Home Education As An Alternative To Oppressive Formal Schooling


Pink Floyd, clearly upset with the rigid educational system and the prevailing powers inside educational institutions, sang in the chorus of their 1979 song ‘Another Brick in the Wall’:

“We don’t need no education,
We don’t need no thought control,
No dark sarcasm in the classroom,
Teachers leave them kids alone”

The song had sparked much controversy and was even banned in South Africa in 1980, because it incited a nationwide school boycott of non-whites who had adopted the song as their anthem for protests against the unfair educational system at that time (Sander, n.d.).[1]

This post will deal with power related ‘systemic violence’ that exists in schooling, and how this violence oppresses pupils. The relationship between power and systemic inequalities in the educational context is barely scrutinized. There rather seems to be a consensus that education is always positive or at least neutral. As a result, the following is rarely questioned: what type of education do we actually mean when we engage in conversations on education? In this post, I will firstly make the distinction between schooling and education and then put forward an analysis of systemic violence in formal schooling. The difference between schooling and education is important in our discussion, because what follows will be a critique of formal schooling and not of education per se. Subsequently, I will suggest that systemic violence and oppression in modern schooling are historically related to the intentions of the first national school reformers in 18th century Prussia. I will show that businesses and the state have always had vested interests in the control of public education. They formalized a compulsory school system with the aim of creating an obedient and disciplined citizenry who cannot develop critical consciousness, and hence cannot transform their worlds. An analysis of the political history in schooling is particularly important for understanding how the political and economic discourses have shaped the way oppression is currently manifested in schooling, which I will discuss in the section thereafter. I will furthermore contend that although compulsory schooling creates psychological impotence, society has increasingly attributed more educational responsibilities to the state. Following Ivan Illich’s (1971) argument to deschool society, I will finally argue that home education can be a suitable alternative to rebalance educational responsibilities more in favour of parents, and less in favour of the state. In addition, I will assert that there is more room for affective learning care in home education than in formal schooling, which may be a solution to protect children from systemic violence. However, I will also resort to an epistemological modesty which prevents me from claiming that home education is the best or only solution for systemic violence. I am aware that my recommendation is only suitable for those parents who are privileged to have enough economic, social and cultural capital to home educate their children. Finally, one possible counter-argument against home education – that home education makes fewer opportunities for solidary learning care available and hence restricts children in their socialization – will be raised and dealt with accordingly.

Schooling and Education
Firstly, a distinction between schooling and education has to be made in order to set the target of my criticism clearly. Bertrand Russell and John Dewey viewed education as a humanistic practice which could pave the way to social change into a free, just and equal society. This view of education has its roots in the Enlightenment, and basically means that the role of education is to assist students in their development into an authentic self. (Chomsky, 2000, pp. 37-38) Education should lead to the development of students who are unique in their personalities and interests (Rothbard, 1979, pp. 4-5). At the heart of this Enlightenment view lies the normative conviction that students should not become tools of power, moulded and controlled to serve the purposes of authorities. Equality, sharing, cooperation and community building should instead be the norm of education. Education happens therefore in direct relationship with the community. It is therefore absurd to believe that education is only limited to schooling which can be accordingly defined as the formal educational instruction that takes place in school. Schooling is just one form of education and does not equal it (Ward, 2013, p. 28). Ivan Illich (1971) writes that our life is an overwhelmingly large learning ground in which our learning is not interfered with by school teachers (Illich, 1971, p. 14). It is this formal schooling which is permeated with systemic violence that will be the target of my critique. Next I will present a short history of compulsory schooling, and how political and business classes have always had vested interests in this matter.

