Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Horace Mann promoted the “common school” not primarily to increase literacy or prepare kids for college. No, the movement that gave birth to the modern public school system in America was designed to inculcate good citizenship by putting all kids through a “shared experience.”

A few years ago, Mann’s notion was re-iterated by a college professor in an essay called “The Civic Perils of Homeschooling.” Public schooling, he wrote,

is one of the few remaining social institutions . . . in which people from all walks of life have a common interest and in which children might come to learn such common values as decency, civility, and respect.

Are we really supposed to believe that public schools instill decency, civility, and respect?

In “Does Homeschooling or Private Schooling Promote Political Intolerance? Evidence from a Christian University,” Journal of School Choice: International Research and Reform, 8(1), Albert Cheng left bald assertions aside and conducted some research. He concluded that private schooling does not decrease social tolerance, and “those [college students] with more exposure to homeschooling relative to public schooling tend to be more politically tolerant.”

Why might this be the case? Cheng himself offered two possible reasons — greater self-actualization in homeschooling, and religious instruction — but I can think of others.

For one, public schools bring together many, many kids, but through regimentation and Mann’s desire for “shared experience,” the results tend toward more conformity, and bullying, and less tolerance.

Meanwhile, homeschoolers are doing something different than the crowd, and perhaps are that much more wiling to accept others doing their own thing, even if not the norm.

So, hooray for homeschooling! The cradle of liberty.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. rick says:

    I will never understand why vouchers have not caught on! All the people i know have their kids in private school, paying through the nose because they know better than to let their kids anywhere near a public school. But when i mention vouchers to them, all i get is a blank stare.

    Vouchers would singlehandedly and systematically destroy bad schools, bad teachers and fix education in under 3 years but every time they begin to catch on, the Dept of Education and the Teachers Unions have been able to confuse and squash the discussion.

    Vouchers will fix the problem of public education in any community. And as the ex of two public school teachers i have witnessed the incredible dysfunction of education for many years.

  2. JFB says:

    The number of variables are almost infinite, but one thing is nearly certain, homeschoolers will tend to have exceptionally caring and concerned parents who are willing to invest themselves in their children. That alone should be predictive of a variance in the ultimate result.

  3. MingoV says:

    Schooling instills the values of the teachers. Homeschooled kids have the same teachers all day, every day: their parents. If the parents are good, the kids almost always will be good.

    The outcomes of public schools are variable. The difference is that kids in public schools have two sets of teachers: school teachers for about 35 hours a week and parents for about 60 (waking) hours a week. Bad teachers can be overcome by good parents. Combine bad teachers with bad parents and the kids will almost always be bad.

  4. […] for links to the study, consult Wednesday’s Common Sense for […]

  5. Jeff says:

    A good citizen is not a good thing to be. Real education
    equips the student to question the actions of his or her government.

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