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Compulsory Education

Its History and Effects


Earl & Diane Rodd

Compulsory education laws are the bedrock of the modern government education system. This booklet provides a history of compulsory education so that readers can understand the roots of many current problems. The booklet begins with a careful look at the earliest examples of education in our nation among the Pilgrims and the Puritans and after contrasting those two groups and their approaches, follows development to the modern era. Only by knowing these roots can we effectively battle modern problems, and perhaps, more importantly, avoid repeating the errors of the past.

Compulsory Education

Its History and Effects

Families Honoring Christ

"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart
and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

Earl & Diane Rodd
6044 Pine Creek St. N.W. North Canton, OH 44720

Phone: (330) 305-9318

1st edition - June, 1996

2nd edition - December, 1997

3rd edition - December, 1998

4th edition - May 2000

Permission is granted to copy this article for personal sharing
but not for sale or other commercial purposes.

FHC is an Ohio based ministry providing information, encouragement
and fellowship to Christian families, natural and spiritual.

Unless otherwise noted, All Scripture quotations are from the

New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1988,

The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

See fhc.rodd.us for further information including online versions of this and other booklets. Additional copies of this booklet may be ordered from FHC by writing to the above address. A full listing of other books and booklets on related topics is also available from FHC at fhc.rodd.us.

Compulsory Education

Its History and Effects

Psalms 110:3
3. Thy people will volunteer freely in the day of Thy power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Thy youth are to Thee {as} the dew.

This small verse contains three important principles for home educating families.

  1. God's people are volunteers because of Christ's power. We are not hirelings. We obey God's will, and we embrace His ways because God's love and power has drawn us to Himself.
  2. We are holy because Christ's atoning blood has made us so. Our lifestyle and conduct reflect the God we love and obey.
  3. God's youth bring refreshment to Him and thus to the others.
This verse in simplicity and yet in entirety reveals God's will concerning the youth of any nation.

When we agreed to train our children at home ten years ago, we became part of a revival of God in the sphere of education. It has been exciting, exhausting, exhilarating as well as excellent. We did it voluntarily. No one forced us, coerced us or bribed us into educating our children. "We volunteered freely in the day of His power." When God opened the eyes of our understanding on this important biblical principle and gave us the ability to "see" from His perspective, to "see" what the written word of God actually says about parental responsibility in the area of education, He also released His grace and the power of His Holy Spirit to enable us to accept seriously our God-given authority and responsibility. We knew if God gave us the command to train our own children at home, to choose their curricula and method of learning, to keep them under our watchful eye so their character could have the chance to become conformed to the image of Christ, then He would also give us the ability (grace) to persevere, endure and experience the "extra" training He would take us parents through as well. It has been the best choice we have made since we chose to marry each other!

We have heard a lot of discussion in Christian circles concerning the need for reform in public education. We have sat through hours of horror stories concerning intended individual state curricula changes to achieve attitudinal and behavior modifications in those who attend public schools. We have been warned of the coming horrors on the federal level of national standards, national licensing boards, national testing, et cetera. Having lived in Australia and under fabian socialism for 9 years, we have not only heard it all before, we have lived under the tyranny and hypocrisy of such a system. (We would add here that very few Christian schools in that country are able to resist the mandates and laws that socialistic education programs continually impose upon them.)

Some Christians have seen through the folly of tax vouchers and the inherent loss of freedom that such a system will bring. Some Christians cry adamantly for the monopoly of public education to be broken and for the reestablishment of competition in the private sector (new business) in educational institutions. There are some who see beyond that and cry for the defunding of federal bribery to states by cutting off the flow of money at the federal level to the states and forcing the states to fund their own educational policies and thus force control back to the state level. We would concur with the later proposal, but verse 3 of Psalm 110 urges us to seek the biblical restoration of the education of our country's youth. Our question: Is local control a Biblical mandate?

As we participate in political educational seminars and discussions about getting family values and biblical standards back into the public schools, we hear statements that can be unsettling. We do care about the millions of children in the US who are not being educated in the public school system, but more importantly we care about the inalienable rights of the parents of our nation's school age students. We care about parents who do not have the legal freedom from government controls to educate their children however they choose. Whether a parent trains his own children at home, sends them to private school or sends them to public school, there is a common denominator for all parents in this country. We all have to obey compulsory attendance laws. We are coerced to educate our children under threat of punishment by civil authorities. Coercion is not God's perfect will in this age of grace. Our questions: "When did this coercion begin? Why did it begin? How do we rectify this problem? How do we establish Biblical freedom for all of the country's youth and their parents?

We have heard that public schools in 1690 used the New England Primer. We can rejoice about that and wish for the good old days, or we can seriously look into our nation's history to see if there were seeds of deception sown even then that has put a snare around our feet today. We have heard that schools began to decline when prayer and Bible reading were removed from public education in 1962 and 1963. Now that prayer and Bible studies have been given Constitutional redress many Christians are lobbying for Christian curricula (circa 1690? or 1950?) to be allowed back in public schools. Some Christians have argued that public schools lost local control when the authority on the state level was bribed away by the lure of federal tax dollars. We think the root problem can be discovered further back in our nation's history.


Diane's little hometown Ohio community suffered irrevocable harm when the one room school was shut down, and the children were forced to ride buses to the closest city schools. Her local community had twenty homes within a 10 minute walk of the school building which first functioned as the local non-denominational church. The church still functions but the education that also occurred there stopped in October 1946. Prayer and Bible reading in public schools were fully protected then. Federal funding would not occur until 20 years later. In 1972 the rural local high schools within Jefferson Country were consolidated into two extremely large high schools. Some of the former high schools became grade schools or magnet schools. Now the children of rural Jefferson County have only two high schools to attend, and many children get on a bus at 6:30 a.m. and do not return home until 3:45 p.m. A student within this system may spend more than 9 hours a day away from his own home. If a child needs ten hours of sleep a night, that child is only left with 5 hours a day to eat his dinner and do his homework. When does a child have the time to rest or seek to develop his own talents, hobbies or interests? One would think the child labor laws could be applied to remedy this deplorable condition!


In spite of federal tax dollars, the local school board in Lakewood, Ohio, (suburb of Cleveland) asks for continual tax increases to support its educational budget. In 1993 for the first time in 10 years the school levy failed at the election booth, but it was placed on the ballot in different forms 4 times in less than 2 years at an incredible cost until a "yes" vote for a tax increase was received. The local community was fed horror stories, propaganda, and outright lies. Every spring and every fall the people were manipulated by words of accusation designed to foster unbiblical feelings of guilt and condemnation. The local citizens who voted "no" on the tax levies were cited as "selfish," "uncaring," and "ignorant." These manipulative propaganda techniques were applied until enough of the population who voted "no" were persuaded to vote "yes" on the school levy. The attitude of the Board of Education assessed the citizens of Lakewood as ignorant, incompetent masses, who needed indoctrinated by the media to see the light. Earl attended one board meeting which was nothing more than a "gang up on the citizens" session and "win." Earl started a spirited discussion when he noted that he was one of the majority of voters who thought they "won" in the election that said, NO!" The "yes" vote finally came in the spring of 1995. This scenario is repeated ad nauseam in every school district in this nation. In 1946 Diane's parents had no choice. Their little one room school was taken away from them, and there was nothing they could do, or was there? (For those who would like to see a brief encapsulated educational history of Ohio turn to Appendix A.)

Why are we Christians losing this battle? Why are we continually accepting little increments of appeasement? We think the root of this problem is found in our erroneous belief that our Puritan forefathers in Massachusetts had God's perfect plan for the education of our youth. Because children were publicly educated under the Puritan control of Biblical teachings, we Christians assume it was God's perfect will. Was it?

This quote from Clarence B. Carson's, A Basic History of the United States, The Colonial Experience, Vol 1, reveals the true intent of the Puritan fathers.

There was however, a major effort made to establish the village or town system, somewhat on the European model, in New England. Not only were the Puritans themselves mostly townspeople and influenced by the English pattern, but they also conceived it as a means of maintaining political and religious control over the development of the colonies. The companies, or governments of the colonies, achieved their aim of having settlements made in towns by granting blocks of land to towns. The lands were then parceled out to families, usually in small lots....The governments of the colonies could do much of their governing by laying down rules for the towns. They could, for example, require the towns to provide schools. They could make them responsible for poor relief. Each town, too, had one church, and only one usually. The bounds of a congregation, then, were the same as those of a town. That made it much easier and simpler for the close ties between church and state to be maintained than would otherwise have been the case (90-91).