The political and business interests in compulsory schooling
As any approach to history is subjected to a particular perspective, and is therefore non-neutral, so too have I approached the history of compulsory schooling from a certain standpoint; namely that of domination and systemic violence in the struggle for political and business influence. Already since at least Ancient Greece, rulers understood that the control over the child’s development, and therefore the control over his or her education, has been important means to secure their political power. Any possible revolution that could ensue from an enlightened and questioning citizenry could hence be suppressed. Henry Louis Mencken (1924) writes that

[T]he aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment to all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. (Mencken, 1924, p. 504)

In Sparta for example, which was ruled by a totalitarian warrior class, children were taken away from their families and “educated in barracks to the ideal of State obedience” (Rothbard, 1979, p. 19). The Spartans understood very well that state education was a powerful means to develop the child into agents who will be passively obedient to the state. During the time of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther and John Calvin had also sought after the state’s control over education to ensure that every child is taught their teachings in state schools so that the spiritual war against the devil could be waged successfully. However, it was in Prussia in 1717 where the first national system of compulsory schooling was inaugurated by King William Frederick I who fervently believed in the virtues of monarchical absolutism. In order to maintain his power he deemed it necessary to develop a citizenry with iron discipline. (Rothbard, 1979, pp. 20-25) Carl Abraham von Zedlitz, one of the chief ministers of King Frederick II, told the Berlin Academy in 1777 that “an enlightened ruler prefers to govern subjects who serve and obey out of love and conviction, not those mired in the slavish habits of forced servitude” (van Horn Melton, 1988, p. xxii). Schools had therefore been reformed in order to train children to respect authority through self-disciplinary methods. However, it was not until King William Frederick III in 1807 that all education was practically placed directly under the Ministry of the Interior. For this he had gained much support from the intellectual class in Prussia, including the German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte. Devastated by the defeat of Prussian forces at Jena against Napoleon in 1806, Fichte addressed to the German nation that the loss was due to the lack of military discipline among Prussian soldiers whose own will interfered with their military commandments. To avoid any future defeat, free will of the Prussian people should be destroyed in state schools. Fichte states in 1807:

[I]f you want to influence [the student] at all, you must do more than merely talk to him; you must fashion him, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than what you wish him to will. (Fichte, 1807, p. 21)

According to Fichte, the political class should therefore psychologically subordinate its citizens to the point that they are unconscious of their personal emancipative powers.[2] The Prussian state soon implemented new policies to restrict and manipulate the emancipative consciousness of its citizens. Just five years later in 1812, the state decided to install school graduation examinations and state certificates for all teachers (Rothbard, 1979, p. 25). The child’s schooling was based on strict coercion, repetitive tasks, compulsory attendance, regular testing, children’s classification by age, and time organization according to bell ringing. This Prussian model had soon formed the inspiration for the educational system in the rest of Europe and the United States.[3] The rise of national compulsory schooling was also linked to the rise of industrialization, and was encouraged by business interests (von Horn Melton, 1988, p. xiii). As industrialization had still not lifted most families out of extreme poverty, many parents sent their children at the age of six or seven to work in factories where they worked twelve to sixteen hours a day. The children were oftentimes beaten in order to keep them awake and to prevent them from falling into the machinery, which could mutilate or even kill them. (Russell, 1953, p. 20) In the unfortunate event that children would fall into the machinery, the factory owners would have to stop the production line resulting in greater operational costs. It was hence in the interests of industrialists that industrial workers were disciplined, showed up on time, and were accustomed to mindless labour. (Toffler, 2007, p. 52) The great industrialists understood that immense profits could be made from a dumbed down and obedient citizenry.[4] Therefore the benefits of an obedient citizenry, trained in compulsory schooling, provided the perfect opportunity for businesses to cooperate with the state. John Taylor Gatto (2009) writes that “[I]t is in the interest of complex management, economic or political, to dumb people down, to demoralize them, to divide them from one another, and to discard them if they don’t conform” (Gatto, 2009, p. xx). Children had to be moulded in such a way that they could serve the industrial class by accepting work orders without asking questions.

In this section I have put forward why state and business interests have historically always wanted a dumbed down and obedient citizenry. In the next section I will present what types of practices have been implemented to achieve this goal, and how these practices in the school system have resulted in ongoing systemic violence in schooling these days.

