“The indoctrination of children with a mob spirit—under the category of ‘social adjustment’—is conducted openly and explicitly. The supremacy of the pack is drilled, pounded and forced into the student’s mind by every means available to the comprachicos of the classroom, including the contemptible policy of grading the students on their social adaptability (under various titles). No better method than this type of grading could be devised to destroy a child’s individuality and turn him into a stale little conformist, to stunt his unformed sense of personal identity and make him blend into an anonymous mob, to penalize the best, the most intelligent and honest children in the class, and to reward the worst, the dull, the lethargic, the dishonest.” — AYN RAND, “The Comprachicos,” Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution
The goal of education under capitalism is independence; under state education dependence (or the euphemism called “socialization.”)
The basis of being “social” (interacting peacefully with other individuals for mutual benefit) is the virtue of rational thinking which allows one to communicate and trade values (both material and spiritual) with others. The alternative is the anti-social means of the initiation of physical force, i.e., threatening violence, i.e., fraud.
Rational, independent thinking by one’s standards is what public schools seek to undermine and destroy, to replace with unquestioning, altruistic (self-sacrificial) obedience to the state.
The government has been so successful in this endeavor, that most people cannot even imagine the possibility of a society where state 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 voluntarily hand their child over, and many go so far as to demand that the state take them! State-controlled “free” education has achieved the goal implicit in its premises: it has turned a potential free-thinking child that will strive for freedom and independence, into an adult incapable of abstract reasoning, that demands to be taken over as a dependent of the state.
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.
Recommended Reading: The American School: Why Johnny Can’t Think by Leonard Peikoff