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1985)

The task of teaching them [children] befell the parents. Later, when they were old enough, the burden was conferred upon the school. And schools were not long in coming. The first probably at Boston, which, in 1635, sought the services of a schoolmaster. The year following [1636], Charlestown undertook to pay a teacher out of the the town purse. Three years thereafter [1639], Dorchester made fiscal provision to maintain a permanent town school. What these towns inaugurated other imitated, so that by the 1640's the idea of town-supported schooling had lost its novelty (52 Vol 18).

Thus we can see that it was the Puritans, not the original Pilgrims, who wished to "control" the citizens by the use of the church and town system. This "loco parentis" control has now evolved up to the national level, but many Christians today are making the same mistake the Puritan fathers made. As long as Christians are in local control, we think the system is fine. However, when the control moves into the hands of atheists or socialists, we demand that our philosophical persuasions be given equal time.

However, in 1642, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

ordered parents and masters of apprentices to see to it that their charges were instructed in reading, religion, and the colony's principle laws. Five years later [1647], the General Court reinforced this enactment with yet another. Aimed, as it explained, at the "old deluder Satan," it undertook to thwart him from keeping "men from a knowledge of the Scriptures," by requiring every township of 50 households to commission someone to teach reading and writing. In addition, the law directed towns of 100 families to furnish instruction in Latin grammar so that youth might be "fitted for the university." Finally, the measure required a teacher to be paid by "parents or masters...or by the inhabitants in general." Nevertheless, the measure was given only a pallid obedience, and directly and indirectly numerous towns evaded its requirements. More pertinent, doubtless, to subsequent times, is its underlying assumption that the state may compel the schooling of its young and that in order to support education it may impose taxes (52 Vol 18).

Please note well: it was our Puritan Christian forefathers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who first proposed on American soil the idea of local (central) control of the colony's youth usurping the Biblical mandate from the private hands of the parents.

Carson also gives the date of the first compulsory attendance law in our nation as 1647. Even though it was not a state law as we would accept today, it was a government "control" issue over the family from its earliest inception, and as Carson points out, it was not widely accepted.

It would be misleading, however, to convey the impression that colonists conceived of education in the ways it is thought of today. They rarely confused schooling with education. There were no state imposed education systems. Massachusetts did enact a law in 1647 requiring towns with more than 50 householders to provide schools, and the Dutch had some tax supported schools in New York before the English took over the colony. But the Dutch schools were taken over and run by churches after the English conquest, and New England efforts to force towns to maintain schools did not come to much (124).

Thus we can ascertain that the earliest education in our country was in the responsible hands of the parents, and it would take quite a few years before the benign loving control was entirely wrenched out of parental hands. This was certainly true in the Southern colonies.

For years, town life was impossible and so, per consequence, were town schools. But even had their establishment been feasible, the odds against them were staggering, since the ruling classes, like their analogues overseas in England, were averse to schooling the young under governmental direction. Instead, they regarded education as a personal concern, the affair of parent and church rather than the state. Left thus to their own devices, Southerners schooled their young to suit their taste, the rich resorting to tutors and private schools and the rest scratching out an education as best they could. Time saw the appearance of a number of free schools serving those who were neither rich nor poor. For the offspring of the low-down and unregarded folk, Virginia enacted its law of 1642. An echo of England's Poor Law, it provided for the "relief of such parents whose poverty extends not to give them [the children] breeding." For this purpose it ordered the creation of a "workhouse school" at James City to which each county was to commit two children of an age of six or over. There, besides being reared as Anglicans, they were to be "instructed in honest and profitable trades and manufactures as also to avoid sloth and idleness." Amended several times, the statue became the model for similar legislation throughout the South (Enc Brit 53 Vol 18).

In Puritan New England and in the Anglican South the state controlled the religion and the education. As we peer into history, we can see the gradual undermining of the God-given right of parents to have responsible control over the education of their own children. In each part of colonial America the responsible control was systematically passed legally to the irresponsible control of local towns.


Because Diane's brother could walk to school in 1946, his parents assumed they had local control. In Lakewood, Ohio, the children all walk to school, but the parents have no more control over curricula, discipline, graduation requirements, food and birth control handouts, extra curricular activities, et cetera than parents had in 1946. Many say, "Defund the school at election time!" Defunding doesn't bring control at the local level or at the state level and probably won't bring the solution at the national level either. If "defunding" does work, it will only work for a season until the citizens lose their understanding of the educational and political process and vote "yes" for tax money to be spent on education again, and the whole cycle around the educational mountain begins again. How do we ever stop this insane process once and for all? We must look into the history of the evolution of education in our nation to see where the errors were first made. If we can correct them there, we may have an opportunity to bring the education of our youth back under God's blessing.

The Puritan compulsory attendance laws were not acceptable to many of our early Pilgrim forefathers. We need to look further back into history to see if the system of education (local control) that many Christians are now promoting is the one that our Pilgrim forefathers envisioned.


The Old Comers (Pilgrims) first stepped on the soil of this country in 1620. Of the 102 who first sailed together only 35 were members of the English Separatist Church (radical faction of Puritanism) who had earlier fled to Leyden, Netherlands, to escape persecution at home. Two-thirds of their number were non-separatists who were hired to protect the vested interests of the London stock company who financed the Pilgrims (Enc Brit 441 Vol 9). Together they faced a harsh northern wilderness climate, pagan Indians, fire, famine, disease, death and utter despair. At the end of their first winter their numbers had been reduced from 102 to 50. By 1621 there were only 7 families who comprised the whole colony! The fighting forces of Captain Miles Standish usually comprised of only 3-8 men. However, by 1629 they added 35 families when others from Leyden were able to join them. During that 9 year period of separation from those who were of a kindred spirit, they had established friendly relationships with the Indians, planted and harvested crops, traded in corn, set up a fishing enterprise, established an exporting business (furs) to obtain necessities from England and Europe, and were generally astounding the English and European civilizations with the glorious wonders of life free from governmental and religious control. (Abott)

Carson describes the educational prowess of the Pilgrim Fathers this way.

Education was mainly a family responsibility in colonial America, and the extent was largely left up to the individual. There were no compulsory attendance laws enforced by governments. Most children got at least their early education in the home, where they might be taught to read, write and figure, but almost certainly would be trained in housekeeping if they were girls, and in many of the tasks of making a living if they were boys....Trades and professions were usually learned by serving an apprenticeship under someone who had mastered them. This was usually so whether it was carpentry, ironmaking, medicine, or the law (124-125).

According to Abbot who utilized the diaries, letters, narratives and histories of Bradford, Mourt, Johnson, Young, Morton, Winslow, Baylies, Blake, and Higginson, the Pilgrims' practical Christianity had triumphed over the English and European self-seeking adventurers, ruffian fishermen and unruly fur traders who encroached upon this land without the internal restraint of obedience to the Holy Spirit. These unregenerate men did not understand the responsibilities that accompany true freedom, and thus violated many of the sensibilities of the native American Indians. These men introduced guns and liquor to the native Indians in spite of the king's laws against such despicable behavior. They stole furs, food and other necessities from the Indians, violated their women, and instigated numerous relationship crises between the Pilgrims and the Indians that the Pilgrims had to placate. Even though the Indians viewed all white men as the same, the Pilgrim Fathers were able to handle each emergency with the wisdom, guidance, power, and protection of the Holy Spirit. Very rarely was Indian blood ever shed by a Pilgrim, and that only occurred when the Indians attacked first. The Dutch colonists described the First Comers, as the Pilgrims were also called, in this manner.

De Rassieres, speaking of the Indians, is candid enough to say -- and to the honour of the Pilgrim Fathers let it be said -- 'The tribes in their neighbourhood have all the same customs as ours, only they are better conducted than ours, because the English give them the example of better ordinances and a better life; and who also, to a certain degree, give them laws by means of the respect they from the first have established among them (253)


The Old Comers engaged in fair trade, instituted just punishments and restitution when necessary, paid the Indians a fair price for furs, corn, and the land that they cultivated. They were able to do so without violating the authority and responsibility of the individual family. Within three years after their initial landing, they discovered that familial responsibility rather than "communism" brought industry and prosperity.