Systemic violence in schooling
Systemic violence is defined as the “institutionalized practice or procedure that adversely impacts on individuals or groups by burdening them psychologically, mentally, culturally, spiritually, economically or physically” (Epp, 1996, p. 3). I would like to assert that even though a system can be purposively systematically violent, the persons that work inside the system do not necessarily intend to be oppressive, nor do they have to be aware of the system’s oppressive nature. Systemic violence is often the result of unintentional consequences that have resulted from well-meaning authorities. An additional problem with systemic violence is that its victims are often unaware that this violence is inflicted upon them. (Epp, 1996, p. 1) The dominated can hence develop a false consciousness that they are fully emancipated and that the system they live in is a just social order.[5] I will deal with certain practices of systemic violence that institutionally oppress children so that they cannot develop a distinct and confident personhood. I believe that these practices manifest themselves in what Paolo Freire (1968) has called the ‘banking concept’ of education. Under the banking concept, the teachers who are the narrating Subjects fill the students, the listening Objects, with information in a similar fashion as money is deposited, filed, and stored into a bank account. Likewise, the student receives, memorizes, and repeats that what is deposited. (Freire, 1968, p. 53) Freire writes that knowledge under the banking concept is perceived as “a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those who they consider to know nothing” (Freire, 1968, p. 53). This projection of ignorance onto others is a fundamental characteristic of the school’s oppression, and it is through this projection that the teacher justifies his dominant existence, but alienates the students from reality. The students never discover that they educate the teacher and that the teacher is dependent on the students’ recognition for his or her existence. [6] (Freire, 1968, p. 53) The banking concept manifests its oppressive nature in student-teacher relationships where, for example, teachers talk while students listen, where teachers choose the content of that what is taught, while students are passive adapters etc.[7] Following the banking concept, students become passive and do not develop critical consciousness or distinct personalities. This deprives them from the ability to become transformers of their world. (Freire, 1968, p. 54) In ‘Against School’ (2003), John Taylor Gatto writes that our society has accepted the subjection of our children to the oppressive “deadly routine” of “six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years” in schools (Gatto, 2003, p. 2). Gatto (1992) furthermore asserts that the “meaningless routines insulate people from life itself, blind them to what is happening around them, and deaden the moral faculties” (Gatto, 1992, p. xvii). How can one expect that children who spend so much time in classrooms, totally separated from real life, develop a deeper consciousness of reality? The false reality in classrooms is one in which they live with peers of the same age, where the bathroom cannot be used without permission, where they must raise their hands before speaking, and where even their speech is regulated and must comply with the teacher’s interests. In the classroom reality, children are moreover deprived from their freedom to think and to focus on their own thoughts. In a speech entitled ‘The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher’,[8] Gatto states that the teacher’s first lesson is confusion. Confusion is taught by teaching facts that do not relate to the children’s reality. Children are taught a wide range of subjects, but without any depth or connected facts so that what they learn becomes meaningless within their realities. (Gatto, 1992, pp. 2-3) The second lesson is class position. Students must stay in the class where they belong, and they are numbered so that they can be returned to the right class if they escape. The children under the schoolteacher will not be able to imagine themselves in another place. Their place is among other children with the same age and the same class number. In addition, they are taught to envy better classes and to have contempt for dumber classes (Gatto, 1992, pp. 4-5). The third lesson is indifference. “Bells inoculate each undertaking with indifference” (Gatto, 1992, p. 6) by making students who are enthusiastic about a subject drop his or her thoughts and enthusiasm in order to move on to the next class. Most of the classes however, are filled with boredom and repetition of tasks. Boredom and repetition, I believe, have the goal of weeding out those who remain resistant and are difficult to control. These students become marginalized in the system, and are labeled as those with ‘behavioural disorders’.[9] The fourth lesson is emotional dependency. Children are taught to pursue prizes, honours, stickers etc. so that they become dependent on the teacher’s interests, favours and compliments. In occasions that the teacher allows the student to express his or her individuality, like for example talking in class or sneaking away to the toilet, the student becomes thankful for the teacher’s favours. The fifth lesson is intellectual dependency as students are trained to wait for the teacher to instruct them what to do. They are not encouraged to think and act for themselves. (Gatto, 1992, p. 7) In a highly commercialized society they become continuously dependent on advertisements to tell them how to dress, how to live, and what to consume. In other words, they learn to conform to business interests. The sixth lesson is provisional self-esteem. The student’s self-respect has become dependent on ‘expert opinion’. Monthly reports, marks, and percentage points are introduced to teach students the false reality that they should not trust their self-evaluation.[10] The seventh lesson is that no pupil can hide. Each student is under constant surveillance and is rewarded for reporting bad behaviour of fellow students. (Gatto, 1992, pp. 9-10) Foucault (1975) writes that constant surveillance of social institutions is an exercise of ‘disciplinary power’ which maintains particular power relations.[11] Persons who are continually monitored for disruptive behaviour will adjust their behaviour according to the rules of those in power so that physical coercion becomes unnecessary. (Roberts, 2005, p. 34) All seven lessons are manifestations of systemic violence. They oppress the pupils into obedience, and train them into disciplined citizens who lack critical consciousness. Schools nonetheless claim that the knowledge they impart on pupils is neutral and serves no subjective purposes. Chomsky (2000) however, asserts that “[T]he pretense of objectivity as a means to distort and misinform in the service of the doctrinal system should be sharply condemned” in relation with schooling (Chomsky, 2000, p. 20). The existence of such oppressive practices should be no surprise once we consider the history of business and state interests in compulsory schooling. It is furthermore also important to realize that practices of systemic violence do not solely affect everyone in similar negative ways. Some students may flourish under such practices more than others, which results in greater inequality.[12] (Epp, 1996, p. 3)

