Alliance for the Separation of School & State
1071 N. Fulton St.
Fresno, CA 93728

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Why transform public schools?
Why not just reform them?

Political by nature

While many wish we could transform every public school into a little red schoolhouse where "all the students are above average" (thank you, Garrison Keillor), tax-financed schools have a fatal flaw that will always keep them from being the best educational option for your children.

  • By definition, public schools are in the "public" sphere, and are thus subject to political winds ? just like your City Hall, your state's legislature, and Congress.

  • Because public schools are political by nature, they always serve individuals and groups with political power.

  • Because public schools always serve those with political power, every decision a school board or administrator makes contains political elements.

  • Because every "improvement" of public schools comes as the result of political pressure, every "improvement" can be undone ? immediately! ? by the next group to seize political power.

Thus it's impossible for you to "have it your way" for your children ? unless you happen to be in perfect harmony with society's political power-brokers.

Unbalanced offspring

Even if you can shrug your shoulders at the political nature of public education, another harsh reality is even more distressing: the plurality and diversity of the political forces that shape public schools yield a system that's prohibited from engaging life's most fundamental questions!

By exiling questions about human origins, destiny, and purpose of life, public schools end up limiting the use of reasoning itself, primarily by restricting it to the material world (e.g., math, physics, and chemistry). Everything else is a "matter of interpretation" and an appeal to emotion, cultural norms and political-correctness, rather than reason. Is it any wonder that our nation's offspring are unbalanced? We've perfected a system of compartmentalization and suspension of reason that can't help but produce skilled but integrity-deprived citizens.

Our conviction

We firmly believe families would be much better off if parents stopped begging politicians to serve their families and started taking full responsibility for their children's education by choosing private schools or home schooling.

The articles below buttress our belief that public eduction cannot be redeemed, regardless of the efforts of concerned students, parents, teachers, administrators and board members.

Public school horror stories

A collection of articles that illustrate the systemic problems of government-run education.

The surprising history and agenda of public schools

Why the state took control of "education"
by Sheldon Richman
According to Richman, the government took control of education in the late 18th Century for social ? not educational ? reasons.

The nine assumptions of modern schooling
by John Taylor Gatto
This tell-all from the 1991 New York State Teacher of the Year reveals that a general distrust of parents and a view that there is one system of values that is best for everyone lies behind public education's mask of congeniality and service.

Why public schools can't be reformed
by Marshall Fritz
In this essay, Fritz examines the inevitable results of politically-driven schooling.

Sunday School, Monday School
by Marshall Fritz
Fritz writes, "The truth is that public schooling is not broken. Rather, it is succeeding in its main objective ? strengthen government by undermining parents."

The KKK's attempt at thought control in Oregon schools
by Jackie Orsi
Orsi's frightening account of the 1920's tug-of-war over schooling in Oregon demonstrates the political nature of public instruction.

The Cement Canoe
by Marshall Fritz
This allegorical essay kicked-off the Alliance's mission to separate schooling from state control.

Bold new vision of the same old thing: Bush's education program repeats past failures
by Marshall Fritz
"Like President Bush, I want better education for every child in America. But it's time to admit that politics and education don't mix. ..."

The historical roots of conflict in America's public schools
A Teachers in Focus magazine (Focus on the Family) review of The Myth of the Common School by Charles Leslie Glenn, in which the reviewer points out that "Although public education seems as American as apple pie, its origins actually go back to Revolutionary France, where the push for common schools was grounded on a profound distrust of parents and religion." Also discussed are Unitarian Horace Mann and his dream of ending crime by establishing private schools.

Heart-piercing essays about public schools

Twenty-one ways "public schools" harm your children
by R. C. Hoiles
Though written nearly a half-century ago, this essay by the father of Freedom Communications rings as true today as it did when it was it was first published in the Santa Ana Register.

We are losing our children
by T. C. Pinckney
T. C. Pinkney, a retired U.S. Air Force General and a 2nd Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention, gave this stirring speech one week after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

Killing off the Catholic Church
by Father Vincent Fitzpatrick
Father Fitzpatrick lays it bare: " most cases, the really systematic separation of the Catholic from the Catholic Faith gets underway in earnest not in the turmoil of adolescence, or through the influence of a non-Catholic romance, but on that morning when Mom and Dad watch proudly as their six-year-old climbs into the government school's big yellow bus."

Latter-day Saints and expulsion
by Lehi Sellers
After recounting the Saints' failure to heed Joseph F. Smith's counsel to support and use stake academies, Sellers concludes by saying that no government employee can guide children the same way God commanded them to be raised.

Teachers' tales

How I joined Teach for America ? and got sued for $20 million
by Joshua Kaplowitz
This article makes one sad for everyone in the story: the children, the parents, the teachers, and even the principle herself ? certainly as a young teacher she never imagined how she would someday behave.... At some point in the future, social scientists will write that separating schools from the state was the Great Emancipator of the Poor. Articles like this will be history our grandchildren will find hard to believe.

Psssst...Wanna' see a letter from a teacher?
by Anon
By using "outlaw" curriculum, one teacher makes a remarkable difference in the lives of his (or her) students.

No Exit: The "Black Hole" of Special Education
by Linda Schrock Taylor
Taylor's experience is that getting a child into Special Ed isn't a problem, but getting him out is.

Double-Dipping: Special Education & Medicaid
by Linda Schrock Taylor
One teacher stands up for what's right in this mind-bending account of failed ethics.

Teachers can't see what system does to them
Bio of Candace Allen
Colorado Enterprising Teacher of the Year for 1989 Candice Allen writes, "Teachers can't see what the system is doing to them."

Educators respond with higher doses of political correctness and Ritalin
Bio of Robyn Miller
"When I was a public school teacher, I used to think the system caused 75 percent of all learning disabilities," Robyn says. "Now I think it's about 99 percent."

Education of the young is out of character for a coercive state
Bio of Dr. Kevin Ryan
Founder and director of the Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character at Boston University, Dr. Ryan recalls Thomas Hodgskin's prescient quote: "Men had better be without education than be educated by their rulers."

The weak case for public schooling

The weak case for public schooling
by David D. Friedman
David Friedman's presentation at a Mont Pelerin Society regional meeting was published in Liberty magazine. Harking back to Adam Smith, he contends the case for government schooling is weak. He summarizes several arguments for such schooling and shows which each fails: Externality Arguments, Information Arguments, Capital Market Failure, and the Egalitarian Argument. Then he debunks some of the common myths about why we have government schools, and proposes vouchers as an intermediate step between government schooling and private schooling.

We need freedom, not school standards
by Sheldon Richman
"Ironically, the basic problem with the schools is that government has been setting standards for over 150 years. Before about 1840, government had little or nothing to do with education in the United States. It didn't set standards. ..."

Education and Empire

The rise of the American Empire
by Cathy Cuthbert
Cuthbert opines, "The best hope for rejection of the American Empire and a resurgence of a love of liberty is homeschooling."

The state of schooling outside the U.S.

Learning about schooling in rural Columbia
by Marshall Fritz
An summary of one of Fritz' edu-fact-finding trips outside the U.S., with a focus on ways to provide schooling for the poor without state, federal, and even local government financing and compulsion.

Compulsory attendance?

Compulsory Attendance
by Mary K. Novello, Ed.D.
In this well documented work, Dr. Novello summaries the history and background of compulsory attendance laws, and concludes with a reasonable recommendation.