Each man took about an acre of land. Without ploughs, or the aid of cattle, this was all one man could cultivate. Immediately the advantages of individual property, instead of having a community of interest, was manifest. All the boys and youth were ranged under some family. This created a new scene of active industry. Much more corn was planted, it is said, than would have been otherwise. Even the women went willingly into the field to aid in planting, taking their little ones with them (Abbot 236).

At this time in our nation's history the family assumed full voluntary control of all aspects of life. Education, food production, business, foster parenting et cetera were all under the watchful care and protection of the family unit. Because of disease and famine in the early years, the whole colony was reduced to 7 family units. Children without parents (orphans) were cared for by those families who had parents. The stability and success of the Colony rested solely upon the families who understood the successful social principles contained within the teachings of the Bible. They learned early to imitate God's character.

Psalms 68:5
5. A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.
6. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Thus each couple was willing to take full responsibility of orphans under the authority and protection of their own home. There was no monetary gain for this laying down of ones' life to help the destitute. They were not hirelings; they were willing volunteers. God's plan for the family will always be superior to the state and federal counterfeit.

Responsiblity, authority, and nurture of the family provided all the necessities of life, and the colony began to prosper only when the Biblical principle was given the freedom to be obeyed. The children began to be useful and productive. Compulsory attendance laws and child labor laws didn't prevent them from being useful and productive. Education was part of life. It was not separate from family responsibilities and productivity. Thus the children learned more than reading and writing from working on their family acre. Our forefathers learned very early that all of life was an education. Schoolbells, schoolrooms, and separation from loving parental authority and accountability was totally foreign to these original freedom seekers.

Psalms 110:3
3. Thy people will volunteer freely in the day of Thy power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Thy youth are to Thee {as} the dew.

However, in 1630, life in colonial America changed drastically.

Ten years after the Pilgrims first began their quest for freedom from state and religious control, 1500 immigrants, most of whom were Puritans from England, arrived in New England. These immigrants were not of the same religious motivations as their predecessors. The Encyclopedia Britannica describes John Winthrop, the governor of this new colony, in the following manner:

Winthrop thus belonged to a class - the gentry - that became the dominant force in English society between 1540 and 1640, and he early assumed the habit of command appropriate to a member of the ruling class in a highly stratified society....For more than 20 years Winthrop was primarily a country squire at Groton, with no discernible interest in overseas colonization....He was an ardently religious person....His religious experience reinforced his elitist outlook, but it also made him a social activist....During the late 1620's, Winthrop felt increasingly trapped by the economic slump that reduced his landed income and by Charles I's belligerent anti-Puritan policy, which cost him his court post in 1629....On first arrival, in the early 1630's, he did his most creative work, guiding the colonists as they laid out a network of tightly organized towns, each with its church of self-professed saints. Winthrop himself settled at Boston, which quickly became the capital and chief port of Massachusetts. His new farm on the Mystic River was much inferior to his former estate at Groton, but Winthrop never regretted the move because he was free at last to build a godly commonwealth (709 Vol 12).

The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes William Bradford, the governor of Plimouth Colony, this way:

[At the age of 19] he joined a group of nonconformists who migrated to Holland (1609) in search of religious freedom. Dissatisfied with the lack of economic opportunity there, he helped organize an expedition of the "Pilgrims" in 1620. Aboard ship, he was one of the framers of the historic Mayflower Compact, an agreement for voluntary civil cooperation that became the foundation of the Plymouth government....Bradford is remembered mainly for his contribution in nurturing the fledgling colony's democratic institutions, such as the franchise and town meeting, thus establishing those traditions of self-government that would set the pattern for national political development in years to come. Although he called himself a Congregationalist, he discouraged sectarian labels and made a point of welcoming all Separatist groups to New England shores. In addition, he evolved means of assimilating nonbelievers into the life of the colony (452-453 Vol 2).

In these brief descriptions of these two men it is easy to see that their views of freedom of conscience and liberty are vastly different. Winthrop had a strong vision for a "godly commonwealth" along the lines of Cromwell's regime in England. This meant a strong alliance between the ruling government and the church. Bradford, being a radical Puritan, did not want any government forcing its religious will upon its citizens. Thus the two colonies were formed under very different premises concerning the freedom that Christ gives to all men.

For those readers who may rightly distrust a twentieth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the following excerpts from John Brown's, The Pilgrim Fathers of New England, will verify this difference between the two groups of Christians who first came to this country for religious freedom.

The Puritan, Francis Higginson, gives us the words of the Pilgrims and the Puritans himself to show the difference he viewed concerning the governmental freedom which was necessary to live by one's personal convictions based on the freedom found in Christ.

Francis Higginson went out in 1629, and, when the vessel in which he sailed was off the Land's End, he called his family, with some of the other passengers round him, to take the last farewell look of the land they were leaving and which they loved so well. Standing there, and looking eastward till the coast-line faded out of sight, he said: 'we will not say, as the Separatists were wont to say at their leaving of England, "Farewell Babylon, farewell Rome;" but we will say, "Farewell dear England, farewell the Church of God in England, and all the Christian friends there!" We do not go to New England as Separatists from the Church of England, though we cannot but separate from the corruptions in it; but we go to practise the positive part of church reformation, and propagate the Gospel in America (260).

The Puritan, John Winthrop, describes himself and his companions:

...as those who esteem it our honour to call the Church of England from whence we rise, our dear Mother; and cannot part from our native country where she especially resideth, without much sadness of heart and many tears in our eyes, ever acknowledging that such hope and part as we have obtained in the common salvation we have received in her bosom, and sucked it from her breasts. We leave it there not, therefore, as loathing that milk wherewith we were nourished there; but, blessing God for the parentage and education as members of the same body, shall always rejoice in her good and unfeignedly grieve for any sorrow that shall ever betide her (260).

The Separatists (Pilgrims) experienced the wicked seeds of ancient pagan cultures, Greece and Rome, choking out the fruitfulness of the pure word of God and wished to cast off every hindrance to walk simply and purely with Christ.

These differences were apparent when the original American Pilgrims first arrived in Amsterdam, Holland from Scrooby, England and attempted to join a Separatist group from Gainsborough, England, who had gone to Amsterdam in 1606. The differences of church government between the two groups would also influence their ideas of family, education, and state control.

Smyth's views underwent a change in the matter of doctrine first and of baptism afterwards, and in Johnson's church some internal matters of discipline had altered his views of church government generally. He [Smyth] now came to the conclusion that it [church government] ought to be vested in elders chosen by the congregation, while Robinson and Ainsworth were of opinion that it should be vested in the Church of which the elders were a part. They contended that bishops or elders were ordinary governors, and not lords over God's heritage, as if 'the Church could not be without them.' It is given to ministers, they said, to feed, guide, and govern the Church, but not themselves to be the Church, and to challenge the power of the same in things pertaining to the kingdom of God. They pointed out that it was through yielding in this matter that a priestly hierarchy rose to power in the Church, with all the evils ensuing, which, had the people made a stand against at the outset, and practised the Gospel in the order set by Christ, would never have prevailed. They could not yield on this point. 'If,' said they, 'we should let the true practice of the Gospel go, posterity after us, being brought into bondage, might justly blame and curse us that we did not stand for the rights of the people in that which we acknowledge to be their due.'...Seeing storms gathering, after being about a year at Amsterdam, Robinson and the brethren from Scrooby resolved peaceably to withdraw and start church life afresh at Leyden, though, as Bradford says, 'they well knew that it would be much to the prejudice of their outward estate both in the present and in the future, as indeed it proved to be'(116-117).


Abbott describes the motives of the Leyden Pilgrims in terms of the nurture and education of their children.

Thus gradually the Pilgrims came to the conviction that Holland was not a desirable place for their permanent home. Notwithstanding the oppression which they had endured from the British government, they were very unwilling to lose their native language or the name of Englishmen. They could not educate their children as they wished, and it was quite certain their descendants would become absorbed and lost in the Dutch nation....'Hereby they thought they might more glorify God, do more good to their country, better provide for their posterity, and live to be more refreshed by their labors than ever they could do in Holland' (24-25).

Thus it is clear from this direct quote from Winslow's Briefe Narrative, (31) as quoted by Abbott, that the earliest English settlers in this country did not want the education of their youth under anyone's control but their parents.

