Schools For All
By Oscar B. Johannsen
individual is responsible for his own well-being. He feeds and clothes
himself. Some do it better than others, but with the exception of the
physically and mentally handicapped, there is no question of the individual's
obligation. Even in the case of the handicapped, he must care for himself
to the extent he is able. Failure to allow him to do so to the limit
of his capacity leads very often to a frustrated, sick man, ill in ways
more serious than the infirmity itself.
as the individual is responsible for his own and his children's physical
well-being, he is likewise responsible for his own and his children's
education. The parent must pay to feed the child's stomach. He must
also pay to feed the child's mind.
someone a hundred odd years ago persuaded people that the feeding and
clothing of children was a duty of Government and this function was
thereupon assumed by it, and if somebody today were to suggest that
it actually devolved to the parents, objections would be raised. It
would be claimed that the parents could not possibly bear the cost alone;
that such action constituted an attempt to feed and clothe the children
of the rich better than the rest; that this was not democratic; that
this was striking the very foundations of society.
since no one did arise who could sell that idea to the people, the parents
today do care for their children and do it reasonably well. Far from
hurting society, this responsibility is necessary from the viewpoint
of the children as well as the parents. It enhances the love and affection
of the children and the parents; it brings happiness to the parents
in the knowledge that by their efforts their children are fed and clothed;
it increases the respect and love of the children, who are thereby made
aware of their dependence on their parents - all of which makes for
a better society.
about 1830 some educators did arise who convinced many that education
was a governmental responsibility, with the result that today, for all
practical purposes, primary and secondary schools are a function of
local government, the cost of which is borne by taxes. That being the
case, whenever the proposition arises that parents should pay for the
education as well as the physical care of their children, the objection
is raised that they could not possibly afford to do so.
large measure, however, they are paying for it now because the major
portion of all taxes comes from the mass of the people and not from
the few with large incomes. While any one person may only pay a portion
of his children's public school training, he does not stop when they
graduate since his taxes continue. If the parents live the normal life
span of years, no doubt they easily pay in taxes as much, if not more,
as they would have paid for sending their children to private schools
if public schools did not exist.
as no one wishes to pay for the care of someone else's children, no
one really wishes to pay for their education. Instinctively, it is felt
that those who brought them into the world should bear their cost. If
there is validity to the argument that society should pay for children's
education since well-educated children will bring about a better society,
then since well-fed children will mean a healthier society, the cost
of feeding them should also be society's. For that matter, if this argument
holds water, since health comes first, society should pay for their
physical care and only after that has been attended to, pay for their
education back into the hands of the people concerned will force them
to be sure that their children are receiving the best of that which
they are capable; will require the parents to take an active interest
in choosing the proper school; will help engender mutual respect and
love as parents and children work at solving this problem.
when all schools are private the cost of education is the least possible.
Competition forces them to be highly efficient in order to keep the
costs down, so that tuition fees will be low enough to attract customers
- the pupils.
will, of course, always be orphans and children of parents who cannot
afford to defray the expenses of education. They will be aided by charitable
organizations and private individuals, just as they are now helped in
obtaining the proper physical necessities of life. Thus, no child need
be denied the benefits of private school.
[Editor's Note: These excerpts
were taken from PRIVATE SCHOOLS FOR ALL, published by the Committee
of One, Roselle Park, NJ. No date given, Section IV, pages 7-9.]