index.
Pour libérer l'école: L'enseignement à la carte
(Paris: Editions Robert Laffont, 1984)
Ahead-of-its-time proposal for educational choice in France.
L'école en accusation
Didier Maupas et Club Horloge
(Paris: Albin Michel, 1984)
French book on school and state issues criticizing the policies of France's Socialist Party.
"Il est normal que les parents aillent vers l'enseignement privé tant que
les gouvernements refusent de mettre en oeuvre une stratégie de la réussite de l'école."
Absolutism and the Eighteenth-Century Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria
James Van Horn Melton
(Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1988)
Historical study of how compulsory school attendance originated in the territories of Prussia and Austria, the first countries to have such a policy. Absolutism and the Eighteenth-Century Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria reports that many of the intended goals of compulsory schooling were never achieved,
but some unintended results were.
Readers who note that the first territories in the world to have compulsory school attendance later formed the Third Reich,
and today have the world's highest rates of suicide,
are sure to find Melton's review of the origins of compulsory school attendance interesting.
The Graves of Academe
(Boston: Little Brown, 1981)
Iconoclastic look at cherished myths about the nature of education and its role in a free society.
Most material in The Graves of Academe is compiled from the pages of the author's renowned academic newsletter,
The Underground Grammarian.
Mitchell's detailed logical examination of the Thomas Jefferson maxim
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be"
is, by itself, worth the price of Graves of Academe.
My favorite quotation comes from that passage:
"It is possible, of course, to keep educated people unfree in a state of civilization,
but it's much easier to keep ignorant people unfree in a state of civilization.
And it is easiest of all if you can convince the ignorant that they are educated,
for you can thus make them collaborators in your disposition of their liberty and property.
That is the institutionally assigned task, for all that it may be invisible to those who perform it, of American public education." RECOMMENDED.KMBowns
(Stamford: Ablex Publishing Corp., 1998)
(ISBN 1-56750363-2; 1-56750364-0 [pbk.]).
(Contemporary Studies in Social & Policy Issues in Education).
New collection of views on means by which the education system can be made more free.
Schooled to Order: A Social History of Public Schooling in the United States
The Public School Monopoly: A Critical Analysis of Education and the State in American Society
Robert Everhart editor
Private Schools and Public Power: A Case for Pluralism
E. Vance Randall
(New York: Teachers College Press, 1994)
xiv and 219 pages; foreword by Bruce Cooper, references, notes, index.
Powerful argument for voluntary association in schooling and the end of the notion of "government as parent."
(Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1972, c. 1970, 1971).
xiii and 179 pages; notes and references, index.
Radical opening salvo in the left's critique of schooling by a close associate of Ivan Illich.
(Fairfax, VA: Future of Freedom Foundation, 1994)
US$14.95, xxi and 128 pages; appendix, index.
Libertarian perspective on the government's role in schooling. RECOMMENDED.KMBowns
American Education and the Dynamics of Choice
James R. Rinehart and Jackson F. Lee, Jr.
(New York: Praeger, 1991)
xii and 173 pages; references, index.
Thoughtful analysis of choice in schooling by an economist and a professor of education.
H. Wayne House, editor
(Portland, OR: Multomah Press, 1988)
Interesting collection of essays by various authors on the desirability of different forms of classroom schooling or home schooling.
The Twelve-Year Sentence
William Rickenbacker, editor
(La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1974).
Pathbreaking collection of essays by a variety of authors on the issue of compulsory schooling.
Schooling and Society: The Politics of Education in Prussia and Bavaria 1750-1900
(Oxford: Berg, 1989).
Historical study of the origins of compulsory schooling, which the author usually designates simply as "schooling," in Prussia and Bavaria, a useful supplement to Melton's Absolutism and the Eighteenth-Century Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria.
Favorite quotation, from Schleunes's first chapter:
"It has become a commonplace, for example, to see schooling as an attribute of Europe's modernisation during the nineteenth century,
whether that modernisation is conceived of as being economic, political, or social, and to treat as directly related to schooling, either as cause or effect,
such phenomena as industrialisation, social mobility, or the emergence of the masses into political consciousness.
There is no need to deny such relationships in order to inject a word of caution.
For example, immediate limitations to modernisation theories become evident when they are used to explain the origins of the mass education revolution.
That revolution had its earliest implementations in places such as Prussia and, if we are to believe Stowe, Bavaria, at a time when these states were by nearly any political, economic, or social measurement less modern than France or Great Britain, where schooling was still a generation or two away.
Then, as we shall see, schooling in Prussia and Bavaria was often designed to keep progress in check, or even to undo it completely.
In such a case, modernisation is transformed, as if by some conceptual sleight of hand, into social control, or social control into an attribute of modernisation."
Education Without the State
(London: Education and Training Unit, Institute of Economic Affairs, 1996)
(IEA Studies in Education, No. 1).
£12.00, 120 pages; foreword by Edwin G. West, bibliography.
Brilliant economic and historical analysis of education in England and Wales with broad applicability elsewhere.
Particular good for refuting arguments that assume market failures in a market-based system of providing education,
showing that the arguments mostly demonstrate faults with state provision and regulation of education.
The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education
Law and the Shaping of Public Education: 1785-1954
David Tyack, Thomas James & Aaron Benavot
Thought-provoking history of the legal framework of American public education.
Education and the State: A Study in Political Economy
E[dwin] G. West
(Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 3rd ed. 1994)
(ISBN 0-86597-134-X; 0-86597-135-8 [pbk.]).
xxx and 364 pages; foreword by Arthur Seldon, preface by Myron Lieberman, select bibliography, recommended readings, index.
Insightful exploration of school and state issues from an economic and British historical perspective.
Thoroughly demolishes purported arguments for state intervention in the provision of education.
Home Education: Rights and Reasons
John W. Whitehead and Alexis Irene Crow
(Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993)
557 pages; endnotes, bibliograpy and index of cases.
Tour de force with rave recommendations from all points along the political spectrum,
covering far more ground than homeschooling in the narrow sense.
Constitutional and legal rationales under United States law are developed in Home Education: Rights and Reasons
for protecting learner liberty and parental liberty to direct the education of minor children.
Schooling, Welfare, and Parental Responsibility
Michael G. Wyness
(London, Washington, DC: Falmer Press, 1996)
(ISBN: 0-75070437-3, 0-75070438-1 [pbk.]).
(New Prospects series 2).
vii and 164 pages; bibliography, index.
A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.
John Stuart Mill On Liberty (1859)
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