Why the revulsion to compulsion?

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  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    Jon W.

    Not from where I sit. I have known parents who suffer from a variety of mental illnesses who would not send their kids to school were they not forced to do so. There are a few (thankfully just a few) parents who do not do what is in their child’s best interest. Have you known no such parents? Are there no stories in your local news that showcases such parents? The question becomes, how do you protect those children.

    As for the compulsory aspect. The laws have been on the books for at least a century. Have we been harmed so far as a society? Have dictators tried to take over? Not that I recall. Widespread literacy is a defense of our essential freedoms.

    This comes down to a “when do you pay me” question. As a society we can pay for broad-based education now. Or, once the damage (lack of education and intervention) is done, the person is an adult with huge problems and fixing those problems are FAR more expensive and intractable, we can pay far more later.

    I choose the first option.

  • Jon W. Murray, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:51 p.m.

    Twin Lights - From where I sit, even the irresponsible parents would rather have their children attending school than have them at home, even to do chores. They can't send them out to work either, thanks to child labor laws which are, for the most part, just and necessary - though ideally, they shouldn't be necessary. As far as all laws being compulsive - most laws have been and should be about compelling people not to do bad. Compelling people to do good is the heart of evil - it neither accomplishes its aim nor changes people to BE good. And those who wish to practice it are persuaded by their own good intentions that they can do no wrong. They, if allowed sufficient power, then join the most tyrannical rulers in history.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:53 p.m.

    Tyler D,


    Jon W.

    Compulsory education is no longer needed? Are all parents in favor of education? Are there no slacker parents? Are there none who are selfish and who would desire their children to be home to instead do chores? Are there none who don’t want any “negative” influences of education and would seek to shelter their child from “wild” ideas?

    The need for education may be obvious to adults. But to kids? To teenagers? Certainly not to many I have known.

    Your last point is cogent. Part of this movement is to untether the concept of government paying for education. Hence it will cease to be free and widely available. Anyone who values our republic should run from this idea.


    Persuasion may be “the hallmark of a civilized society” but all laws are compulsion. Do we not have laws on helmet or seatbelt usage? Certainly education is (as a society) more important for the social contract and economic development of the nation. Note that one way we reject murder and plunder is by making laws against them. Classical Rome was a dictatorship (empire).

  • DaveGarber1975 Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 5:35 p.m.

    In reality, persuasion (NOT compulsion) is the hallmark of a civilized society. Compelling people to do what we believe is best for them, even if we happen to be right, is a terribly barbaric practice, and should be rejected like both murder and plunder. Our civilization, like classical Rome's, advanced to the extent that it remained both virtuous and free---and, the more that we reject these twin foundations, the more our society will slow its progress or perhaps even begin to retrogress, like classical Rome, back into the Dark Ages. If we want to remain civilized, then let's please stop trying to run our neighbors' lives as we please, and instead start trying to persuade them to choose well---and reserve compulsion ONLY for self-defense.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 8, 2013 2:45 p.m.

    @Twin Lights – “There is no reason that education cannot be compulsory and still target students who learn at different rates. It can (and should) embrace the full set of vocational options.”

    This is how the Germans do it. Correct me (anyone) if I’m wrong but I believe K-8 is the same for all kids and then they voluntarily tract into areas depending on what they want to study.

    Personally, I don’t see a whole lot of value reading iambic pentameter to a 17 year old future truck driver that’s bored out of his mind, paying no attention, and doesn’t want to be there.

    Good comments!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    IMO the government and the 1% want us educated, but not TOO educated.

    They want us to be educated enough to work for them, and produce for them, and profit them, but not educated enough to wonder if we really NEED them or to refuse to carry their burden, or start thinking we could do it without them.

    Totalitarian leaders have often observed that a society that is too educated can't be lead or dominated. So they require the masses to get a little education (so they are useful) but not too much (because they may become rebellious).

    Education can be used to free the masses... or to keep them in bondage. I hope our education system is geared towards making us great, and not just keeping us productive and placated enough to keep us serving the 1% and the political establishment.

    Just something to think about.

