It has been observed that anything which is done automatically is better done by hand. So it is and has been and with worsening results with education when done compulsorily. The guilds of the 12th through the 18th century were exceedingly successful in educating its apprentice students in skills necessary to carry on survival in a maturing society, raising its head from the Dark Ages.
Where we went wrong was, not in providing school houses for our children in which they could read books and ask questions of a preceptor but, in passing laws making it compulsory to attend. In fact our civilization began, almost imperceptibly, to decline the moment we as adults agreed to be forced to sending our children “to school legally”, and of course accepting fiscal funding through taxation for this encroachment on the rights of children and parents.
“Life is the best educator”, is a saying that over and over again has been accepted by the multitudes, and this is not true in any sense. Life does not induce anyone to think better, act better, respond faster, create more: only the individual’s will to conquer his environment, only the individual’s determination to achieve completely that which the individual most wants to achieve is the chief inducement to think better, act better, respond faster, create more. What life does teach is what happens if one does not “get along with others.” And this lesson has the apparency of being wise, when in fact it has the opposite effect. Examine the lives of any man or woman who has established themselves equitably in life, who are productive members of society, typical men and women as well as great men and women who are self-reliant, self-determined persons, and in that examination will be still found 1) the willingness to learn from their own observation and 2) competence derived from applying their willingness to observe.
When any honest research is done, the only time compulsory education worked, worked when it was used solely for military or religious purposes. Today and for the future these uses are superfluous necessities as a compulsory practice. If a person can’t be trusted to align him or herself with an abiding philosophy about life then that person isn’t long for this world and is a detriment to the society.
For the most part compulsory education is regimentation as it was in its inception. Men need to think freely, act freely and perceive that they are free to do so even in a society which has given in to compulsory practices such as compulsory education. We did away with conscription, finally, and likewise we would be well advised to do away with compulsory education, even compulsory health care.
What to do in their absence? That requires diligent research and testing. Which requires, naturally the self-determined, non-compulsory desire to discover and learn. Whose willing?