Comments about ‘Utah lawmaker calls for end of compulsory education’

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Published: Tuesday, July 16 2013 10:45 a.m. MDT

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Larry Chandler

It is definitely an obligation on the part of society to educate its children. This is not specifically a benefit or favor to the child, but to society as a whole to have an educated workforce and electorate. If the schools are failing in this, then fix the schools. If there are kids who don't want to be in school, then educate the parents who allow this, rather than indulge them and the children.

Provo, UT

I'm a former public school teacher, so I speak from first-hand experience. Compulsory education has some very detrimental results:
1. The students are spending twelve of their most formative years in a rigid top-down hierarchy where they sit powerless at the bottom - they are compelled what, where, and how to learn. They get zero practice exercising or defending the rights they are expected to responsibly wield when they turn 18. And this is supposed to help them be good citizens of a free society?! Right.
2. I've seen with my own eyes how students respond to compulsion. They either play along (become yes-men), subvert the system by disrupting the learning of others, rebel, or withdraw. None of these responses are truly beneficial to a free society!
3. Compulsion Destroys Incentive to learn. Google it yourself and see the horrific stats about the total lack of interest the vast majority of Americans have in even reading books after they graduate! And it gets WORSE if they go to college! Compulsion turns learning into a drudge and a bore - why would anyone want to do that on their own after they graduate?

Pittsburgh, PA

I don't understand what the representative point is. Children need to be educated, if they want it or not. Some children are born into bad families. Some have fled their homes to live on the street. Not every family values education. As a society, we need to ensure our citizens are educated and productive to compete with the brightest and the smartest kids from all over the world. That is something we can't forget: we are in a global competition.
There are some students who are bored at school and I think we need to change the way schools function. My mother sent me to the community college when high school became too easy for me. Other parents steered their children towards vocational education because they weren't interested in the classes offered at school. It would be much better to address how we can teach these "problem" children than to shut the entire system down. Real educators would try to find out how they can improve the system. It helps to remind everybody that the competition is biting at our heels.

Turtles Run
Missouri City, TX

While the rest of the world is working harder to improve their education systems and expand education into more of the population,the good Senator believes we should take the opposite approach.

We must compete with the rest of the world to remain on top economically. That takes hard work. It is too easy to say lets discard problem and challenging students. Throwing children to the side is a horrible waste of resources and talent.

These discarded children are not going away. They would become a drain on social services and increase crime rates. It taught they will be an asset for communities and the nation.

Hard work not throwing away children is the choice we need to make.


Million; "Since all of income tax goes to pay for education in Utah then there should be a limit on dependent deductions to four or three or two. It is almost a no-brainer." what about the current ponzi scheme that the government call "social security". If there are not sufficent wage earners to support this system in the future, then who will pay your social security, or if you don't depend on the government, then who will buy the products that will keep the economy afloat and your retirement solvent? I have more than 2 kids, all of them grown, and all of them employed, all of them pay taxes and all of them 'consume' I'm grateful for them.

Salt Lake City, UT

Good way to create more Republicans.

Mission, KS

It is impossible for me to believe that this individual does not have some hidden agenda. Removing the obligation for children to go to school would mean that the less affluent children would tend to drop out so to bring more income into their families. It would also lead to more free reign of private schools to teach religious based doctrine instead of science based. Mr. Osmond should be removed from office for his odious proposal. Another thought: Since education is the foundation of democracy, perhaps Mr. Osmond is a "Manchurian Candidate?" He intends to undermine our democracy by increasing the numbers of uneducated citizens.

Kearns, UT

Look, folks. Senator Osmond did not come up with this harebrained idea on his own. Go to the original post on the Senate blog and note the "Further Reading" link below the post.

It's an article written by Oak Norton who has a lot of opinions (and blogs) on topics ranging from politics and government to education and religion. On a YouTube video he calls compulsory education, "unconstitutional and immoral."