  • Jon W. Murray, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    Compulsory education is a 19th century idea that came about in a world undergoing the industrial revolution, where child labor in horrific conditions was common. Compulsion may have been needed back then, it certainly is not needed now. For one, in those days it wasn't at all obvious that education was going to benefit the student. What was the use of learning to read when you were going to spend your whole working life at unskilled labor in a factory? Now in the 21st century, it is pretty obvious to everyone in the developed world that an education will benefit them financially in the future. All the compulsion does now, is remove the responsibility for learning from the stdent and teh parents and place it in the impersonal hands of a governmental agency, the human agents of which have no direct stake in the future of the student.

    If everyone has to attend, no one can be expelled for misconduct. If everyone has to attend, the government must pay for it. People seldom value that which given them for free, much less that which is forced upon them.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 8, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    Does compulsory education work? It did in my generation. Everybody went through school and seemed to learn just fine.

    I see no reason why non-compulsory education would do any better to engender learning and interest. Because the class could move ahead faster without the kids there who don’t “want” to learn? Ah, there is the rub.

    Why don’t those kids want to be in school? Will letting them skip the last several years of school (as many want to) be a benefit to them? What about to society? Do we thereby trade a better classroom for some for a more troubled future underclass?

    There is no reason that education cannot be compulsory and still target students who learn at different rates. It can (and should) embrace the full set of vocational options.

    As to letting the parents be responsible for making the kids go to school. I needed that little bit of extra support with my eldest. Others likely have as well.

    Also, some parents will fold when a child puts a lot of pressure on them. The child’s later trials will inevitably become those of our society.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 12:39 p.m.

    The revulsion to compulsion is mainly felt by those who believe all men are free to choose, and yes even choose badly (and suffer the consequences or rewards of their choices). People who don't want to choose and possibly suffer the consequences of bad decisions, don't mind compulsion. Some people don't mind a plan that by compulsory means gets EVERYBODY to make the right decision.

    IMO we should make correct decisions on our own.

    Back to my comparison of real life to the game "Life"...
    The whole lesson of the game is about making correct decisions early in game so you can reap the rewards later in life. But some will take the short-cuts (to an early payday), or not buy insurance (to keep more money in their pocket), and just hope they don't land on the space (or draw the card) where it hurts them.

    Life is a lot like that. You get rewarded for making wise decisions.

    There may come a day when kids don't understand the game life, because all these decisions (got to school/not, buy insurance/not)... are made by the Government.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    Did anybody else notice the credentials of the letter writer?

    This is just like the Tobacco Industry doctors telling us that Tobacco is safe.

    Do we really trust somebody who is part of the system to tell us that the system is good?

    To those of you who think this is a good idea, answer this. Do you expect there to be compulsory learning if you have compulsory education?

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Aug. 8, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    I suggest that the problem may be in the higher education facilities themselves. A Bachelor's degree today is much more demanding than it was 40 years ago, without necessarily providing a more practical education. Only the best "test takers" graduate, and many of these flounder when they land that first job.

    On the other hand, Community and State Colleges provide a wonderful education that is practical to the workforce. Their teachers are often closer to the workplace and are focused on the required skills. If High Schools could focus on preparing all students for these educational venues, focusing on practical skills, more of their students might study for the love of learning. No coercion is necessary.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    I kinda agree with The Hammer. Private schools should be so good that students compete to get into them (like Waterford). It's not the same for public schools (where some schools are so good kids compete to get into that public school). For one thing, public schools can't be selective. And for a second, they must cater to the lowest common denominator (and national standards that leave no child behind). That doesn't lead to schools kids will work their hardest to get into. But they CAN have classes (and teachers) that kids compete to get. I think that's OK.

    In Japan students compete from the time they are a young child to qualify to be accepted by the best schools. Their parents push them hard and tell them their whole future depends on it, so they work intensely outside class all day to prepare. I think that puts uber-strain on kids, and their suicide rate shows it. But if we are going to rely on competition and the free market and let the best schools pick the best kids... that's kinda where you have to end up.

  • Gr8Dane Tremonton, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    I cannot believe his premise. Compulsion is good. Relax. The State knows best.

