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The First "Public" Schools
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They Don't Call it School for Nothing!

A number of years ago our family had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. That aquarium is one of the most prestigious museums in the nation - you need a reservation to get in! Some of the exhibits we saw included Giant Kelp tanks, tide pools, shore birds, sea otters, marine mammals, and more. kids looking into bowl

We learned that about one fifth of all fish live together in groups called schools. Schools of fish are very interesting to watch. It's amazing, really; they move in total unison. All the fish go one way, then suddenly on some unknown (to me) cue, they all turn and go another way. Every eye moves together and none, as we watched, ever fell out of formation. In this way, the small fish take on a gang-like appearance and keep large predators somewhat at bay.

How interesting, I thought, that the same word, "school," is used when applied to education. Was that the purpose of school: to make every child's eye move together in unison and never fall out of formation? This could be a good thing if every eye focused on following Christ, but unfortunately, in today's schools they follow blind leaders. No wonder free government-run education is one of Karl Marx's ten principles of communism, but not mentioned in the United States Constitution.

We in the United States have been blessed with a government that Latter-day Saints believe was established by God. Our scriptures teach that God sent inspired men at a particular moment in time for the very purpose of creating a free government in preparation for the restoration of the gospel. Interestingly, this inspired document makes no mention of education. The Communist Manifesto, on the other hand, specifies free education for all children in government-controlled schools. Marx and Engels knew what is taught in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The Declaration of Independence proclaims that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights,” and that governments are instituted “to secure these Rights.” Recognizing that our freedoms come from God and the purpose of government was simply to secure these freedoms, the framers designed a system of checks and balances that were intended to keep the government in control. If we accept the idea that government has the power to give life, liberty, and property at will, we must also accept the idea that government has the power to deny life, liberty, and property at will. The framers of the constitution would not accept this. Davy Crockett warned, “Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”

Our government is founded on the principle of delegation. Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence wrote that "Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." In other words, the founding fathers believed that government has no power other than what we the people give to it. Powers forbidden to the citizens are not legitimate powers of the government. One cannot delegate to the government a power that one does not have. Building roads and protecting citizens against criminals are examples of legitimate roles of government. However, because it would be wrong for me to determine what (if any) religion you may belong to or what your child must be taught, it is not a function I can legitimately delegate to the government. In the words of George Washington, “Government is not reason and it is not eloquence. It is force! Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” It is unconstitutional for the federal government to be involved in education. Constitutionally, the right to determine education, according to the 10th Amendment is reserved to the states or to the people themselves.

The First "Public" Schools

Massachusetts was the first state to institute tax-supported schools. Children could start at age seven but there were no laws requiring them to do so. At first, many students continued to be homeschooled or attend private schools run by local communities, churches, and individuals. But government control increased, and so did the taxes to pay for the control. In the early 1900’s states began passing compulsory attendance laws requiring children to attend school. Most parents sent their children to the government schools since they were paying for them through their taxes whether they used them or not.

In Utah, largely populated by Latter-day Saints, the federal government, as a condition of statehood, required tax-supported nonsectarian schools. Church leaders at the time were strongly opposed to tax-supported government-controlled schools. For one thing, they didn’t want impressionable LDS children being taught by those who belittled the gospel. They also taught that taxation was a very inefficient way to pay for education. As Thomas Jefferson said, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

LDS schools were available for a fee, but the people largely ignored the prophets, who told members to give their children an Latter-day Saint education, and chose to send their children to the free government schools. Because of the lack of support, eventually, it wasn’t feasible to operate LDS schools.

Independence and self-reliance are prerequisites to the complete freedom to act for ourselves and are critical to our spiritual growth. Whenever we increase our dependence on anything or anyone except the Lord, we will find an immediate decrease in our liberty.

In October Conference 1982, Elder Marion G. Romney repeated a story he read in the Reader’s Digest:

“In our friendly neighbor city of St. Augustine great flocks of sea gulls are starving amid plenty. Fishing is still good, but the gulls don’t know how to fish. For generations they have depended on the shrimp fleet to toss them scraps from the nets. Now the fleet has moved. …

“The shrimpers had created a Welfare State for the … sea gulls. The big birds never bothered to learn how to fish for themselves and they never taught their children to fish. Instead they led their little ones to the shrimp nets.

“Now the sea gulls, the fine free birds that almost symbolize liberty itself, are starving to death because they gave in to the ‘something for nothing’ lure! They sacrificed their independence for a handout.”

In this example, (see also the Parable of the Pigs) the sea gulls forgot how to feed their children themselves because they let the fishing boats do it for them. They were no longer capable of taking care of their own children.

Now the government has taught several generations of children, and most Americans have accepted the idea that the government is responsible for the education of children. It has become an entitlement, and we have become like the seagulls that couldn’t forage for themselves. The government has created a welfare state in which parents believe they are not capable of teaching their own children and are dependent upon the government to do it for them. Most parents look forward to the day their child starts school as a day to celebrate their own independence. Little do they realize that instead it is the beginning of their dependence.