Norton, who is a staunch supporter of 10th Amendment rights, doesn't seem to understand that it was the states themselves that created compulsory education laws, beginning with Massachusetts in 1852. If the Federal Government is not allowed to regulate anything outside of what is explicitly stated in the Constitution, and states created compulsory education laws, his "unconstitutional" argument falls flat.

What is "immoral" is allowing CHILDREN to decide if they want to go to school or not, or allowing parents to harm the future of their children by not sending them to school (public, private, home, etc.). It's immoral to force the consequences of this poorly thought out argument on society- higher crime, more welfare, further class division, etc.

corydon, IN

I think many of you are forgetting the children of abuse. I don't personally know of any abused children, but I could imagine an abusive parent would love to keep their victims at home all day. That way they wouldn't be interrupted by state officials, while beating their kids, or worse, raping them. Often times, schools are keeping some kids safe. Try to think of the children and their safety, before advocating something as asinine as keeping them away from school, where they may gain some semblance of safety.

Tempe, AZ

This is a political stunt to keep the state voting red. If the next generation isn't educated, they'll be more likely to vote for Republicans. Once a person learns basic critical thinking skills, they no longer consider libertarian philosophies and any form of supernaturalism as reasonable.

Mcallen, TX

This is the best idea I've heard in a long time. Some people have come to the idea of compulsory education as being the only way. Not true!!

The educational level of our people is pathetic, and a tremendous waste of tax money.

Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, the Wright Brothers, etc,-would never have accomplished what they did, if educated in today's schools.

Mark l

Public schools are failing to educate our children. Yet the educators ask for more money every year, while complaining about all forms of accountability. Education happens in spite of public schools not because of it. Most home schooled children perform far better than their public school counterparts. Parents have a greater incentive to do whats best for their children because they love them and want them to succeed.

Mcallen, TX

Why in a free country, are our children forced into compulsory education?

Let's be creative, and positive. Believe these words:

We can educate our children. We can figure out what to teach. We can find knowledgeable teachers.

Words like mandate, and compulsory, are not American.

Provo, UT

Compulsory property tax to pay for schools that my kids are not required to attend? Doesn't sound like fiscal conservatism to me.

The parents who are engaged (be it as parents of public/private/ or home schooled) will continue to be engaged and those who are not will have truants on their hands. Our pioneer forefathers were wise in requiring education. Let's not reinvent the wheel.

Salt Lake City, UT

"Just how successfully are you educating the kids who do not want to be there?"

Probably better than them not showing up at all would educate them...

"where the teacher has to teach to the slowest in the class"

At the schools I went to in Maryland we had tiers of classes starting in middle school: honors, merit, and directed (there was some level of this in elementary school as well). The ones who were the slowest for one reason or another went in directed classes and ones who were the fastest were in honors or AP classes. It took care of things rather easily. Is that not something that's done here?

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Ending compulsory eduction would make the job market less competitive for kids with who do get a diploma. They are the main ones such a system change will benefit. Is that the intent of this lawmaker?

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

"Now let us see what the present primary schools cost us, on the supposition that all the children of 10. 11. & 12. years old are, as they ought to be, at school: and, if they are not, so much the work is the system; for they will be untaught, and their ignorance & vices will, in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences, than it would have done, in their correction, by a good education."

Thomas Jefferson, January 14, 1818

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

All I can say is don't get rid of the prison - and build a few more.

We are going to need them if we have an uneducated population in the next generation!

Saint George, UT

Anybody who thinks that this is a bizarre proposal hasn't thought much about education the last 30 years. Education happens when people want to learn; School is what we have. The federal control of Education has been an unmitigated disaster, especially for the those who are 'compelled' to be there, mostly the poor. The rich, the educated, the believers, use education to their advantage, whereas the poor don't even understand why they are there, except they know that its a place they 'should' be. The most important principle to teach kids in America today is that you not only have a choice, but you must make the right one, including a real choice about being 'educated'. The only thing that should be compulsory about education is a parent telling their kids to get their rear ends out of bed and off somewhere to work and learn.


if UT becomes the first state to do away with compulsory education my guess is, it will no longer be rated positively as a good state for setting up businesses.

Good grief!

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