Considering that schooling exercises systemic violence to mould children into obedient citizens for business and state interests, we are left with the question how we should improve the education of our children. Freire (1968) sees education as a source for potential resistance and social transformation. He proposes the problem-based educational model as a substitution of the banking model. Problem-based education can liberate the students through dialogue and the development of critical consciousness (Freire, 1968, p. 61).[13] Although it is important and interesting to discuss which educational models are most beneficial for students, my discussion is limited to a reconsideration of which social entity – the family, the state or corporations – should bear the main responsibility over the child’s education. The philosopher Ivan Illich (1971) believes that the solution is the deschooling of society. Illich writes that schools are institutions where values are institutionalized, and he warns that such practices lead to “physical pollution, social polarization, and psychological impotence” (Illich, 1971, p. 3). He goes on to write that “[E]ducational disadvantage cannot be cured by relying on education within the school” (Illich, 1971, p. 5). Our society has attributed to schools the right to appropriate funds, and educators to educate the public while stripping away educational tasks from other institutions like family and religious institutions. At the moment, society has given overwhelming responsibility to the state for fixing the current schooling system. As a result, the decision-making over the education of children has become more centralized into the hands of the state,[14] albeit in varying degrees between states. However, considering that the state has always attempted to perpetuate systemic violence in order to promote obedience and to restrict the citizenry’s critical consciousness, I would like to propose home education as one of many other possible alternatives which will rebalance educational responsibilities more in favour of parents, and less in favour of the state. It is important to note that home education may not be the best alternative for everyone, nor should it be considered the only solution to systemic violence in schooling. I will nonetheless present the following three important arguments in favour of home education:

  • Parents are more affectionately involved with the educational development of the child;
  • The child can be sheltered from systemic violence and oppression in schools;
  • Home educated children show better scholastic performance.

Home education as an alternative
Parents’ greater affectionate involvement with the child’s education
Jiddu Krishnamurti (1981) writes that because parents are too “absorbed in their own problems” (Krishnamurti, 1981, p. 86), they shift the responsibility of educating the child to the teacher. A parent that loves his or her child, according to Krishnamurti, is “in complete communion” (Krishnamurti, 1981, p. 88) with the child and is willing to provide the right education that stimulates the child to grow sensitive and intelligent. Choosing to home educate your children in a society where it is the norm to send children to schools requires a thoughtful decision. Home education also requires the parent to go through some significant personal sacrifices. The parent sacrifices for example his or her work hours and the corresponding opportunity benefits of a paid job, and he or she has to research and study the educational material in order to be able teach and assist the child. The sacrifices that the parent has to take in order to home educate the child work as a weeding out mechanism of parents who may think that the child’s educational development is not worth the sacrifice.[15] The home, in contrast to school, provides also more room for affectionate education. Maggie Feeley (2009) has stated that the affective domain has great significance on our capacity to learn new skills and knowledge (Feeley, 2009, p. 204). She writes that persons who are sustained by the affective relationship with their family are more encouraged and supported to learn (Feeley, 2009, p. 207). I do not see any reason why education in schools, which is the place for secondary learning care,[16] cannot happen in the familial situation, the place for primary learning care relationships. Richard Medlin (2000) writes that home educating parents believe that the home provides a safe and positive learning environment for the child. The child is encouraged to put the skills learned at home into practice in the greater world. The affectionate relationship between parent-child and the successful practice of skills in the greater world are important means for the child to build self-esteem. (Medlin, 2000, p. 109) Henk Blok (2002) asserts that many studies have shown that homeschooled children have a more positive self-conception, and fewer behavioural problems such as anxieties and aggression (Blok, 2002, pp. 5-6).

