It always shocks Americans when I inform them that free and compulsory schooling is one of the ten "planks" of the Communist Manifesto and that public schooling is a key aspect of the Soviet, Chinese, and Cuban ways of life. Yet, even after discovering these little-known facts, they continue to believe that public schooling in those countries is socialism while public schooling in the United States is free enterprise. Let's examine the principles of public schooling.
The public schooling system, like all coercive redistributive programs, is founded on the Marxian concept of "from each according to ability, to each according to need." The political system is used to plunder the wealth and savings of everyone, even those who don't have children, to pay for the schooling of other people's children.
The plain truth is that public schooling is also the absolutely perfect embodiment of the socialist concept of central planning. The "education" of each child — from teachers to textbooks to curricula to time in school — is planned for him by a central political agency, either on a local, state, or national basis. The government, not the parents, controls the "education" of the child.
The tragic failure of socialism in public schooling is as well known as the failure of socialism all over the world. Yet, Americans just won't let go. What is the common answer to the horrific results of public schooling? Plunder the citizenry and distribute the loot to an even greater extent!
What is the answer to socialism in public schools? Freedom! Why not separate school and state in the same way that our ancestors separated church and state? The Founding Fathers trusted freedom in religious activities, and look how blessed we are that government no longer subsidizes or controls our religious activities (or that of our children). How would you instead like a voucher system with public and private churches? How about competition between public and private churches? If anybody should trust freedom in education, it should be the Americans who have such a wonderful legacy of religious liberty.