Most helpful positive review
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Excellent history, analysis, and presentation
on August 12, 1999
I have been doing research on what can be done about the sad state of public education. I read this 391 page book gripped by fascination. Any lover of history, ideas, civilization, or America should read this book. Why are our schools in serious decline? For some of the same reasons the Soviet Union collapsed. Andrew Coulson examines our current system of public education, and argues for revitalization through direct parental control. He looks at times in history when education has been free from state control, and shows that those have been some of the times of greatest cultural flourishing, such as Periclean Athens. He also looks at education in other countries, historically and currently. Public vs. private education in England, and Japan and the Netherlands are particularly of interest. He examines the history of American education, and dispells myths like the idea that people were illiterate until publicly funded education came along. The truth is that the literacy rate was much higher BEFORE Horace Mann first started promoting the idea of state schooling based on the Prussian military model of that time. Coulson also looks at constitutional questions, and deals with the legitimacy of government compelling belief. Anyone who supports the ailing status quo of public education is going to have to come to terms with the formidable research and persuasive arguments presented by Senior Research Associate and former softwear engineer, Andrew Coulson, who devoted four years to producing this book. They will also have to answer the other growing advocates of education liberation, among whom are Thomas Sowell (Inside American Education: The Decline, The Deception, The Dogmas) Stephen Arons (Compelling Belief: The Culture of American Schooling) and Sheldon Richman (The Separation of School and State). I salute Andrew Coulson as having done a magnificent job in writing this well documented and thoughtful study.