Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Should Education Be Compulsory?

The furor over Barack Obama's address to our nation's schoolchildren seems silly, even in a season noted for inanity. But could the critics have a point? Could Obama be using his seemingly innocuous speech to schoolchildren to indoctrinate them? Obama's supporters point out that the stay-in-school message shouldn't be controversial. But is it?
After all the children in question are in school pursuant to the doctrine of compulsory public education, which has a coercive, even authoritarian ring to it. Universal education is declared a right, and at the elementary level should be compulsory, under Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
Do we really want the United Nations telling us that we should use the power of government to compel our children to attend school? Think about it.

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