State-controlled “free” education has achieved its goal: it has turned a potential free-thinking child that will fight for freedom, into an adult incapable of abstract reasoning, that demands to be enslaved by the state. Most people cannot even imagine a society where public education does not exist.
Where in the 19th century America, parents had to be forced with bayonets to turn their children over to be indoctrinated into the concentration camps for the young — government schools — a century later, many parents turn in their children voluntarily — and many even go so far as to demand that the state take them!
If a parent does not approve of a private school, they can remove their children and their money from it, taking both elsewhere. No such option exists in societies with government schools: whether parents send their children to government schools or not, and whether they approve of the ideas taught in those schools or not, they must still pay for state education through compulsory taxation. This added burden often makes it impossible for many parents even to afford to send their children to private schools.
If any government is allowed to gain financial control of education, then it will take over the content of that education — the realm of ideas – to ensure its money is spent properly. The fundamental lesson of a state education is not intellectual and material independence, but obedience to the state. Such is the death of a free society.
Under capitalism, there is a separation of education and state, just as there is a separation of religion and state. In both cases for the same reasons.
What the advocates of “free” education espouse is not leaving individuals free to pay for their education, or free to pay for the education of another, or free to decide on the content of that education. Rather, they advocate the robbing of one to pay for the unearned benefit (“schooling”) of another. The proper name for such a program is not “free” education but is legalized theft.
The issue here is whether one voluntarily pays for the education of oneself (or others) as with private education; or, if one is forced to pay for the education of oneself (or others) at the point of a gun.
Government is an agent of force; force and mind are opposites; to impose the will of public officials upon its citizens, is to render its citizens slaves. Contrary to the collectivism, the mind of a child — or an adult — does not belong to the state: each human being is an end to himself. If children learn by example, is there any doubt to what kind of example “public-free” schooling is teaching?
The price of a state education is freedom. Anything of value is never free but must be paid for by someone. The state produces nothing; but obtains its funds by force, i.e., taxation. When one recommends the “state funding of education to preserve freedom,” one is asking the state to violate freedom to preserve freedom.
The only free education under capitalism is that donated by private individuals, i.e., parents paying for their child’s education, i.e., individuals acting as a group, e.g., church groups and non-religious groups.
There is no such thing as a ‘right to education,’ since such a ‘right’ makes slaves of those who are physically forced to pay for someone else’s so-called right. Government schools should not be saved or reformed but abolished — as it is a violation of individual (human) rights.
Capitalism supports freedom in education as opposed to the tax-funded “free” education paid for and run by the state. Under capitalism, the indoctrination of the young by the officials of the state is illegal. Under capitalism, education, like food, computers, and medicine, is taken on as a private profit-making enterprise, not because education is unimportant, but because it is vitally important.
In America, there are no completely private schools since government determines the standards and thus much of the content of both public and “private” schools.
As for those who cannot afford to pay for their education they can resort to private charity, which can be promoted by the use of 100% tax credits for education. School vouchers is another “mixed economy” option, but its effectiveness depends on how it is implemented. Also, under capitalism, since there would be no public schools, more private schools would appear, which would lead to more competition and innovation to decrease in the cost of education.
That a school is private does not make it intellectually better than a state school — a private school can be worse than a government school. Government schools can dip their hands into the public treasury for dollars — private schools cannot.
Under capitalism, a private school would have an incentive to provide some level of service as judged by the parents; because, if it does not, it will not receive any funds from them. The same cannot be said of government schools, as the worse they get, the more money they receive.
Having government fund schools means the government control’s pedagogy and content. As the money taken from taxpayers by the government is not limitless, it must be allocated somehow. It is through the allocation of funds that government controls content, i.e., “We do not like your content, you will not get any funding from us.”
In the short-term, the political solution is tax credits for education. This will allow people who pay for state schools through their taxes a tax credit which can be used to pay for the private (or state) school of their choice. Alternatively, the tax credit can also be used for homeschooling. Individuals, or businesses, can also pay for someone else’s education, and receive a tax credit. Tax credits for education will transfer financial control from bureaucrats back to individuals, forcing state schools to compete in the market for dollars — just like private schools do.
Given the terrible record of public “education,” it is dubious whether any rational individual would voluntarily pay for it if it were not “free.” Of all the government interventions into people’s lives, there is no greater travesty than the spectacle of public education: drug addiction of minors; student crime and violence; functional illiteracy, and the inability to think in principle. These are the results of inserting the power of destruction (to be applied towards brutes and criminals) to an act of production — education.