Abolish public schools?

Wow.  I am convinced homeschooling is the best for anyone who wants to do it, and I’ve long been calling schools factories a la John Taylor Gatto, but it never occurred to me to go as far as comparing the institution of public schooling with the institution of slavery. Cevin Soling does, however.  His article Why Public Schools Must Be Abolished is an eye opener; probably even more so if you haven’t thought about homeschooling.  He makes good points, though I think abolishing is too much.  I think schools must change, and we are at the beginning of a revolution in education.  I’d like to see schools become public resources, like the library, and allow for more independent, individual study that is flexible to put families first. They should be voluntary and the focus needs to be on building experience, not performing on tests.

On a similar note, coincidentally, I’ve been reading Seth Godin‘s ebook, Stop Stealing Dreams: What is School For?  and Peter Gray just published the some results of his small survey of unschoolers he conducted last fall, The Benefits of Unschooling.

I wish I had more time to write but I’m trying to keep us from staying up too late.  Good night!



  1. Fascinating article…Andrew and I often debate the public school system – he is extremely anti-public school and while I definitely think something needs to change I also understand that there are literally millions of kids in that system and to “fix” the problem right now, today…I am at a loss. In his final paragraph “The insistence that alternatives to public schooling must be presented in any discussion that attacks public schooling is a diversionary tactic that need not be entertained. Abolition of slavery was not postponed until there was a clear vision for how to integrate millions of former slaves into society.” clearly states what I have failed to see…we did abolish slavery and things were really uncomfortable for many years (decades, etc) while they integrated into society, however, for the most part they were adults. Andrew has often called public schools “daycare” and on so many levels it is and for many it’s necessary (or they think so) as both parents work and the children are much to young to stay home so what are the alternatives? How do we get there knowing that something needs to change and not everyone is capable or willing to home-school or unschool as you call it. As someone that doesn’t have children on one hand it’s easy for me to be somewhat dismissive but one day I hope we have children and I would love there to be some solid options out there. I sincerely admire your stance with educating your children, being perfectly honest I don’t know if I am cut out to unschool – I would like to think I am but I guess I won’t know until I get there. Thanks for making me think and I can’t wait to share this article with Andrew.


  2. Thanks for writing Anna. You bring up a good point I hadn’t seen mentioned in all the comments and linked articles I read following this one. I’m sure there were a lot of children impacted by the abolishment of slavery though. But that is another reason I think abolishment would be drastic and it’s more reasonable to change things rather than just throw it all away without a plan.

    Andrew is far from the first person I’ve heard call school “daycare.” It certainly does serve that purpose. But I’m convinced anyone who wants to homeschool can do so. I’ve heard of families in which parents work opposite shifts. Other families have family businesses. There are many creative possibilities. Also, I think many people don’t consider the costs thoroughly. We don’t need so much stuff. Often one parent staying home really is cheaper because going to work costs more in transportation, clothing, etc. And to homeschool all you really must have is a library card, which is free. Stay away from curriculum and design your own learning projects and you’ll spend way less money. Those are just a few ideas for starters.

    Note I said that anyone who *wants* to homeschool can do so. I think my main issue with the idea of abolishing school all at once is that there would be so many children whose parents would not know what to do with them. It’s sad, but true. I think simply making school a voluntary resource from which all of us can select what we need is the way to go.

    As for you, after you’ve spent a couple of years with a child, you may see that no one else could care as much about him or her as you do, and that’s all it takes to be able to homeschool. It’s just continuing to parent throughout childhood. We guide our babies and toddlers and preschoolers through the time of their most rapid learning — they learn to walk and talk! — and we just need to continue providing a loving, nurturing environment as the years go on.


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