The Public Education Disaster

Public education in Australia is truly a disaster, that needs to be urgently addressed in the nation. It is a disaster in many ways.

I.Ideologically:                                                                                                                          For generations, the Australian community has had to endure an imposition of ideology through its various education departments. This in itself is logical, and of itself, is not wrong. Everyone has (and should have), an ideology, which will find its expression in every family.

But these impositions have a number of disturbing manifestations for the Australian community, which should be understood by every parent.

a) Public education neatly complies with socialist and a Marxist dogma. It necessitates the control of children through compulsory education, by people other than their parents. This is espoused as a form of parental delegation but in practice, real delegation hardly takes place at all.

In fact, teachers are trained at university to be “change agents,” quietly confronting and often undermining the views and values of childrens’ parents. The notion of real delegation to teaching staff, whereby parents are truly represented by teachers is for most State school teachers, a fanciful and ridiculous conception.

John Taylor Gatto drew attention to this. He wrote that:

schooling is a form of adoption…you give your kid away at his most plastic years to a group of strangers. You accept a promise…that the State (through its agents) knows better how to raise your children and educate them than you, your neighbours, your grandparents, [and] your local traditions do, and that your kid will be better off…in the key hours of growing up, strangers have reared the kid. [1]

b) Public education espouses political correctness. This is much, much different to social propriety and decency. It means the unwarranted restriction of conversation and language, from subjects which traditionally have been quite acceptable. It means that we are no longer able to deal frankly in an educational context, with controversial subjects that our political leaders may not wish to be discussed. This is a violation of freedom of speech, fundamental in any free society.

Restrictions of the freedom of speech and public expression, have historically been the first steps towards a totalitarian state. When people cannot speak their mind without fear, their nation is truly heading downhill. This is a subtle form of national intellectual subterfuge, which should be met head-on everywhere.

The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.  H.L. Mencken.                                                                                                                           

c) Public education implicitly endorses an amoral morality. Traditional, Christian morality is rejected, in favour of an “anything goes” morality. So, what’s wrong with sex out of marriage? Why shouldn’t people have multiple sexual partners?

This means that millions of students annually, are being subjected to political and social indoctrination and manipulation, through a government department.

The modern State seeks to steal the legacy of the faithful: the hearts and minds of children. The educational bureaucrats today have imposed a massive system of ideological kidnapping on the voters. This is the inherent nature of all compulsory education, regulated education, and tax-funded education. Education is not neutral. The bureaucrats have built a gigantic system of humanist indoctrination with funds extracted from all local residents in the name of common-ground education.[2]

When an educational curriculum cannot endorse a Biblical and traditional view of morality, marriage and family, we know it needs to be rejected.

II. Economically:                                                                                                                     There isn’t a free market in education. Market forces are effectively stifled by the bureaucracies-the Departments of Education.

Competition? Don’t think so. The Departments protect their monopoly through the various Education Acts. Rivals to the monopolies are only permitted through departmental authorisation; a classic way of restricting competition, or putting the fox in charge of the hen-house. This is a national scandal in a free country, and should be treated as such.

One of the principal reasons we got into the mess we’re in is that we allowed schooling to become a very profitable monopoly, guaranteed its customers by the police power of the state. Systematic schooling attracts increased investment only when it does poorly, and since there are no penalties at all for such performance, the temptation not to do well is overwhelming.[3]

The institutionalised monopoly through a controlling Department fosters a massive, top-heavy and inefficient bureaucracy. The taxpayers are compelled to contribute over $13,000 for each child’s school education, annually. Our Australian educational sector is mirrored by that of the United States, of which John Russman recently wrote that it

…is about as inflexible the European labour market – the entire structure is hugely inefficient because it is detached from measures of quality and student time-on-task, under-compensating many excellent teachers and at the same time institutionalizing the employment of poor ones. Meanwhile, the failure of parents to maintain a heavy involvement in their kids’ education, in the belief that the responsibility for education, personal responsibility and moral development can simply be thrust onto teachers, is a problem that money alone can’t address.[4]

Attendance at school requires a massive waste of students’ time, in commuting to school daily. Added to this enormous loss of time, is the cost to taxpayers for the necessary trains, buses, trams and ferries, the added congestion on roads through school attendance, and the costs to parents (in both time and money) of getting their children to school in the family car, along with uniforms and other expenses.

Schools themselves represent an enormous and inefficient drain on the taxpayer. Most schools are open about 200 days (40 weeks, 5 days a week) in the year: about 55% of the calendar days. Being only used generally between about 8am and 4pm (a third of a day’s hours), means they are really utilised by students for less than 20% of the hours of the year. This fact alone should prompt the reconsideration of the value of schools.

Unlike homes, are they really a useful and efficient means of education?  Gatto has also written:

I want you to consider the frightening possibility that we are spending far too much money on schooling, not too little. I want you to consider that we have too many people employed in interfering with the way children grow up – and that all this money and all these people, all the time we take out of children’s lives and away from their homes and families and neighborhoods and private explorations – gets in the way of education.[5]

On top of this, the hapless taxpayer is compelled to pick up the bill whenever schools are targeted by graffiti artists or arsonists, a common phenomenon. What is clear is that “any long-term solution to our education problems requires the decentralization that can come from competition.” [6]

III.Educationally:                                                                                                                    With minimal investigation, parents themselves can educate their children much better, than if they are at a State school. It is cheaper, and more efficient. Home schooled children can easily be educated for 5% of the costs of that child, at school. Furthermore, the home education environment permits a marvellous level of flexibility unknown in the class-room, bringing parents and their children, closer together.

Many hundreds of parents have shown over more than twenty years, that they can do a great job of educating their child at home. At home, there are not the conflicts with a departmentally controlled system or a school over parental values, a teacher’s attitudes or political correctness. Furthermore, there are no drugs available in the playground, no immorality taught or practiced in the classroom and no schoolyard bullying.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                 

State education has been a disaster both in Australia, and the rest of the world.  The rigidity, inefficiencies, poor values and political correctness of State educational systems, are stifling the achievement of Australian children. Furthermore, the costs to the taxpayer of our compulsory, inflexible system are exorbitant. Quite simply, the system is robbing us; perhaps even killing us.

Mark Twain once quipped, “don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”

The sooner Australian families reject the socialist, bureaucratic, compulsory and inefficient methods of educating children represented by State schools, for better educational means and opportunities which permit proper, informed and unimpeded parental choice, the better.

Parental control of child rearing, especially education, is one of the bulwarks of liberty. No nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family…The best way to improve education is to return control to the parents who know best what their children need.[7] 


[1] John Taylor Gatto, “State Controlled Consciousness,” 1990 (?).

[2] North, ibid, ch. 28.

[3] Gatto, J., “The Public Education Nightmare,” Lew Rockwell website, 22/7/2010.

[4] “Misallocating Resources ,”J. P. Hussman, Ph.D., 12/7/2010, at http://www.hussman.com

[5] Gatto, ibid.

[6] Walter Williams (Professor of Economics at George Mason University), “Dumbest Generation Getting Dumber,” Lew Rockwell website, November 3rd, 2009.

[7] Dr Ron Paul, (U.S. Republican Senator), 2007.