Alliance for the Separation of School & State
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The Education Liberator, Vol. 3, No. 2, February/March 1997

Director's Letter

Greetings! Welcome to our first annual outreach issue of The Education Liberator.

If you're already a Separationist, you'll get an even deeper understanding of why Americans need Separation and how we can get it done. I hope you'll like this issue so much that you'll order a bundle and give them out like candy (after Lent, of course). Get a ten-pack for $10; you get a hundred for $39, and you can have a 1000 for $250.

If you're new to Separation, welcome! You might be surprised that unlike most educators crying for change in the system, we've invested little space in recounting edu-horror stories. The people who are attracted to Separation already know plenty of them, and edu-mainstream folks seem to discount "anecdotal evidence" when it threatens their beliefs. Rather, we look at underlying principles and try to get to the roots of today's edu-mess.

Also, you'll find a partial list of teachers, religious leaders, and policy people who've endorsed Separation so you can see the kind of people already involved.

This document intends to address five questions:

  1. What is "separation of school and state"?
  2. Why should we separate education from government?
  3. Why can't we reform the system we have now?
  4. How is it practical, that is, how can we pull off Separation?
  5. What materials will help you spread this idea?

In the three short years since our founding in January, 1994, we've come a long way. Some of the hallmarks of progress:

  • Identified and begun to answer the five prominent questions (see page 7)
  • Created a coherent strategic plan for victory (p. 6)
  • Condensed the concept into a short "Proclamation" (p. 24)
  • Recruited 2000 high-caliber people to sign the Proclamation (see below, back cover, and p. 11)
  • Held two national conferences; received C-SPAN coverage of the most recent
  • Have seen the Separation idea burgeon in the mainstream media.

May I offer two aphorisms in closing. The first is a paraphrase of Arthur Schopenhauer: "All truth passes through three phases: First, it is considered absurd and is ignored or ridiculed. Next, it is considered dangerous to the status quo and viciously attacked. Finally, it is considered wholesome, indeed, self-evident." The insight is useful from two standpoints. Because we are in phase one now, it helps us accept why many people are initially appalled at the Separation idea. Secondly, as we move to phase two in the next year or two, I hope it will help us gather resolve when under attack. Indeed, we should be looking forward to it in a B'rer Rabbit sort of way.

The second is one I'm trying to invent, and this is as far along as it has gotten: Truth does not fight truth. The closer you get to the truth, the more you limit your effective opponent to falsehood, deliberate or not. This will help us keep our bearings when opponents fail to argue the Separation case on its merits and use ad hominem attacks or other diversions. I know this firsthand. Two unconnected talk-show hosts felt so threatened by Separation, and so frustrated when their opening attacks were handled, that they attacked me because "Without government controls, parents could send their children to schools that teach cannibalism!!" So read, order tapes and books, and get yourself prepared to respond to the ol' cannibalism objection.

Marshall Fritz, Director

P.S. This document has received major input from Cathy Duffy, Doug Dewey, Philip Mitchell, Kathleen Richman, Steve Smith, Virgil Swearingen, and Jarret Wollstein. Thank you. The errors are mine.

This article is copyrighted by the Alliance for the Separation of School & State. Permission is granted to freely distribute this article as long as this copyright notice is included in its entirety.