Protecting the child from schools’ systemic violence and oppression
Homeschooling families believe that “institutional norms and structures within schools created destructive, rather than supportive, learning environments for children” (Fields-Smith & Williams, 2008, p. 376). In a study of 24 Black home educators, the majority have stated that their negative experiences with for example inequities, prejudice, anti-religious curricula, and racism in public and private schools have made them decide to home educate their children (Fields-Smith & Williams, 2008, pp. 376-379). Opponents often accuse home education for promoting segregated education as if segregation is necessarily bad. However, even in highly integrated schools stigmatization of children from different cultural backgrounds can be common. Michael Merry (2013) writes that the aims of integration in schools do not always promote greater equality. Equality requires mutual recognition and a sense of self-respect. For some children it may be good to receive their education outside integrationist settings if these settings institute systemic violence, and lack the factors necessary for mutual recognition and the development of self-respect. The home can be an environment that includes “a caring ethos, cultural recognition, and positive role modeling” (Merry, 2013, p. 114). It may foster a safe and supportive educational environment in which parents teach their children, because they love them. From parental love, these children can be recognized as fully equals so that they develop self-respect and an emancipated consciousness. However, as governments cannot oversee and control what is taught at home, it is no surprise that homeschooling is illegal in many countries.[17] It is regarded by many states as politically subversive.

Home educated children show greater scholastic performance
Children who are educated at home develop greater scholastic progress according to most research (Blok, 2002, p. 3). Blok has stated that some researchers have even shown that home educated 6 year olds, on average, are mentally as advanced as 7 year olds who have received their education in schools. By the age that the home educated student reaches 14 years he or she will be as advanced as 18 year old peers who have been instructed in schools. (Blok, 2002, p. 5) Furthermore, Clemente (2006) had conducted research in which home educated high school seniors were compared to schooled students. He found that home educated students’ mean test score on the SAT was 1123, compared to 1054 and 1039 for private- and public-schooled students respectively (Snyder, 2013, p. 289). Snyder (2013) had moreover looked at GPA scores of 408 college students of whom 137 were public schooled, 142 Catholic schooled, and 129 were home educated. According to his findings, home educated students have a GPA of 3.14 compared to 2.66 for the public schooled. (Snyder, 2013, pp. 299-300)

As I have mentioned before, home education may not be the best alternative for everyone. When the poor generally do not have the economic privilege to forego paid employment in order to home educate their children, it is necessary that other solutions for oppressive schooling are developed. Parents who have greater economic means can spend more time with their children, effectively making it easier for them to choose for home education. Families may also differ in the amount of social and cultural capital available to them. Some may for example have had more education which makes it easier for them to attain the educational knowledge to teach their children properly. Therefore, I would like to emphasize that home education does not solve the inequality problem between families. However, I would like to maintain an epistemological modesty and admit that I do not know what the best solution with respect to inequality and education is.[18] Nonetheless, I believe that the matter of education is too important to leave it predominantly in the hands of state and business interests.

Finally, I will address one possible argument against home education. The argument is that home education neglects the socialization of children and so whilst more affective in some ways, it makes less opportunities for solidary learning care available.

