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Separating School and State: How to Liberate America's Families Paperback – November, 1994
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"A truly engaging book." -- The Michigan Review
"Mr. Richman traces the origins of government schools. The modern concept of compulsory, state-financed schooling arose in 18th-century Prussia. The primary goal was not to educate, but to turn children into pliant citizens who would revere the state.... I also think Mr. Richman is right to fear that state education undermines personal responsibility.... I recommend this book." -- Michael Prowse, London Financial Times 3/13/1995
"Mr. Richman's premise will be a troubling one for many, that state schooling doesn't work because it can't work. He is certainly right. Separating School & State makes it clear that even with the best of intentions, force and compulsion set processes in motion which mutilate family life, replace education with indoctrination, and bring the myth of Procrutes to life. The solutions proposed make such good sense, the 'official' reform crowd should hang its head in shame." -- John Taylor Gatto, New York Teacher of the Year, 1991, and author of Dumbing Us Down
If we needed more proof that government schools are in shambles and that privatization and parental choice are the solutions, this book makes a powerful contribution. It offers both insight and compassionate solutions. -- Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University, and popular substitute host for Rush Limbaugh
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Top Customer Reviews
Richman discusses the origins of public schooling in America, how educators like Horace Mann were influenced by the public schools in Prussia, apparently unaware that the schools there served the function of molding children to be dutiful servants of the state.
My only fault with Separating School & State is that I would like to have seen more discussion about possible free market educational models, but that is probably a book to be written some other day.
Richman's book should be read in tandem with Myron Lieberman's Public Education: An Autopsy. Whereas Richman arouses the passions of those like myself with his take no prisoners approach and his libertarian perspective, Lieberman's prose is much drier as he explains that the public school model is inherently faulty because it is a model that is more concerned with protecting the education providers than in serving the real needs of the education consumers.
Furthermore, Richman's main sources are "Education: Free and Compulsory," by Rothbard, and various works by Gatto. Half of the book is comprised of quotes from these and a few other sources. The other half is Richman's rephrasing of these quotes. I cannot emphasize enough how little Richman adds to the ideas he presents. The reviews below discuss how Richman talks about the history of education, the comparison of church and school, etc. If these reviewers had read "Free and Compulsory," they would have gotten the same discussion at a much deeper level from a much better author. One reviewer mentioned how the format of school, with children in desks being lectured, is a problem. If they'd read "Dumbing us Down," they'd have gotten a better discussion of that from someone with experience. Now, the two aforementioned books are certainly good works, and if you're interested in education, I'd recommend reading them, but you don't need to read Richman's glorified synopsis.Read more ›
The historical examination of education in this country is almost worth the purchase alone. What, we haven't always had public schools? What, people resisted public schools early on and had to have their children enrolled almost literally at gunpoint? This sets the stage for the examination of why we have public schools now, where the idea came from, how it works, what's wrong with it, and why it should be abolished. The points are ironclad; in fact, once you see how radically government involvement in the provision of education differs from that of other goods and services--such as health care, financial assistance, and even food--you'll begin to see how education in the U.S. has become the tangled, irrepairable mess that it now is.
The thing which secures the fifth star for this book however, is its raising of another, almost revolutionary thought: that the current day model of education (teacher lecturing to seated students, grading papers, and so on) is part of the problem, and less than ideal. The concept actually fits hand-in-hand with his call for free-market education, as unfettered innovation in the educational field should naturally yield new and better methods of teaching children what they and their parents want to learn.
Five stars for bold, clear presentation of a controversial viewpoint, fresh historical revelations, solid defense of the viewpoint (with rebuttals to key objections), and examination of the idea taken to its logical conclusions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When will Hillsdale and other allegedly liberty-based organizations recognize that charter schools and school vouchers are antithetical to their cause? Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent read! A ton of history on the development and evolution of the state indoctrination camps.Published 10 months ago by Andrew
This is one of the most important books ever written on education . Sheldon Richman doesn't shy away from a solution for American education. Read morePublished on February 27, 2014 by Jon Nelson
This concept of separating school and state is an excellent idea. This books makes the case fairly well. Read morePublished on May 13, 2013 by bobofva
The reason why "the state" should never be allowed to dictate the education of our children. Read morePublished on February 3, 2013 by Kermit L. Cain
The thesis is a good one. Yes, public schools have been inappropriately utilized by the political "establishment" to indoctrinate children into submissive/passive acceptance of... Read morePublished on March 29, 2009 by M. Hoffman
I would like to second Paul Dunlop's comments regarding Education: Free and Compulsory by Rothbard, and An Underground History of American Education by Gatto. Read morePublished on March 1, 2009 by T. S. Duff
It is difficult for me to write a review of this book without stepping onto my soapbox about the public school system and identifying how it is indeed the vector for teen... Read morePublished on October 7, 2008 by D.R.Thomas
I am very glad that there are authors, like Sheldon Richman, who believe that all the public schools must end. Read morePublished on November 1, 2006 by George