We can not be political conservatives. True Radicals look for the root of the problem because we know if we can destroy the root structure, we can destroy the plant. As far as we can ascertain, this country was founded in part for the freedom to educate one's children under the God-given responsibility and authority as revealed in the Bible. Our Pilgrim Fathers came here to be free from a state controlled religion that sought to encroach upon an individual's freedom of conscience and liberty of thought and practice. Governor Bradford understood and observed the lengths at which the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony were willing to suffer for the educational freedom to raise their children without governmental control. In contrast Governor Winthrop who arrived ten years later never knew the same kinds of suffering that the Pilgrim Fathers endured. Winthrop and other Puritans never broke with the philosophy that the state's power could be used to enforce religious thought and practice. Even though the Puritans were not in the same league as the Spanish Inquisition, the basic philosophy or understanding of individual freedom was not part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. As we have seen the two colonies were radically different.

Even the pious Puritans, who migrated from their own country to America, that they might enjoy religious liberty, persecuted, in their turn, even unto death for the sake of religion; (Scott 42).

According to Carson (p.126), "the Massachusetts colony had a printing press by 1639." According to Abbot (267), "The Plymouth colonists recognized the superior numbers, opulence, and rank of the Massachusetts brethren, and were ever ready to render to them the precedence." Thus we see that money is power; the media rules; and the truth of God's perfect will concerning parental control of a child's education fell into dark oblivion in our nation's history within twenty-seven years of the Old Comers' original intent.

The history of many nations reveal that compulsory attendance laws have been used in the guise of a "caring helping government" to wrest God's will from the direct responsibility of parents. Whether Christian in Puritan Massachusetts (1647) or secular humanism in Horace Mann's Massachusetts (1837) or atheistic communism (1920-1990's), ruling governments know that the control of education is the most efficient way to control the citizens.

Even though Horace Mann eventually lived and died in Ohio, he was born in Massachusetts and probably inherited his idea of state control over education from the historical Puritan influence predominant in that state. The notorious Kennedy family may have inherited the same political/educational philosophical tendencies believing that the political control by a few over many is superior to individual educational freedom. Even though Mann "grew up in an environment of poverty, hardship, and self-denial," he managed to educate himself in his hometown library. Through some tutoring by an itinerant school master Mann was able to enter Brown University as a sophomore at age 20. Thus Horace Mann, who believed and promoted "public education as free and universal, nonsectarian, democratic in method, reliant on well-trained teachers," was himself an example of one who had absolute freedom over his own education (Enc Brit 781 Vol 7). He was not under any restriction of a state compulsory attendance law that forced him to be in a math class when he wanted to study Latin. Even though his parents didn't actually tutor him, Horace Mann can be seen as an example of one who enjoyed a truly self-determined free education. He was not restricted by child labor laws when he needed to support himself. There was no welfare system to weaken his resolve to work and learn. One who is truly motivated will educate himself.

In the late 1820's and early 1830's the idea of a "common school" began to totally undermine the meager vestiges of the original Pilgrim vision of American educational freedom. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes those turbulent years this way.

Open freely to every child and upheld by public funds, it [common school] was to be a lay institution under the sovereignty of the state, the archfather, in short, of the present-day American public school. Bringing the common school into being was not easy. Against it bulked the doctrine that elementary school was essentially for pious ends and that any education that excluded religious instruction - as all state-maintained schools were legally compelled to do - was godless. Nor had there been any great recession of the contention that education was not a proper governmental function, and for a state to engage therein was an intrusion into parental privilege. Still more distasteful was the fact that public schooling would occasion a rise in taxes (60 Vol 18).

It is here that we see the hypocrisy of the early town-schools. As long as the church controlled the curricula and forced attendance upon those within its district; as long as the Bible was the main curriculum in these locally-controlled schools, the church felt the system was God-inspired. They didn't care that parents were separated from their young children and may have been taught contrary to the beliefs of the parents. However, when the local control moved out of the hands of those who believed the church and the state could control every child's education, a small battle ensued, but God's perfect plan for education was lost in the euphoria of a country that was moving quickly into the Industrial Revolution.

Because Horace Mann perceived a decline in the quality of education of the public school system in Massachusetts, he was committed to reestablish central state control over the education of his state's youth. He said, "The school control had gradually slipped into the hands of economy-minded local districts." It is amazing to look at the history of education in this country and watch the same mistakes get made over and over again. Rather than put the control of education of young people back into the hands of their own parents where it rightfully belongs, the professional political assessment is to get the control farther away from the parents. Local control of public education in the early 1800's didn't succeed in Massachusetts because people do not like to be coerced to spend money on another person's child. Even though the historical record reveals the debate that tax-supported public schools engendered, very few commentators see that the debate never brought the total responsibility back to the individual parents. The local control or town-school inherited from the Puritans has always superseded the Biblical God-given mandate of parental familial responsibility.

Massachusetts again set the pace for America's educational decline by establishing more state control over the education of children who were beyond grammar school age. In 1827 Massachusetts legislated that towns of 500 families had to

furnish public instruction in American history, algebra, geometry, and bookkeeping, in addition to the common primary subjects. Furthermore, towns of 4000 were to offer courses in history, logic rhetoric, Latin and Greek. Unhappily the measure lacked public backing, and a generation passed before its boons became an actuality. Nevertheless it set the guideposts for similar legislation elsewhere. Although highschools steadily increased, the contention that government had no right to finance them remained an issue until the 1870's, when Michigan's supreme court, finding for the city of Kalamazoo in litigation brought by a taxpayer, declared the high school to be a necessary part of the state's system of public instruction (Enc. Brit 60 Vol 18).

God did not then nor has He ever given a sanctioned Biblical mandate for delegated authority by the church or by the state to interfere in the parental responsibility and authority to educate its own child; nor does the forced appropriation of funds by taxation to pay for such endeavors have His blessing, and thus those educational systems that depend upon such coercion are never blessed by Him. There is never enough money to support such a devilish system; it is a black hole that sucks the life out of everyone who touches it. It may take time, but bad fruit eventually smells bad and always leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.

However, in 1837 Horace Mann single handedly persuaded "the state of Massachusetts to establish a state board of education, charged with collecting and publicizing school information throughout the state." Our country is still being deceived by the educational theories he expertly proposed. The Encyclopaedia Britannica cites the following (781):

  1. a republic cannot long remain ignorant and free, hence the necessity of universal popular education;
  2. that such education must be paid for, controlled, and sustained by an interested public;
  3. that such education is best provided in schools embracing children of all religious, social, and ethnic backgrounds;
  4. that such education, while profoundly moral in character, must be free of sectarian religious influence;
  5. that such education must be permeated throughout by the spirit, methods, and discipline of a free society, which preclude harsh pedagogy in the classroom; and
  6. that such education can be provided only by well-trained, professional teachers.
Even though Mann himself was a direct antithesis to everything he proposed for the youth of Massachusetts, he succeeded in promulgating his beliefs everywhere he went.

"Mann encountered strong resistance to these ideas - from clergymen who deplored nonsectarian schools, from educators who condemned his pedagogy as subversive of classroom authority, and from politicians who opposed the board as an improper infringement of local educational authority - but his views prevailed" (Enc Brit 781 Vol 7).

In Massachusetts first and in less than 100 years also in every other state Horace Mann's prevailing philosophy became an accepted practice.

Now that the educational theories of Horace Mann have been avowed for 150 years, we can accurately access their viability. We can observe that:

  1. a state controlled educational system does not eradicate ignorance; it has helped to foster it. Our literacy rates keep dropping, and our youth are enslaved are every younger ages to alcohol, drugs and illicit sex;
  2. a "free" tax-supported state controlled educational system gets more costly and demands more tax money every year. The educational monopoly and the lack of rigorous competition, keeps the system inefficient and wasteful. No one is accountable to trim the budget. The ability to raise revenues by manipulated taxation always brings in the cash flow;
  3. a state controlled educational system promotes class distinctions in hair styles, clothing styles, music et cetera. It separates pupils by age thus engendering exclusiveness. It accepts all cultural distinctives, even the toleration of gang members who advocate killing other rival gang members. It promotes racial hatred by forcing a mixture of the people groups outside of the protection of the local neighborhoods. It advocates homosexuality, lesbianism, premarital sexual relationships which places many of our youth in serious social and mental conflict with parental values fostered in the home and puts their physical lives in serious danger;
  4. a state controlled educational system tolerates all religions except Christianity thus excluding one major religion. It attempts to teach morals without any foundation on which moral choices must be made. The religion of "self" is exalted above all others.
  5. a state controlled educational system fosters a permissive, uncontrolled life-style that handicaps students when they enter the real world of work, responsibility and accountability;
  6. a state controlled educational system trains teachers how to avoid parental conflict by teaching them how to side step every issue, subject, or teaching technique that might cause parental interference. Teachers are now masters at deception, innuendo, and double speak. The hidden agenda is never openly debated. Homeschooling statistics have proven that parents make better teachers than certified professionals (Klicka, The Right Choice... 237-247 Chapter 12, "The Myth of Teacher Qualifications").
Now that the modern state controlled educational system has miserably failed this nation's youth, parents are now being asked to quietly allow the control of public education to move under the total control of the national government in Washington D.C. Now this emotional appeal to our unselfish incompetence sounds nice, and it looks good in print, but it violates the written word of God.

