compulsory attendance laws

There are good things about the Washington State Student Bill of Rights, the fact that students are asked to be active participants is actually a step ahead of those who prefer that children be seen and not heard.

But homeschoolers have been actively compaigning against compulsory education for many years.  The soft paternalism of mandatory attendance is still as popular now as in the Victorian age.  When those in favor of abolishing child labor found requiring school attendance a better alternative to factory life, they may not have foreseen the factory school system that would grow from the compulsory attendance laws. And the entire community structure surrounding the schools, a structure that mitigated the effects of compulsory schooling, this community structure has disintegrated making the hugely centralized school system a target of corporations.  These corporations are now enmeshed in on our centralized government, in our war economy, and in our schools and standardized tests.  This is where the idea that we must compete globally arises.

Compulsory attendance creates legal and psychological chains that prohibit our society from grasping educational issues and addressing them.
Compulsory attendance prevents us from seeing education as a social service we all provide our children.  Compulsory attendance undermines the rights and freedoms of children and families.
Compulsory attendance inculcates an acceptance of a militaristic, authoritarian order.

We can begin to honor and respect all children and all families by acknowledging their right to make a voluntary choice of participating in the educational system that they themselves fund.  The public school system itself needs to see its mission as service instead of institutionalized daycare or as a prison. Most families would still remain in the public schools without truancy laws but the entire attitude of the schools themselves would surely change when families could withdraw their students.


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