A long time ago I read a book that really opened my eyes about the control public schools have over society. It was a very small book called The Children's Story by James Clavell, and it was about a first grade class that gets a new teacher. In a matter of a few short minutes the teacher has all the children tearing up the flag, and giving up on prayer. The way she does it is sly and subtle and everything she teaches seems to make perfect sense, especially to the young impressionable children. At the end of the book, the children have changed their entire worldview. Now the fictional example in this book may be extreme, but it teaches a very true and valuable principle. The purpose of socialized education is to mold minds and children's minds are very easy to mold. Remember Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

In the Communist Manifesto we read:

"Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty. But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social. And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not intended the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class. The bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed correlation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labor. "

Of all the jobs I might consider letting the government take over for me, educating my children would come in dead last because it has the most far-reaching consequences. When we give control over the education of our children to the government, letting others determine what our children are taught, we allow the government to become a surrogate parent, instilling the values of the state. I can imagine those of past generations being appalled that we would allow our children to be taken away from us for the major part of the day and allowing them to be taught principles that we do not believe. Our children are a sacred stewardship given to us by the Lord!

In addition, when we the people give the government power over us that was not outlined nor intended by the Constitution, we are essentially replacing our God-given government with Satan-inspired government. The War in Heaven isn't over yet—will we “change our vote” by following Satan’s Security Plan—the one we vetoed before we came here?


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Quotes from LDS Church Leaders on Education
Education As the Early Prophets saw it By Darla Isackson
The Rise and Demise of Church Academies By Darla Isackson
The Proper Role of Government By Ezra Taft Benson
A Witness and a Warning By Ezra Taft Benson
The Book of Mormon and the Constitution By H. Verlan Andersen
Economics, Politics and the Gospel Class Reading from BYUI
Church Welfare Services’ Basic Principles By Marion G. Romney
Apples and Oranges—Rocks and Pears—Schools and Homeschools By Helen Hegener
The Moral Case for Self-Reliance in Education
Before the Public Schools By Gary Benoit
Government Education Comes to America By Matthew Brouillette
Who's brainwashed in America? By Dennis Prager
No Child Left Unbrainwashed By Jodie Gilmore
They Pry Them from Our Cold Dead Fingers By Sharon Harris
Taking Responsibilty By Mark Davis
The Emancipation of Education By James A. Boyes
Separating School and State: How To Liberate American Families By Sheldon Richman
Free Lunch Revisited....and this isn't a banquet either By Peggy Daly-Masternak
Are You The Parent Or A State Babysitter?
Does Homeschooling Have To Be Political? By Larry and Susan Kaseman
The Critical Distinction Between Homeschooling & Government Schooling By Chris Cardiff
The Seduction of Homeschooling Families by Chris Cardiff
The Third Great Lie By Chris Cardiff
The Critical Distinction Between Homeschooling and Government Schooling By Chris Cardiff
Education: What About the Poor? By Chris Cardiff
What's Really Wrong with Public Schools? By David H. Chilton
The Real Cost of Public Schooling By Mary Schofield
The NEA Urban Myth By Dick M. Carpenter II, Ph.D.
The Communist Manifesto
The Humanist Manifesto 2
The difference between 'socialism,' 'sharing'
By Vin Suprynowicz
Is Homeschooling Legal? Is Public School Legal?
Hitler Said it Best By Linda Shrock Taylor
From each according to his abilities. . . . By Thomas J. Shelly
The Story of Two Buses By Gary North
Keeping Homeschooling Private By Isabel Lyman
We Stand for Homeschooling
The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion by Raymond Moore
Barnyard Politics By Ann Crum
Why Independence Is Essential To Homeschooling By Larry and Susan Kaseman
Homeschooling In Public Schools: A Dangerous Oxymoron By Larry and Susan Kaseman Homeschools, Private Schools and System Education By Lynn Suter
The Education Standards Movement Spells Trouble for Private and Home Schools By Cathy Duffy
Where Will That Leave Us? By Helen Hegener
Your Decisions Affect My Homeschooling Freedoms By Larry and Susan Kaseman
Let's Not Let Cyber Charter Schools Do In Homeschooling By Larry and Susan Kaseman Gift or Seducation By Carolyn Forte
Charter Schools: Trojan Horses of Homeschooling By Judy Shewmake
Charter Schools for Homeschool Families—Wolf in Sheep's Clothing By Bruce D. Purdy
Charter Schools—Promise or Threat? By Roy Hanson
Homeschoolers, Is Our Good Name For Sale? By Larry and Susan Kaseman
How Government or Public Schools Subvert Homeschooling and Private Schools By Manfred B. Zysk
Charter Schools:Look Before You Leap! By Roy Hansen
Charter Schools—The Price is Too High From The Home School Court Report
K12® ... Panacea or Plague? By Lynn Stuter
Hanging on to What Makes Homeschooling Distinctive By Larry and Susan Kaseman
What About Tax-funded Vouchers, Tax Credits, and Charter Schools?
Are Vouchers the Solution for Our Failing Public Schools? By Rep. Ron Paul, MD
Hijacking the Voucher Movement By Cathy Duffy
The Education Standards Movement Spells Trouble for Home Schools By Cathy Duffy
Why Public Schools Want Homeschool Extracurricular Activities By Dan Johnson
Let's Keep Homeschoolers Out Of Public School ID Systems By Larry and Susan Kaseman
Putting Public E-Schools in Homes By Larry and Susan Kaseman
How Public E-Schools Affect Homeschooling By Larry and Susan Kaseman
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