Compulsory schooling

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Compulsory schooling is an educational philosophy in which the right to education has been perverted into a harmful obligation to spend a set number of years in the school system.

Right vs. mandate

Compulsory schooling is frequently confused with the right to education. Rights cannot be compulsory. Societies benefit from knowledgeable citizenry, but coercive learning is usually more harmful than beneficial for wisdom. It takes quite an exercise in deprivation to make citizens illiterate in modern information-rich societes. Those who are doomed to remain illiterate may only face unnecessary years of distress.

Violation of human rights

Compulsory schooling is a violation of child's rights and human rights. It is a form of slavery that needs to end. It is legislated on the basis of good intentions, and dismal ignorance of how the human brain works.

Origins of compulsory schooling

Compulsory schooling has multiple roots and can be traced back to Sparta, Plato, Martin Luther, Frederick I, and many more. It was always close to the reasoning that underlies conscription and religious indoctrination. The quest for coercion in education always indicates the sense of intellectual superiority on the part of rulers, or philosophers who would wish to mold the thinking of the "uneducated" populus. The sense of superiority is always boosted by the inability to empathize with an immature brain, or even with the inability to understand a less knowledgeable brain. This is the curse of knowledge. All things that seem easy for adults are presumed to be equally easy to children (see: Efficient learning relies on prior knowledge). Mandatory education or mandatory military training were thus supposed to help the weak to try to match up to their "strong" leadership. Equally often, coercion was simply used to subjugate the masses.

End to compulsory schooling

If we end the coercion, education may regain its rightful place in society:

  • kids can avoid horrible teachers, and horrible teachers with no students will either self-correct or be fired
  • kids can spend their time on passionate learning instead of cramming
  • kids can get their sleep out without the fear of sanctions
  • unschooling and free learning would thus become legally possible
  • bona fide democratic schools could sprout around the world, not just in the UK or the US
  • less fortunate kids can look for their own best way to find a happy place in society
Compulsory schooling is like compulsory chocolate eating: it can make you sick of the best thing in the world

For more see: Compulsory schooling must end

Further reading

About the monumental misunderstanding about the word "compulsory": Compulsory schooling was never to be compulsory

For history of compulsory schooling see: Education: Free and Compulsory

For a word about the pioneers see: Danny Greenberg, Peter Gray, and Witold Zbijewski (in Poland).

This glossary entry is used to explain "I would never send my kids to school" (2017-2024) by Piotr Wozniak