Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Education: Free & Compulsory Paperback – August 15, 1999
Books for teachers & leaders
New titles designed to help engage your students & develop your teaching skills.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Not surprisingly, Rothbard starts with a discussion of human nature and the basic fact of human inequality. Since people differ in abilities and interests, there will be no one kind of education that is appropriate for all children. Some children will benefit from an education that prepares them for work relatively early in life, others for a career in the professions. A system of voluntary education, where parents choose what is best for their children, is the most efficient system and also the most consistent with individual freedom.
However, government is the great equalizer and centralizer. Rather than accept human inequality, it is intent on creating a "one size fits all" approach to education. As Rothbard shows through an analysis of educational reforms in the US and the world, governments began to create taxpayer funded, compulsory schools in order to indoctrinate children into the ideology of the state. As the elites became more secularized in the 1800s, government run schools were established to destroy the influence of religion and the church.
I can't agree with everything Rothbard says. There are a few unsupported statements (such as his attacks on Protestantism) and gaps in logic, but as usual Rothbard is provocative.
Right off the bat he clearly shows why "equality" in education is a farce and how teaching to the lowest makes sure we, as a nation, will, in time, fail - which we are doing very well at.
The odd notion that a government should have the right to form the minds of its citizens is foundational to dictatorships and a democracy run by an oligarch. The idea that the government should even have any control over a private school is tyranny!
The author then goes on to show how it was religious leaders who first felt it was their right to take away the education of children from the parents. It is interesting to see what damage religious leaders have done to the family and to society in the name of imposing their values upon those who do not share those values.
Children were taken away from their parents to be "educated" at gunpoint. Later it was professional educators, trade unions and employers that forced education upon the children. Now we see how with years of "educational reform" the budget for adults keeps going up, using taxpayer money, but results keep going down.
It is sooo clear that the purpose of schools is to teach children to obey those set above them and support the existing government rather than oppose it!
No Child Let Ahead and the Race to the Bottom both are clearly an attempt by government to control children on a national scale molding them to all think alike.Read more ›
The arguments are indisputable, but not particularly well presented.
I've always been a strong opponent of compulsory public education but the way the arguments are presented in this book make me twitch. My support for the ideas of non-compulsory non-public education does not stem from the fact that I do not want my children to mix with the `moronic' and `substandard' ones.
The only information that was news to me was the Lutheran-Calvinist influence in the birth of public education.
I think my misgivings can be understood considering the level of ignorance displayed in some of the passages. Mistaking Sade for Rousseau is absolutely inexcusable. I have not read "Emile" myself, but at least I know about it; I know what it is about and if I was to write about education, I would make an effort to read it. Making a vague reference to the wrong author does not inspire confidence in other references presented by Mr. Rothbard.
Should you read this book? Since it is very short, I would say why not? If you are interested in the subject this will introduce you to the basic libertarian ideas concerning it. Just do not expect high quality arguments.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am sympathetic with Rothbard's conclusions. However, I was not terribly impressed with his arguments. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Colin P. Kelley
Short but sweet, Rothbard's stone-cold classic on the state of American education,
circa 1971. Sad to say, things have become much worse in the 44 years that have... Read more
This should be required reading for all teachers and administrators! If you like any other Rothbard books, Bastiat's The Law, books by the founding fathers, or liberty, you'll... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Timothy Kelley
wow this book was short but it packed some good info Rothbard is a great argument maker. this book is a must read for understanding why schooling hurts the bright as well as the... Read morePublished on May 7, 2014 by Amazon Customer
I'm a pretty big fan of Murray Rothbard, the famous libertarian economist. For this reason, I read _Education: Free and Compulsory_ to get a brief (< 100 pages) glimpse into... Read morePublished on December 11, 2011 by Amazon Customer
This book is a quick and enjoyable read. Today, so many of us take the idea of compulsory public education to be what is best for our children. Read morePublished on March 31, 2011 by demosthenes
As far as I'm concerned, Murray Rothbard is one of the greatest unsung intellectuals of the twentieth century. Read morePublished on March 31, 2010 by CJ