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Articles, Essays, and Videos on Learning, Educational and Intellectual Freedom, and the Separation of School & State

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The Principle and Practice of Compulsion in Education
E.G. West Centre
Links to numerous articles about compulsion.
Suggested reading and watching on education, schooling, and liberty, from diverse sources.

Featured Articles specifically address or provide particular insight into the legitimacy, history, or consequences of institutional systems of schooling, especially those that are compulsory, state-controlled, state-regulated, and/or tax-funded.

What's New | Featured Articles, Essays, and Commentary | Videos | All Articles | Suggested Books

Articles, Essays, and Commentary by Publication Date
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Recent Additions
War on Kids Trailer


In 95 minutes, The War on Kids exposes the many ways the public school system has failed children and our future by robbing students of all freedoms due largely to irrational fears. Children are subjected to endure prison-like security, arbitrary punishments, and pharmacological abuse through the forced prescription of dangerous drugs. Even with these measures, schools not only fail to educate students, but the drive to teach has become secondary to the need to control children.

TheWarOnKids.com

Sugata Mitra: Can Kids Teach Themselves?

Via TED Talks: "Speaking at LIFT 2007, Sugata Mitra talks about his Hole in the Wall project. Young kids in this project figured out how to use a PC on their own -- and then taught other kids. He asks, what else can children teach themselves?"

Full bio and more links

Top Secret America
Washington Post (2010)
"Top Secret America" is a project nearly two years in the making that describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

A Dispatch from Planet Unschooling
PS Pirror (August 2010)
"People, let me tell you something. My daughter is 14. And there are times when I wished both of us lived on another planet. As in, together. As in, far, far away from everyone who thinks teens are by nature a subspecies from hell."

Kids are Capable of Much More Than We Give Them Credit For
Wendy Preisnitz, Life Learning Magazine

A melange of thoughts - sailing, life, ageism, metaphors, reality
Frank Maier

The Abuse of Children in State-Approved Care Settings
RenegadeParent.net (UK, 26 Feb 2010)
Why CRB checks do not ensure the safety of your child, and why schools are not the "safety net" that Ed Balls, the NASUWT, the NASW, the NSPCC and others would have you believe.

The Truth About Schedule 1 of the Children, Schools, and Families Bill
Dani Ahrens, Badman Review Action Group (UK, 24 Jan 2010)
Government anti-home-education claims versus reality.

Are Home Educators Worrying About Nothing?
Freedom for Children to Grow (UK, Undated, 2010)
Schedule 1 of the Children Schools and Families Bill proposes a huge number of changes to the law on home education.

Training
David H. Albert

Home Education Magazine (January/February 2009)
"A requirement of being a state employee and a manager is that I attend "training." I can say with some certainty that, in terms of assisting me in doing my work better, the taxpayers are not getting their money's worth."

A Teacher Questions Compulsory Schooling
Jim Strickland | Natural Life Magazine | Nov/Dec 2008
"Compulsory attendance laws undermine learning by creating an atmosphere of coercion, mistrust and manipulation. They do this by their very existence as the faint (or not-so faint) hum in the background of each potentially joyful moment in every classroom. We all know the best way to make anyone hate doing something is to force their compliance under threat of punishment. Learning that is meaningful, lasting and real can only take place with the consent and willing participation of the learner. One cannot teach the values of freedom and democracy using a totalitarian pedagogy. The medium is the message."

Assumption 5: "Schools Have a Noble Purpose"
Wendy Priesnitz
Excerpt from Challenging Assumptions in Education (2008, The Alternate Press)
"Scratch the surface of most public school systems and you will find something quite different than justice and democracy, in spite of good intentions. You will find an archaic institution, which defies everything we know about effective organizations and what we have learned about cognitive development. You will also find an institution that perpetuates social hierarchies, disempowers people and forces them to do things against their will – supposedly for their own good – while encouraging a destructive level of consumerism and consumption. If a democratic society is one in which people are collectively in control of their lives and the lives of their communities, then our present-day school systems are anti-democratic."

The Promise of Deschooling
Matt Hern | Social Anarchism | 2001
"It is virtually anathema in our culture, but I want to argue here that our society needs far fewer schools, not more. I believe that schools as we have conceived them in the late-20th Century are a parasite on our communities, a burden to our children and are the very essence of a hierarchical, anti-ecological culture. I further contend that dissolving the school monopoly over our kids may well hold the key to reconstructing our communities around local control and participatory democracy."

Why high school must go: an interview with Leon Botstein
Robert Epstein | Phi Delta Kappan | May 2007
"Does our culture protect teens from themselves, or does it create the very irresponsibility we are trying to protect them from?"

Schooling: The Hidden Agenda
Daniel Quinn
"The need for schooling is bolstered by two well-entrenched pieces of cultural mythology. The first and most pernicious of these is that children will not learn unless they're compelled to--in school. It is part of the mythology of childhood itself that children hate learning and will avoid it at all costs. Of course, anyone who has had a child knows what an absurd lie this is."

Totally Wasted
Sallie Tisdale | Salon | 1998
"High school devalues teenagers' idealism, saps their creativity and is just plain boring. So why don't students want it to change?"

John Holt: Common Objections to Homeschooling
The Natural Child Project
Excerpt from Teach Your Own: A Hopeful Path for Education (1981)

John Holt: Teach Your Own Children...At Home
Mother Earth News, The Plowboy Intervew (1980)
Interview with John Holt

A Libertarian Solution to Evolution Education Controversy: No More Public Schools
Interview with Andrew Coulson
Brandon Keim
Wired Science (01.08)
"When you force people to teach a subject in a way they don't want it taught, and the school system is a political beast, which our public schools are, you're going to see the curriculum you have in mind corrupted by the political process. People campaigning for strong teaching of evolutionary biology in public schools are ignoring that this is what's purportedly been going for the last 50 years. There are no states with a theistic presentation in their classrooms. Real science is what's supposed to be taught; yet when you look at polling data, the ones who see a non-theistic, purely naturalist explanation are in the minority."

The Humanism Behind Homeschooling
Theresa Willingham
"As the trend towards home education has grown since it's inception in the early 1970s . . . its liberal foundations have become buried under an avalanche of conservative rhetoric that can make a real understanding of this educational phenomenon elusive at best, and create an historical facade of misinformation at worst."

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