Deuteronomy 6:4
4. "Hear, O Israel! The \Lord\ is our God, the \Lord\ is one!
5. "And you shall love the \Lord\ your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6. "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart;
7. and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
8. "And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

Proverbs 6:20
20. My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
21. Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck.
22. When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you.
23. For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life,

These two passages make it very clear that parents are to be responsible for their own children 24 hours a day. We can find no scripture that supports or allows parents to "delegate" their responsibility to nurture, educate, train and discipline their children to a stranger. Whether it be a Christian stranger or an atheistic stranger, a Jewish stranger, a Muslim stranger, or a New Age stranger, the danger lies in straying from God's approved plan of education. God's word (Proverbs 1:8 and 6:20 says parents (father and mother) are to be nurturing, teaching, training, influencing and discipling their own children. God has not given this power to any other individual, group, institution or to any government.

Compulsory attendance laws have been used in every nation to get children away from parental care, to steal responsibility away from the parents, to usurp the parental authority and control of their own children.

One of the most significant results was the gradual acceptance of the view that education ought to be the responsibility of the state. Some countries such as France and Germany, were inspired by a mixture of public educational systems early in the 19th century. Others, such as Great Britain and the United States, under the spell of laissez-faire, hesitated longer before allowing the government to intervene in educational affairs. The school reformers in these countries had to combat the prevailing notion that "free schools" were to be provided only for pauper children, if at all; and they had to convince society that general taxation upon the whole community was the only adequate way to provide education for all the children of all the people (Enc Brit 54 Vol 18).

More importantly these compulsory attendance laws have been a deceptive tool to keep parents in a perpetual state of disobedience, exposed to continual guilt and condemnation because they don't have the freedom to obey God's law even if they knew it.

If I delegate my inalienable, God-given responsibilities to another person, I put that delegated authority in:

  1. a place of disobedience to God's word. In other words, I place a stumbling block in that person's path, and I help them disobey God's commands.
  2. a place of continual guilt. Because God has given this responsibility to me, my delegated authority has no power to do my job correctly. Thus that person continually incurs guilt for not doing a good job.
  3. a place of condemnation. Because my God-given authority has been abandoned and usurped, the delegated authority has no wisdom with which to do my job. The delegated person has no authority because God hasn't given it to that person. Thus a cloud of condemnation rather than freedom is the delegated authority's constant companion.
The history of the Roman Empire gives the best historical evidence of the decline of a nation when the parental authority and responsibility is delegated to another person. The following quotes are from The Rebirth of America, Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation.

The events which led to the collapse of the Roman Empire are startling similar to the events which are occurring in our nation today.

Historical sequence is as follows:

  1. Strong families: Rome was founded on high moral standards. Each father was responsible as the head of the family. In the early republic, the father had legal authority to discipline rebellious members of his family.
  2. Home education: The education of the children was the responsibility of the parents. This further strengthened the children's honor and respect for their parents and also deepened the communication and understanding between parents and children....
  3. Infiltration of "The Lie": As Roman families prospered, it became fashionable to hire educated Greeks to care for the children. Greek philosophy with its humanistic and godless base, was soon passed on to the Roman families. Women demanded more rights and, in order to accommodate them, now marriage contracts were designed, including "open marriages."
  4. Big Government: By the first century AD the father had lost his legal authority. It was delegated to the village, then to the city, then to the state, and finally to the emperor. In Rome, citizens complained about housing shortages, soaring rents, congested traffic, polluted air, crime in the streets, and the high cost of living. Unemployment was a perennial problem. To solve it, the government created a multitude of civil service jobs, including building inspectors, health inspectors, and tax collectors.
  5. Decline and Persecution: The problem of big government only multiplied. Meanwhile, a flourishing New Testament Church was established in the Roman Empire through the preaching of the Apostle Paul, and others. The final act of the Roman Empire was to bring great persecutions to these Christians. Rome was quite tolerant of all religions except Christianity. It was banned and Christians were persecuted, burned, and thrown to the lions. Why? Because the very nature of Christianity is intolerant of "the lie" of satan which is the basis of every other religion.

The United States of America was given the Divine Mandate to restore Biblical truth to the nations in terms of family responsibility and freedom of conscience from government control. The Pilgrim Fathers planted those seeds of freedom at the cost of their own lives. As we move into the 21st century, home educators continue to uphold the "freedom of parent-controlled education." Over the last 20 years the Christian homeschool movement has attempted to wrest educational control from state and local government and put it back into hands of the family where it belongs, but we have not yet done so at the root level of intrusion. Even though every state has laws and regulations in place that gives protection to home educators to train their children at home, we are still forced to comply with compulsory attendance laws. These laws are wicked and evil and need to be overturned.


If our family moved to an Islamic country, our children would be forced to attend an Islamic school. Is that Biblically correct? If we live within the confines of that nation, do we have to obey the authorities of that nation if it violates our religious beliefs? If a Muslim family had lived in Diane's hometown in 1965, their children would have been forced to attend the public schools in her small rural community with a population of 1200. In spite of the Supreme Court ruling of 1962, and 1963 Bible reading and prayer went over the whole school through the central intercom system headquartered in the superintendent's office. Most Christians would applaud this stand her teachers took over 30 years ago because "our" beliefs and philosophy were in ascendency in the public school system. Our Christian beliefs were dominant and in power because compulsory attendance laws were in place. A Muslim in her hometown would not have had the freedom to resist this invasion of a belief system. No one could escape the sound of the intercom speaker. The teachers forced us to be quiet, sit still and listen. A Jehovah Witness classmate of Diane's never stood for the singing of the National Anthem and never placed his hand over his heart to cite the American Pledge of Allegiance when the other students were doing so. He never forsook his religious convictions, and he was never ostracized or ridiculed for his beliefs, but he still had to listen to others who did participate. The compulsory attendance laws forced his parents to send him to a school that instigated practices against their belief system.

Now that secular humanism has the ascendency and power in the public school system, Christian individuals, churches, Christian lobbyists, et cetera are always challenging the public school to give them fair time, but when Jews and atheists of the past decried this public coercion, the Christians were outraged. We wanted our God to be honored and held up as the one true God. It sounds Biblical, but is it?


As Christian parents in the 1970's, we saw that public school was not a safe place for the spirit, soul and bodies of our foster children. We opted for private school for the youngest. As a public and private school teacher, Diane always knew deep in her heart that something was very wrong because she could correct only temporarily any symptoms that challenged her daily. She opted for a season to teach in private school and then did home-bound tutoring, but she eventually saw that none of this produced long-lasting fruit. Eventually we "knew" that home training was the answer for our own family, but the powers that be won't leave home educators alone. Why?

Christians are responsible to God to look for His perfect will and pattern for human beings.

Romans 12:2
2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

In obedience to this scripture we have discovered the violation of His word on a very simple level: volunteerism. The free will of man can choose God's way or refuse it. The will of parents (atheist, pagan, Muslim, Jewish, Christian) is not free in our country. As long as we have compulsory attendance laws concerning education, we will be fighting symptoms rather than cutting down the tree at its root structure, and we may be tempted to become frustrated, bitter, cynical and discouraged wondering if we are wasting our time. Once compulsory attendance laws are eliminated, the federal and state government is out of the way concerning other people's children. Parents are then free to leave them uneducated and suffer the consequences; send them to the public schools and suffer the consequences; send them to the private sector which will mushroom overnight and still suffer the consequences, or homeschool with no invasion of privacy. Homeschoolers will be free from notification, testing, certification and peer pressure! Freedom to choose God's will can be an option for all parents, and the freedom to disobey it can be chosen as well. Thomas Jefferson, one of the framers of the US Constitution and the third president of the United States, understood the educational freedom parents were to possess in this country.

