I'm not a teacher. I'm merely a fork lift driver for a soft drink company in New York City. However, I'm deeply concerned about government controlled compulsory schooling--about how it is affecting our children and society as a whole.
Editor's Note: Bob Knipe delivered these remarks at SepCon'96 (see Proclaimer Profile, above). They have been edited slightly for length.
Thomas Jefferson wrote: "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." That statement sums up my personal feeling toward government schooling. What can I say about it that hasn't been said by such people as John Holt, Neil Postman, Sheldon Richman, John Taylor Gatto, and others? Everyone here knows that government schooling is a total failure.
I will say this, though: Government schooling is so inhumane that it prompts people to try and change it for the better. Quite a few alternative schools were founded because educators realized that some children were being lost in the system. They established these schools so as to try and reach out to the students who were shy, troubled, misunderstood, or simply bored by traditional schooling.
Some of those schools are still operating, like The Free School in Albany, New York. But others, such as Don Glines' Wilson Campus School in Minnesota and The Learning Community--the mini-school I proudly attended--no longer exist, except as ideas. These were but two of many alternative schools forced to close because of administrative or bureaucratic interference.
But here's the ironic twist. Now that the system is about to collapse, those in power are allowing so-called "new" educational ideas to be tried--the same ideas that were successfully used by the alternative schools they wanted to get rid of. Nevertheless, I believe it's too late to save government schooling. And I say praise God for that.
Educators, parents and children should decide what kind of education they want or need, not the state, so that, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom." Let us therefore bring about a separation of school and state. Thank you.