    Really? And he's "Educated?" Nanny Bloomberg knows best too. No 32 ounce sodas for you, bub.

    I suggest he re-read 1984 and Farenheight 451, and while he's at it, Atlas Shrugged.

    Hey, the government knows best about the light bulbs I can buy, and the "water saving" shower head that makes me shower twice as long to get the job done. But I should just shut-up and take what is handed to me by those elites who know best.

    Compulsory anything is not good. Even if it is good. Freedom, liberty, and choice, and the opportunity to fail are some of the greatest gifts we have from our Creator. And best chances to learn.

  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    Its not the teachers that should compete for schools but students should compete with each other. If they want to succeed in this world the burden of education should be on the parents and the students. The idea that our education is cumpulsory is laughable becuase you can sign a waiver at the district office that will waive the compulsory part of public ed. I have done that for my children and we home school.

    Aaron Osmonds idea is part of his "take the worst of both sides ideas and implement them" scheme. I am tired of listening to him and I don't trust him with having the best interest in mind for children in education in the state.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    IMO High School should not be seen only as a "College Prep" school.

    Many students don't intend to go to college (and they still need an education). Some students don't need to go to college (but they still need a good education). High Schools still need to provide these students a good education (not only college prep required classes).

    Vocational Education is still important. Cultural education, art and science are all needed, but preparing kids for college should NOT be the only goal of our High Schools.

    But if we want to pretend that ALL children must go to college (and if they don't... they are a "failure" by our government standards)... so be it. We will have a lot of "Failures" that are still very productive and needed citizens, doing jobs that in many cases are more NEEDED than some of the positions we send kids to college to get, and they will have to go through life being labeled as a "Failure" because they didn't go to college.

    SOME kids need advanced education in Math in High Scool. Not all. They ALL need a good education (Math is not all there is).

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    Should a "good" education only be available to those who can afford private schools? Should indifferent students slow down the progess of other students? Should the classroom just be a handy "babysitter" for working parents? Should education mimic health-care where "clinics" are provided to all, but where only the wealthy can afford to choose the doctor that they really want?

    If society is going to function, all citizens must be adequately educated to handle personal and professional duties.

    What should it cost, per pupil? How much does an iPad cost? How much would course work cost if that course work were produced by a single master teacher for all the students in the State? How much does it cost to have a kitchen table? How much would it cost if each student spent one day per week at a school for group projects and testing and the rest of the week at home, working at his own speed under the supervision of parents?

    What we currently have is not working properly. Now is a good a time as any to discuss alternatives.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    Let parents make their kids go to school.

    Let parents choose which school their kids will attend.

    Then schools will compete for students by improving their classrooms and teachers.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 8, 2013 7:12 a.m.

    The letter assumes that compulsory education system educates the children better than would non-compulsory education. The letter assumes that a student sitting in a math or science class who understood a concept the first time the teacher presented it is much better off being required to sit at his desk and to be bored out of his mind when the teacher re-explains that concept to those who didn't understand it.

    With today's technology, a student could learn much faster if he worked at his own speed. Difficult concepts could be presented in a variety of ways to help the student learn, using the method that best suited that particular student. Cramming thirty or more students in a classroom is not nearly as efficient as having one-on-one instruction, which would be the case if the student had a simple iPad or laptop computer.

    How many offices have thirty or more people sitting in the same room where all the workers have to wait for the slowest worker to finish his job before moving on to the next "project"? Why would anyone think that that method is the best method in the classroom?

  • storymom APPOMATTOX, VA
    Aug. 8, 2013 5:08 a.m.

    Then let's take it a step further to rethink education. True--the 20th century produced the greatest economic growth ever. Is that really the prized goal? Are we happier as people? More satisfied? More content? I've heard it said the true measures of a civilization are found in the literature, the art and the music it produces. How do we rank there? What kind of people has our system produced? Economic prosperity doesn't make us more civilized. Until we balance out the equation and work to educate the human heart before the global worker, our educational system will fail us. Place the focus there, and you won't need compulsory education. I believe students will want to come to school.