It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father (Klicka, 114-115).

Once the compulsory attendance laws are no longer valid, federal funding, state taxes, and local taxes are no longer needed to support an organization that no longer has a monopoly. "When the public schools were formed and compulsory attendance laws were passed throughout the country in the early 1900's, home schooling almost died out" (Klicka, 112). The education nightmare that has plagued this nation for over 300 years can be corrected in one small change of man's laws that submits itself to God's law.

James 4:7
7. Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

What about poor parents, ghetto children, single parents...? This is the question that caused the compulsory attendance laws in the beginning. Puritans in Massachusetts Bay Colony insisted that state taxes be used to fund their state religion and their schools. The original 13 colonies all had their own form of religion they wanted to promote. Roger Smith in Rhode Island promoted his own. The citizens in Maryland promoted their own. The Carolina's promoted their own. Down through history, we have been taught that this was a state right guaranteed in the Constitution. However, just because it is in the Constitution does not mean it is the perfect will of God. Remember the Constitutional Convention refused to deal with unbiblical tenets of slavery. It took a civil war to correct the Constitutional error, but the spirit of partiality that caused the initial error still hasn't been cut off at its roots. There is a Biblical principle that each generation is responsible before God to deal with social evils as He determines. It is a gradual process of restoration that promises true victory.

Exodus 23:29
29. "I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate, and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.
30. "I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land.

Thus home educators will not be totally free until all families have the privilege and responsibility to educate their own children free from the threat of government coercion and intrusion.

What do we do if a state legislative body decides it wants to continue its atheistic, humanistic religion through the schools and change the homeschooling regulations and laws that now protect home schoolers within that state? What is our recourse? Do we continue to fight the symptoms of this problem or seek to rectify it where the error occurred?

Compulsory attendance laws were enacted first in Puritan Massachusetts to control its citizens. By so doing they undermined the very vision they had to create a "godly commonwealth." The home schooling movement which resurfaced in American in the late 1970's is the first major step in the restoration process of educational freedom and parental accountability which may have the opportunity to establish a godly nation of educational volunteers.

Before compulsory attendance laws replaced home education in colonial America, the

Literary education involved daily parental instruction of the children in reading and writing. The reading material would include the Bible, religious primers, some of the classical writings, history books, almanacs, et cetera (Klicka p 113).

However, the ability of parents to teach their own child to read was lost more than a hundred years ago when state compulsory attendance laws wrested the responsibility out of the hands of parents. Parents may have learned to read in the public schools of one hundred years ago, but they did not learn how to teach their own children to read. It is only in the home education community where this important literacy skill is being taught in such a way that the succeeding generation will be able to teach their own children how to read.

The literacy rate of a nation is extremely important for its ability to remain free from enslaving tendencies. Klicka quotes David Kearns, Chairman of the Xerox Corporation,

The American work force is in grave jeopardy....If current demographic and economic trends continue, American businesses will have to hire a million new workers a year who can't read, write or count. Teaching them how, and absorbing the lost productivity while they are learning will cost industry twenty five billion dollars a year for as long as it takes....It is a terrible admission, but twenty billion dollars a year for remedial training has become a necessary added cost of doing business (35).

What current demographic and economic trends do we have to change? None. But we do need to eliminate the compulsory attendance laws and the tax structure that supports the demographic and economic trends. If we don't, home educated students will be the only ones who will be able to compete or produce anything of value in this country. If this trend continues, home educators will either be persecuted or elevated to an "elite" status. We do not believe either one is good for this nation.

The vocational education (of colonial America) included daily household chores which "provided a continuous general apprenticeship in the diverse areas of living." Many times children would work along side their father and mother, learning usually diverse skills. If a child desired a trade or skill other than their parents' skills, he would acquire a formal apprenticeship with another business man or tradesman. Such apprenticeships were commonplace whether learning carpentry, iron making, medicine or law (Klicka, 114-115).

Home educated parents and their children are following the same colonial pattern. They are acquiring not only life skills that pertain to child rearing, home management, shopping, budgeting, cooking, repairs, et cetera, but they are also gaining experience in apprenticeship business opportunities of various skills. Computers, electronics, tailoring, farming, husbandry, auto mechanics, law, business management, et cetera are just a few of the multitudes of "extra" subject areas that home educators have the time to pursue. The state controlled public schools cannot begin to offer such a variety to its students. Only under the guidance and influence of parents can such opportunities exist for all children. The compulsory attendance laws continue to restrict, confine, limit and handicap those who continue to be deceived by its rhetoric.

The compulsory attendance laws which have usurped 13 years of a child's life in an institutional setting that is totally foreign to the real world of society and business eventually led to child labor laws. Not only do we Americans restrict a child from gaining the basic academic skills in the safety, protection and comfort of his own home, but we also have determined that he will feel utterly useless and invaluable until he is 18 or older. The only industry that seems to be exempt from child labor laws is the entertainment industry. That industry has always been free to employ children as actors, and no one seems to notice the hypocrisy. A child can be apprenticed to the acting profession at any age; while a parent who would like his child to be apprenticed to a plumber is legally prevented from doing so. The child labor laws keep a young, motivated, talented student from seeking employment and becoming a productive member of society. Santrock in Life Span Development explains this process.

Although adolescence has a biological base, socio-historical conditions contributed to the emergence of the concept of adolescence. American society may have "inflicted" the status of adolescence on its youth through child-saving legislation [child labor laws, juvenile criminal laws, etc]. By developing laws for youth only, the adult power structure placed young people in a submissive position that restricted their options, encouraged dependency, and made them move into the world of adult work more manageable. From 1890-1920 virtually every state developed laws that excluded youth from work and required them to attend school. In this time frame a 600 percent increase in the number of high school graduates occurred (Tyack, 1976). And by 1950, the development period we refer to as "adolescence" had come of age. Not only did it possess physical and social identity, but it also possessed legal identity as well. By this time every state had developed special laws for youth between the ages of 16-21 (8-9).

What does this mean to our nation? It means the legislatures of every state are responsible for the academic and vocational laws that are allowed to enslave and dehumanize our young people. It means that a slave mentality has been enforced on the population of this nation so long that most parents and grandparents think that people who homeschool their own children are social misfits that need to be be jailed!

However, the business communities know that something has to be done, and that is why they are so supportive of a central national solution to an individual family problem. Gerald Greenwald, chairman of Chrysler Corporation expressed his concern with ill-prepared students coming out of the public school to work for Chrysler this way:

You want to know what Chrysler's most harrowing private nightmare is? Our nightmare will be finding people capable of running that sophisticated plant in the years to come. I'm talking long-term as our current work force retires....And if they can't read, and if they can't write, and if they can't do simple basic calculations, they're not going to be able to run that billion dollar plant to anywhere near its world class potential.... Did you know that you and I and all the rest of American industry together spend more money each year teaching remedial math to US workers than all the grade schools, high schools, and colleges in this country combined? Chrysler alone is already spending $120 million a year training our workforce, and at least 10 percent of it goes to teach our employees the Three R's that they should have learned in school (Klicka, 36).

The really frightening thing about this quote is most businesses go to the public education sector to find its teachers to do the remediation programs. Even worse, they continue to pour funding into additional state school programs. The very ones who are responsible for the educational fiasco are hired to fix it, and the truth of the matter is, the educational crisis in this country is only being fixed by the home educators who have returned to the ancient paths of our Pilgrim Forefathers. Most home schooled children learn all their parents know and still have time to learn more. Thus a home schooled child whose parents have college degrees will probably learn both skills of both parents before he is 16. That child is more than adequately prepared for any job he or she attempts in the work force. However, as long as compulsory attendance laws and mandatory child labor laws remain and are enforced, only the home educated child will have the freedom to truly educate himself and to pursue his own interests. If compulsory attendance laws and child labor laws remain and are enforced, there will be a class distinction on the horizon that most home educators do not wish to see. We believe in the ability of the tares and the wheat to grow side by side. We welcome that opportunity. We do not fear the competition of other parents home schooling their children. We welcome them into the process because we know that family authority and parental responsibility were essential in establishing this country in its first 10 years, and the restoration of that family responsibility and authority will bring this nation closer to its God-given destiny.