Counter-argument to home education: it neglects socialization of children
It is an often heard concern about home education: what if children do not learn to deal with the various members of society, because they receive their education at home in a segregated setting? Socialization, defined as “the process by which individuals learn to establish and maintain relationships with others” (Lebeda, 2007, p. 101), involves social interaction between the child and others. Many fear that home educated children may lack socialization, and therefore they develop “interpersonal conflicts, social isolation, and development of aggressive behavior” (Lebeda, 2007, p. 103). However, Blok (2004) maintains that many studies have shown that children who are home educated “had better developed social skills and were more mature” (Blok, 2004, p. 47). Some studies showed “fewer behavioral problems in home-schooled children” (Blok, 2004, p. 48) and that whereas the motivation for learning “declined with age in the average school pupil, it remained consistent, or even increased, in home-schooled children” (Blok, 2004, p. 48). I believe that interactions per se are not the most important factor of socialization – what is more important is the meaningfulness of relationships. Home educators have asserted that schooled children are often not encouraged to solve social problems, due to the emphasis on test scores and learning academics. In addition, they attack the notion that the school is the only place where the child can socialize. Turansky writes that:

[T]he school is not the only place children can find friends and peer group interaction. Churches and communities offer other activities, many of which focus more on healthy social interaction than the school does. Sports, music, youth groups and service groups teach children how to be productive in relationships and to use good social interaction to be a positive influence on society. These activities may offer enough or even more than enough peer contact. (Lebeda, 2007, p. 103)

Home educators can also provide the socialization environments for their children by letting them interact beyond school peers, like for example with adults and social clubs. Schools on the other hand, due to student classification by age, restrict children in their socialization with real life people; adults, workers, and children from other age groups.

In setting forward the distinction between schooling and education it has become obvious that education is not only restricted to schools. Education happens everywhere, including in the family, in the work place, in leisure time etc. Society has nonetheless attributed to schools the main task of educating children. An analysis of the history of schooling has however shown that states and businesses have historically always had interests in using schools as training grounds to mould children into obedient and disciplined citizens. They are trained to become incapable of developing critical consciousness, effectively making them unable to transform their worlds. For this purpose, systemic violence and oppression have been institutionalized in schools. In addition, I have proposed home education as an alternative to rebalance educational responsibilities more in favour of parents, and less in favour of the state. I have contended that home education is, albeit not the only possible or the best alternative for everyone, attractive for three reasons: firstly, the home is suitable for affectionate education; secondly, the child can be sheltered from systemic violence and oppression in schools; and thirdly, home educated children show better scholastic performance than their peers instructed in schools. I have moreover noted that home education does not solve the inequality problem. It is easier for families with greater resources to choose for home education. Lastly, I have responded to the possible counter-argument that home education neglects the socialization of children whilst it is more affective in some ways.

[1] South Africa was still under the apartheid regime. Apparently the strong message in the song had found its resonance in the hearts of black South Africans who felt that the educational system, with its intricate layers of power, treated them unfairly and served to maintain the unequal social statuses that were heavily determined by skin colour rather than character. Although education can be a means to empower people, it can also be a means for one social class to oppress another as was the case in South Africa.

[2] Antonio Gramsci writes that the hegemon strengthens his dominant position when subordinates lose any perspective of emancipation and opposition through a lack of “consciousness of their own existence and of their own strength” (Pozzolini, 1970, p. 73).

[3] Horace Mann has been one of the key persons who successfully sought after the instalment of Prussian-based compulsory education in the United States in the first half of the 19th century. (Gatto, 2009, p. 15)

[4] A congressional investigation committee in 1954 in the United States has found that certain industrialists through tax-exempt foundations like the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation have heavily financed particular researchers, school administrators and university chairs with the purpose of controlling education (Wormser, 1958, p. 3).

[5] Pierre Bourdieu (1991) regards the condition in which those subjected believe in the “legitimacy of power and the legitimacy of those who wield it” (Thompson, 1991, p. 25) as a condition of symbolic violence, because it perpetuates a social structure that serves the dominant class and oppresses the ignorant victims.

