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"After a child has arrived at the legal age for attending school — whether he be the child of noble or of peasant — the only two absolute grounds of exemption from attendance are sickness and death. The German language has a word for which we have no equivalent either in language or in idea. The word is used in reference to children, and signifies due to the school; that is, when the legal age for going to school arrives, the right of the school to the child’s attendance attaches, just as, with us, the right of a creditor to the payment of a note or bond attaches on the day of its maturity."
Horace Mann, Life and Works of Horace Mann: Vol. III (Boston: Life and Shepard Publishers, 1891)

On the Origins of Public Schooling

The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation into the Problem of Modern Schooling
John Taylor Gatto
The Underground History of American Education | John Taylor Gatto
'The shocking possibility that dumb people don't exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn't real.'
Read it online »

The Origins of Government Education in the United States
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
A primer on the origins of government schooling in the United States.

Compulsory Government Education: Origins and Solutions
Rick Gee
Origins of the Prussian system of schooling and how it came to America.

Why There are Public Schools
Sheldon Richman
( From Separating School & State: How to Liberate America's Families)
"Why were the public schools ever established? Did the private sector fail to set up schools or set up too few of them? Were large segments of society barred from obtaining education? Was the education of poor quality? The answer to the last three questions is no."

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Myths about public education

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