The truancy laws have been a noose around the neck of parents ever since they were instigated. However, the true error really began with the Puritans in Massachusetts. Christopher Klicka agrees with our assessment, "Nowhere in scripture can a reference be found in which God delegated to the state the authority to forcibly educate another man's child" (Klicka, 101). However, nowhere in scripture can a reference be found in which God delegated to the church the authority to voluntarily educate another man's child for a private fee. Even though many Christians champion the right of the private sector to be allowed to enter a free market in the educational arena, the reality is: it will not bear the good fruit that so many are seeking. As we have already pointed out, the fall of Rome was markedly dependent upon the abdication of the father from his role as educator and disciplinarian. Some principles will never change, and if America insists on educating its youth outside the protective perimeters of the family, it will reap what it sows.

Jeremiah 6:16
16. Thus says the \Lord\, #"Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk {in it}.'

Jeremiah 18:15
15. 'For My people have forgotten Me, They burn incense to worthless gods And they have stumbled from their ways, From the ancient paths, To walk in bypaths, Not on a highway,

The US Constitution attempted to protect the citizens of the US from a federal intrusion into religion. Even though the state intrusion was left intact, James Madison, a framer of the Constitution and the fourth president of the United States, defeated Patrick Henry in the Virginia legislature in 1784 when Patrick Henry tried to give financial support to "teachers of the Christian religion" (Enc Brit 656 Vol 7). Madison, a very strong proponent of self-government, deplored government intrusion on both the national and state level. He once said,

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God" (Separation Between Church and State: The Truth).

General funds have been used erroneously in this country since 1647 to support common schools. As long as the general funds were collected voluntarily from those who had children in the school, there was little dissension. The school, if only one, was operating because the parents contributed to its maintenance and selection of a teacher. However, when those general funds were forceably collected as taxes from all within a certain geographic area rather than selectively from those parents who wished their children to attend that school, the door was left open for further abuse and chaos.

John Stuart Mills describes accurately what this would lead to. He said,

A general state education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government or [the will of] the majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body (Klicka, 89).

It is a known fact of history that every dictator who wishes to dominate and control the populace of a country does so through the youth. The main method used in most dictatorial regimes is the absolute control over the educational system. Neither the private sector nor the home is ever allowed to compete with the state under strong socialistic or communistic governments. Only in a true republic can families express their stable role in society.

Under US democracy we now live under a tolerable abuse of state control called "compulsory attendance laws" in which parents can be held liable for the truancy of their children. Wherever compulsory attendance laws are in place, no matter what time period, no matter what nation, the will of God is being superseded by man's law. Horace Mann exposed his true intent when he said,

What the church has been for medieval man, the public school must become for democratic and rational man. God will be replaced by the concept of the public good....The common schools [only grade school at this time in our nation's history] shall create a more far-seeing intelligence and a pure morality than has ever existed among communities of men (Klicka, p78).

When the common school couldn't produce utopia without God, the next move, as we have already established, was to make high school compulsory as well. Now guns, drugs, illiteracy, illicit sex, abortions, low self-esteem, non-achievers, crimes of theft, lying, cheating, murder et cetera are the legacy that Horace Mann's compulsory attendance laws have given to our children and the nation. After tinkering with a God-given educational structure inbuilt in the family unit, after more than 100 years of destruction and fragmentation of that family unit until there is barely any resemblance to normalcy, we have the National Educational Association still trying to prove that their concept of education is the only valid one that has a right to exist.

Because schools exist, the drug industry, the sex industry, the abortion industry, the entertainment industry, the socio-political industry have an unchallenged outlet where they can sell their evil agendas. When compulsory attendance laws are in effect a child in any school system finds it very difficult to obey the Lord's commands to "Fear Him and turn away from evil" (Proverbs 3:7). When a student is held captive 5-6 hours a day in a school room, he is continually "walking in the counsel of the ungodly; he is always standing in path of sinners; he is continually sitting in the seat of scoffers" (Psalm 1:1). Jesus said,

Matthew 18:5
5. "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;
6. but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.
7. "Woe to the world because of {its} stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

When compulsory attendance laws are eradicated, parents will be once again in the position to challenge ideas, behaviors, habits, et cetera. that are contrary to health, sanity and prosperity. As long as compulsory attendance laws allow a forced monopoly upon parents with a threat of jail or confiscation of our children, parents and children are not free morally or financially to fight this giant. We need equal battle fields to see good triumph over evil (Romans 12:21). John Gatto, a former School Teacher of the Year, agrees with our assessment of enforced government intrusion into the parental role of education.

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents. An exaggeration? Hardly. Parents aren't meant to participate in our form of schooling, rhetoric to the contrary. My orders as schoolteacher are to make children fit an animal training system, not to help each find his or her personal path (The Wall St. Journal).

In another essay, he stated,

Two institutions at present control our children's lives: television and schooling, in that order; both of these reduce the real world of wisdom, fortitude, temperance, and justice to a never-ending, non-stop abstraction. In centuries past the time of the child and adolescent would be spent in real work, real charity, real adventures, and the realistic search for mentors who might teach what you really wanted to learn. A great deal of time was spent in community pursuits, practicing affection, meeting and studying every level of the community, learning how to make a home, and dozens of other tasks necessary to become a whole man or a whole woman (Klicka, 91).

Let's look at a true anecdote from a time when there were no radios, no TVs, no video movies or games, no compulsory attendance laws, no child labor laws and no welfare system. Let's look into this story to see that life was not perfectly pure, innocent or prosperous, but all enjoyed much more freedom than most of us can every imagine. David Farragut,

achieved fame for his outstanding Union naval victories during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Befriended as a youth in New Orleans by Capt. (later Commodore) David Dixon Porter (of the US Navy), who adopted him, Farragut served in the War of 1812 and by the age of 20 was an accomplished ship's officer (Enc Brit 689 Vol 4).

William M. Thayer in Gaining Favor With God and Man gives the specific educational details of Admiral Farrugut's life.

"Would you like to know how I was enabled to serve my country?"

"Of course I should," responded the person addressed, "I should enjoy it hugely."

"It was all owing to a resolution I formed when I was ten years old," continued the admiral. "My father was sent to New Orleans with the little navy we had, to look after the treason of Burr. I accompanied him as a cabin boy. I had some qualities that I thought made a man of me. I could swear like an old salt, could drink as stiff a glass of grog as if I had doubted Cape Horn, and could smoke like a locomotive. I was great at cards, and was fond of gambling in every shape. At the close of dinner one day, my father turned everybody out of the cabin, locked the door, and said to me --

"David, what do you mean to be?"

"I mean to follow the sea," I said.

"Follow the sea!" exclaimed father; "yes, be a poor, miserable, drunken sailor before the mast, kicked and cuffed about the world, and die in some fever hospital in a foreign clime."

"No, father," I replied, "I will tread the quarter-deck, and command, as you do."

"No, David; no boy ever trod the quarter-deck with such principles as you have, and such as you exhibit. You will have to change your whole course of life if you ever become a man."

"My father left me and went on deck. I was stunned by the rebuke, and overwhelmed with mortification. 'A poor, miserable, drunken sailor before the mast, kicked and cuffed about the world, and die in some fever hospital!' That's my fate, is it? I'll change my life and change it at once. I will never utter another oath, never drink a drop of intoxicating liquor, never gamble; and, as God is my witness, I have kept these three vows to this hour. Shortly after I became a Christian, and that act settled my temporal, as it settled my moral destiny." It was a good start for Farragut, when his father started him off in the direction of total abstinence and purity. But for his good resolve on that memorable day, he would have been a ruined sailor before the mast, instead of the famous admiral that he was (173-174).

What important Biblical principles does this true story reveal to us?

  1. SELF GOVERNMENT in education rather than government intrusion.
  2. ADOPTION into a family rather than the evil cycle of the welfare system.
  3. APPRENTICESHIP UNDER HIS OWN FATHER rather than the evil slavery of compulsory attendance laws and child labor laws.

Right now in the US parents are not forced to own a TV or required to force their children to watch it. Millions of parents no longer own or watch TV because they have believed the facts and statistics pointing out the harmful effects of such a mindless activity. We still have the freedom to cut off its evil control in our lives.

However, all citizens in this country are forced to give up their own money to prop up a system that is rotten and is bearing rotten evil fruit every day. The facts and statistics are there to prove the inadequacy, inconsistency, incompetence, and irrelevance of state controlled schools, but as long as compulsory attendance laws are enforced, very few parents have the fortitude or courage to educate their children at home. Many school secretaries inform interested parents that it is illegal to home school a child. We trust that they are just misinformed and not intentionally lying.

