The great American journalist, essayist, satirist and cultural critic H L Mencken used to say,
The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
Mencken was right on the button when he penned those lines. One of the chief reasons for the kind of mess that we see in our societies and world today is because of the state controlled public education system has done wonders to dumb down our generations. As Murray Rothbard said, the most dangerous person for the state is the one who critically thinks. And that critical thinking ability schools kill. The public education system over last one and a half century has bred a standardized docile citizenry which is very easy for the state officials to control and parasitically feed upon.
The celebrated New York Public School teacher John Taylor Gatto used to remind what was the real aim of education,
Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your roadmap through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.
How to achieve this real aim of education in our state controlled schooling system world? There are much better private alternatives like homeschooling and unschooling for that. Mises India Institute President Dr. Madhusudan Raj recently discussed these ideas of homeschooling and unschooling with her former student Mr. Vaishali Singhal. The following is his talk, in local Hindu language, with her: