Education in a Free Society

edited by Tibor R. Machan
Monday, May 8, 2000

In this radical new indictment of public education, Tibor Machan and his contributors challenge the validity of a compulsory, tax-funded system in a fully free society. They question whether human individuality is in fact compatible with coercive, uniform public schooling, offering sometimes shocking but always thought-provoking insights on a number of topics.

Education in a Free Society argues that the "one size fits all" approach to education is misguided and ultimately very damaging to learning. Since we do not believe in this approach when it come to exercise, nutrition, clothing, or even medicine, the contributors maintain, why is such an approach accepted in education? They question the most basic precepts of the system, even asking why everyone should be forced to learn evolutionary theory or creationism or Spanish or French or the piano or even mathematics, all at the same time and pace in their lives. Comparing public education to slavery, the book argues that the two institutions share some fundamental features—such as "the massive use of government power to support the regimentation, more or less extensively, of the lives of millions of human individuals."

The book also ask why, while more and more families are opting out to private schools and home schooling every year, do relatively few select these options?—and tries to analyze the belief system that is allowing children to be sacrificed to this struggling system generation after generation. With a call for government to abandon the education business entirely, Education in a Free Society suggest that, in place of bureaucracy, we must have entrepreneurship in the provision of education services—and to get the most of entrepreneurship in education, full separation of school and state would be required.

Copyright 2000.