[6] Freire (1968) compares it with the Hegelian master-slave dialectic without much detail (Freire, 1968, p. 53). The similarity with Hegel’s dialectic, I believe, can be found in Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) in which he explains the dialectical movement from consciousness to self-consciousness. Hegel argues that after a life and death struggle between two consciousnesses, one becomes master over the other. The master gains certainty over his own self-consciousness by keeping the slave alive who, through his labour, will recognize the master as the centre of his experience. This however, results in a contradictory relationship in which the existence of the master’s self-consciousness has become dependent on the slave’s recognition. (Dawson, 2007, pp. 396-398)

[7] See Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed for all characteristics of the banking concept of education (Freire, 1968, p. 54).

[8] The speech was delivered on the occasion that Gatto was named “New York State Teacher of the Year” for 1991 (Gatto, 1992, p. 1).

[9] Foucault has maintained that humans are made subjects through control and dependence, and by ascribing them a specific identity or conscience of self-knowledge (Roberts, 2005, p. 34). Psychiatry, according to Foucault, can exercise power by stigmatizing humans as ‘abnormal’ on the basis of psychiatric theoretical frameworks. (Roberts, 2005, p. 37) The stigmatization regulates the patient’s behaviour as he or she starts adjusting his or her conduct in accordance with an altered self-knowledge.

[10] There is the irony that those students who have been marginalized by the school system are accepting and taking full responsibility for the institution’s failure.

[11] Foucault gives the example of the Panopticon, a prison designed by the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, where all prisoners in their cell can be monitored from the central observation tower. (Roberts, 2005, p. 34)

[12] One example is the difference in which boys and girls respond to authority. Girls may have been taught to restrain themselves more, and to accept authority. This can be one factor by which girls generally outperform boys in school.

[13] Freire (1968) writes that “authentic liberation – the process of humanization – is not another deposit to be made in men. Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it” (Freire, 1968, p. 60). He states on dialogue that the relationship of “the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with students-teachers” (Freire, 1968, p. 61).

[14] An example of increased centralization over educational decision-making in the United States is the drastic decline of school districts from 128,000 to less than 15,000 since 1932 (Rothbard, 1979, p. vi).

[15] It is not to say that all parents who send their children to schools are bad parents or do not care about the educational development of their children. However, those parents who educate their children at home are generally more concerned with the educational development of the child.

[16] Feeley (2009) uses the term “learning care” to refer to the impact of care on our learning capacities. There are four types of learning care relationships: primary learning care in the family or alternative primary care centres; secondary learning care in schools; solidary learning care in civil society; and state learning care to provide equality of condition that supports learning across domains of the family, school, and civil society (Feeley, 2009, pp. 204-205).

[17] In 1980, home education was illegal in 30 states in the United States. It was just in 1993, after heavy pressure from home education organizations, that all 50 states made it legal. In Holland, home education was made illegal since 1969. (Blok, 2002, pp. 1-2) In 2010, a German family fled Germany to apply for asylum in the United States, because they were not allowed to home educate their children. The German state had threatened to file criminal charges against the family, and to put their children under state custody. (HSLDA, 2014, February 11)

[18] One way to achieve resource equality in education is through redistribution of wealth. However, can we trust governments to fix the educational problem with financial means? The root of the problem, I believe, is educational methodology – we should rethink what education is, what methodology can best develop critical consciousness, and how this methodology can be implemented on a large scale so that everyone has access to it while still respecting the realities of value pluralism.

Blok, H. (2002). De Effectiviteit van Thuisonderwijs: een Overzicht van Onderzoeksresultaten. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Onderwijsrecht en Onderwijsbeleid, 14, 4, pp. 151-163.

Blok, H. (2004). Performance in Home Schooling: An Argument against Compulsory Schooling in the Netherlands. International Review of Education, 50, 1, pp. 39-52.

Chomsky, N. (2000). Chomsky on MisEducation. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Dawson, R. (2007). Hegel’s Master and Slave. British Journal of Undergraduate Philosophy, 1, 4, pp. 396-410.

Epp, J.R. (1996). Schools, Complicity, and Sources of Violence. In J.R. Epp & A.M. Watkinson (Eds.), Systemic Violence: How Schools hurt Children (pp. 1-24)

Feeley, M. (2009). Living in Care and Without Love – The Impact of Affective Inequalities on Learning Literacy. In K. Lynch, J. Baker & M.Lyons (Eds.), Affective Equality: Love, Care and Injustice (pp. 199-215). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

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