8 votes

Children's Rights and Democratic Education

Truancy laws are age discrimination.

We force children to do what we tell them 8 hours a day 5 days a week at schools "for their own good". I never learned anything at school that I didn't forget a week after the test, and I went to very good schools and got very good grades. It would be good for adults to exercise a couple hours a day but we don't mandate that they be in the gym between the hours of 5-7 and if we see them on the street we'll arrest them for being truant. Public school is supposed to be service provided by the government, not a mandatory prison sentence.

I see this as a "liberty for security" question. Should we sacrifice the liberty (16 or so years worth) of the child for his supposed future financial security? What right do we have to decide that for another human being anyway?
Even if you really believe our current system of schooling will make children more likely to be financially successful, are you will to sacrifice so many years of their lives and have them undergo a huge amount of stress just for a small increase in their chances of being financially successful? Are you using what you learned in school for your job, and if so, couldn't you have learned it from books, the internet, or on the job training anyway?

Some may say, ok then just force them to learn math and reading. But then you endorse the notion that you can force them to learn what you want, and then people will add little by little, and pretty soon you're back to our current system. As stupid politicians try to make us more and more competitive things will get worse and worse. Longer school days, less vacation time, more homework, etc. We already have 7 and 8 year olds staying up all night studying because they think they need to get into Harvard. Obesity is on the rise because all we do is work and sit in school.
Soon we'll see similar problems as Asia:

To those that don't know, there are alternatives. Let your children learn what they are interested in.



I encourage you to start a free/democratic school in your area and help as many of these extremely oppressed children as you can. I encourage you to think for yourself and believe in yourself.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Education IS important

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." -Thomas Jefferson

"It is highly interesting to our country, and it is the duty of its functionaries, to provide that every citizen in it should receive an education proportioned to the condition and pursuits of his life." -Thomas Jefferson

I'm not saying that sitting in state schools 8 hours a day is the answer, but education IS very important for a people.

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till." -J.R.R. Tolkien

thats fine

I think the first step is competition. It should be easy for a parent to send their kids to any private school through something like vouchers, but I think it's very important that vouchers are not restricted to certain types of schools or criterion, so free/democratic schools would still qualify.

Thank you for the post

I agree with this article. I came out of 12 years in an institution who on record has a mission to dumb me down. That institution is the federal government and the department of "education". I have spent 13 years in 5 colleges. I have learned more in the last 6 months about history, law, government and civics than I have in all of those years combined.
Fortunately for me, I had a couple of excellent english teachers and parents who encouraged individuality. Once you have learned the basics, then you should be free to use your mind to think individually. Let us not tether our children from exploration and pursuit of their own God given gifts, talents, and passion. This is natural order.
It's very simple to see that No Child Left Behind was a set up. Take it from a school librarian who has sat through numerous faculty meetings and listened to many professionals. Take it from "the keeper of the books" - with NCLB everyone is a failure - by design. A cruel psychological operation ( a" psy-op"
The demoralization of our children by Madison Avenue and Hollywood will not last. We will no longer tolerate it. The human spirit will not be broken, no matter how hard you try. No way, no how. Not on our watch.
In Liberty,

We (mostly) Unschool

I let them follow their interests but there are some subjects (like math and reading) that are non-negotiable. However, I did(and still do) let them come to that conclusion on their own. For example, my boys (at 7&8)hated math and didn't want to do it. So I said fine, let's see how that works out for ya. About a month passed and they had saved enough money (or so they thought) to buy a Lego set they wanted. They happily marched up to the counter with their hard earned $20.00 and their $19.99 Lego set only to leave empty handed. Needless to say, they were very eager to learn about math (and taxes) after that experience. They're now 12 & 13, love math, hate taxes and balance my checkbook for me. Looking back, I'm really glad I didn't force the issue. If I had, would they enjoy (yes, enjoy) math or look at it as some sort of punishment?
I've never heard of Democratic Education but I'll look into it, thanks for the information.

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life."

- John Lennon


Here is a course on starting a free school


They have a pretty good list of schools on that site as well:

The book Starting a Sudbury School: A Summary of the Experiences of Fifteen Start-Up Groups is pretty good as well:



another list of schools for those interested


I go back and forth

between traditional schooling and democratic school in my "homeschool". On the one hand, I want my kids to know their times tables by the end of third grade, on the other, I know how much they learn when they follow their interests. For instance, our lesson was on Darius I, and the first postal system in Persia (don't tell the neocons the phrase "neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow shall stop the mail originated in Iran-nothing good came out of Iran, don't you know!) They spent the next two days playing post office, making stamps, delivering etc. My oldest gets interested in Bible translation comparisons.

It is interesting to note that democratic school's test scores outdo traditional high school scores. Test scores are the be-all end-all of education after all.

I'm sure

you can tell when your kids are getting stressed from being forced to do / learn something they don't want to. I'm guessing at that point you give them a break or let them do something they want?

That's the hardest part

You want them to learn how to push their way through something difficult, even when they don't have the "want to". This makes you become the drill sergeant: "Stop Whining and give me 50 facts!"

But then you want them to not be the pathetic person who has to be spoon fed information. You want them to be curious and learn how to find answers on their own. However, they first need to be able to read and learn enough TO get interested in different subjects. This would be the grammar stage of the Trivium.

It's a hard balance to maintain. Plus, after my pubic school deprogramming, I've been exploring the world of suppressed history, that I tend to get distracted. So much learning, so little time.