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by Marshall Fritz
January 12, 2001
(Slightly revised October 2, 2003)
Yes, you read the headline correctly.
One indicator of how much the idea to liberate schools from politics is being discussed is a Google search run Dec. 18, 2000: 1,760 Internet web sites (other than ours!) that mention "separation of school and state." An Alta Vista search found 765 web sites that point their readers to our web site!
To borrow from Churchill, we're beyond the beginning!
Our job in the "Honest Education Movement"* is to restore the conviction that parents must determine and provide for the education of their children. This means infusing into the American soul the belief that we must separate schools from politics. It means infusing this as deeply as we now hold that chattel slavery is wrong.
The core of our message is moral, not political: Parents should act responsibly by providing for their children's education either through private schooling or home schooling. Those parents who abdicate their obligation to society are shirking their responsibility.
As Stephen Covey says in his best-selling book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, start with the end in mind:
- I expect the Honest Education Movement will be akin to the birth of a butterfly ? just like millions of caterpillar cells change into butterfly cells, we need millions of dependent families to change into responsible families.
- I expect the Honest Education Movement will be akin to the computer revolution ? it will be peaceful.
- I expect the Honest Education Movement will be akin to the civil rights movement ? clergy will be at the forefront.
- I expect the Honest Education Movement will be akin to A.A., Campfire Girls, Boy Scouts, Toastmasters, Kiwanis, Rotary, Optimist, Lions, etc. ? most of the work will be done by volunteers.
- Lastly, I expect the Moment of Liberation will be akin to the fall of the Berlin Wall ? we won't see it coming. It will surprise us. And delight us!
But when? Sam Adams didn't know how long it would take to convince Americans to separate from England. Frederick Douglass didn't know how long it would take to end slavery. Ignaz Semmelweiss didn't know how long it would take to get obstetricians to wash their hands. But each knew his mission was right.
So, here's my little guess: It will take between 10-20 years. But the important thing isn't the timing, it's that our mission is right and deserves our energy, talent, and financial support.
After liberating schools from the government, what will they be like? Schools will reflect the variety in American society, just like restaurants and grocery stores do today:
- Schools will be smaller and more numerous. Parents will choose from variety; this will necessitate parents thinking about just what is important to them.
- Parents will usually choose schools where the teachers hold the same worldview as they do. Hence, teachers will be reinforcing parents rather than undermining them.
- Schools will be safe.
One more thing: Unlike today, teachers will engage children with the questions that challenge our species, e.g., Where did I come from? Is there any purpose to life? What is happiness? Why are some things "right" and others "wrong?" How do we know?
Under the catch-phrase of "separation of c-h-u-r-c-h and state," today's "public school" teachers are pretty much forbidden from this, resulting in downsizing education to mere "schooling" children to become test-taking robots. It would be like Wendy's offering to "smally" your burger by taking the meat out.
I believe within two years of America's move to Honest Education, teachers will be saying to each other, "Why did we ever fight this for so long?"
For more ideas on how to facilitate the transition from public education to educational freedom, please read "A Practical Plan" and "How to Separate School and State: A Primer."
* In the original article, this was referred to as the School Liberation Movement.
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.