We have tried to prove that the error of compulsory attendance laws began with the church and has to be corrected by the church. That is why the ranks of home schoolers are predominantly filled by Christians who know their God-given responsibility and authority. Even though public- funded schools taught Biblical principles for over 250 years, that fact doesn't inherently prove that the institutionalization of education outside the home was a Biblical mandate. The truth has to be spoken; the errors have to be corrected; God's perfect will has to be embraced.

Now that the last 150 years has endured compulsory attendance laws to enforce the government institution rather than the private home as educator, many can observe the evil fruit of the whole error. It is not the curriculum or philosophy that is taught in the public schools that is the root problem. Christians were content as long as other people's children were "forced" to attend their parent-controlled schools. The problem is deeper than "Who controls the curriculum?" The problem is: "Who is responsible and accountable for the child?"

Similarly, the right of parents to choose their child's education, as held sacred by the framers, has also been gradually in favor of state intervention and control. The parents are no longer solely responsible for the education of their children as established in the Bible and common law. Now the courts recognize the state having an interest in education and the power to regulate that interest. As a result, prior to the 1980's, homeschooling was virtually stifled by the state (Klicka, 312).

However, in 1979 the Supreme Court said the same as Thomas Jefferson:

That some parents 'may at times be acting against the interests of their children'...creates a basis for caution, but it is hardly a reason to disregard wholesale those pages of human experience that teach that parents generally do act in the children's best interest....The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition' (Klicka, 313).

We do not see homeschooling as a right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. We would say it is a responsibility given by God to all parents. It is an inalienable right that is similar to the right to life. Parents who gave the child life have a responsibility and authority over that child as good stewards of an inestimable valuable property or gift that solely belongs to God, the Creator of all good gifts. When parents neglect this responsibility, all of society suffers because of their rebellion. When the state intervenes and usurps the parents' responsibility, society suffers even more because the state has no God-given authority, power, wisdom, compassion, or mandate to control, discipline or teach another person's child in an educational setting. When public school teachers are asked to instruct other people's children, we are putting them in a place of disobedience to God. There is no way we can expect or desire the public educational system to produce "literate" and "self-sufficient" citizens. When a Christian sends their child to a public school, not only do they themselves disobey the commands of God, but they also assist their children in disobeying God and help the teachers disobey God. This deception is very severe.

The state needs to repent of compulsory attendance laws; the family needs to repent of their fear of the laws; and Christians need to repent for helping millions disobey God's law concerning the youth of our nation. We would encourage Christian parents to "volunteer freely in the day of God's power." Every state in this country now has established laws and regulations that allow parents some freedom to home educate their children as God commands. We would implore Christian parents to establish the Biblical foundation in their own families and call upon them to repent of shirking their God-given responsibility to control and choose their children's education. There is no excuse. Selfishness, greed, love of money, desire for other things, fear, and worry can keep parents from obeying God's word. It is essential that we lay our lives down for the good of our country in this manner.

In 1909 the Oklahoma Supreme Court once ruled in favor of parental responsibility.

Under our form of government, and at common law, the home is considered the keystone of the governmental structure. In this empire, parents rule supreme during the minority of their children (Klicka, 315.

Isn't it interesting to see at least one state reiterate the basic Biblical truth about the family unit.

In 1982 the Supreme Court defined the state's interest in the education of a child in this manner, "children must grow up to be "literate" and "self-sufficient" (Klicka, 317). According to God's command a child is to be with his parents 24 hours a day. Compulsory attendance laws violate God's law as well as the US Supreme Court's definition. A father cannot apprentice his child in his profession if compulsory attendance laws force him to account for every hour of his child's school day with mandatory curricula. The father needs time to teach and train the child rather than spend hours verifying that the child spent X number of hours in instruction. If the child can perform the task, he has been apprenticed. If the child is "literate" and "self-sufficient" the Supreme Court is also satisfied. Compulsory attendance laws enforce hours that have transpired not learning which transfers to real life in business and societal situations. Most public-educated students are not growing up "literate" or "self-sufficient." Thus state-controlled schools are not complying with their own state interest and the ruling of the Supreme Court!

In 1972 another Supreme Court decision upheld the responsibility and authority of parents over the education of their own child.

The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring tradition (Klicka, 319).

In spite of all these court decisions compulsory attendance laws are still in place in every state of the country. Why is this so?

The Old Deluder Act of 1647 laid an improper foundation upon which state schools then were able to establish their foothold. Within this historical law the power to tax the citizens accompanied the forced compulsion for every child to attend those tax supported schools. When the law is eliminated, there will be no need for the tax. Inferior schools would be out of business overnight if the compulsory attendance laws were no longer in effect. If the schools had no pupils, they could not collect any money in taxes. Thus the educational monopoly of over 300 years in this country would be broken. Whether the curriculum is Christian (1647) or secular humanism (Goals 2000), the parent has been forced to purchase a commodity he doesn't like or doesn't want. Right now any parent has the freedom to opt out of the system, but he has to pay twice for the same service. Whether a parent chooses private instruction or home instruction, the parent is responsible for the cost of his child's education and is liable to pay taxes to support the cost of another man's child. Paying twice for the same commodity is not enforced in any other business or industry except in the tax-supported public education monopoly which supports schools and libraries. It is also seen in publicly funded transportation systems. A home educator may never utilize a public school facility, use a library card or purchase a city bus ticket, but a home educator will pay taxes that support those amenities. Tax-paying citizens are continually forced to pay money for an item or a service they may never use. No other business in this country has been allowed such an illogical monopoly until Microsoft arranged a deal so that every new computer had to have Windows on it whether the purchaser wanted it or not. It is time to deregulate state and local educational systems and put education under the control of the family where God intended it all along.

Some will say the original and standing purpose of compulsory attendance laws is to be sure children get educated. Numerous statistical evidence is available to prove that the public state educational systems are not educating its students. A higher percentage of teachers enroll their own children in private school than the general public.

Nationwide, public school teachers are about twice as likely as their neighbors to send their children to private schools. They know better than anyone else that, even as more money is poured into them, too many of America's public schools are delivering a substandard product(The Wall Street Journal).

If compulsory attendance laws were eliminated and taxes were no longer enforced to support the public schools, parents would be in full control of education once again. As long as the citizens are forced to pay taxes to support the public school system, the educational monopoly can't be broken. We get ever increasing levies to pay for the monopoly because it is very unpopular for a state to release the children back to the care of their parents. A lot of parents don't mind other people paying for the baby-sitting fees of their children. If all Christian parents pulled their children out of the public school systems, we would see a very important scenario. Most schools systems get between $2000-4000 dollars a year per student from the state government. What would the schools do if millions of tax dollars were no longer needed because the Christian children had been de-enrolled? The nation functioned that way for a long time, and the schools weren't doing very well. Thus compulsory attendance laws were enacted to force everyone to have a vested interest in public schools. Therefore, it is compulsory attendance laws not the taxes that must be eliminated first. The schools will always find a way to increase tax revenues even if the school population in decreasing. With the slaughter of over thirty million babies to the abortion industry, school population has been declining for a long time, but that hasn't brought about a decrease in taxes. Once the compulsory attendance laws are eliminated, tax dollars stay within the family unit rather than being poured down the sewage drain of public education.

The destruction and the death of compulsory attendance laws will give the family the freedom so many pro-family groups are claiming they want.

What about funding? Where will parents get the money to educate their children? Those of us who are involved in home education already know that the level of income and the level of parental education is not a determining factor in the quality of education that a child receives. Most homeschoolers find the money to educate their children and still pay taxes. At least when the taxes are eliminated, the money will remain within the family unit and can be used to educate the children. The accountability for the money spent, the responsibility to educate the child, the mentor system which is superior to any other method of education, individualized curricula, special needs children, all the benefits that state controlled schools can never adequately or efficiently provide will occur within the privacy, sanctity and protection of the home.

Tax dollars now used to support inefficient schools, curricula, teacher's salaries, wicked sex educations programs, drug prevention measures, metal detectors for health and safety and crime prevention, et cetera would be kept within the private sector to be spent as each parent desired. Deregulation is the way of free choice and liberty.

Most teachers have bachelors and masters degrees; all administrators are required to have certification beyond that and many have PhDs, and the illiteracy rate in this country keeps increasing. Everyone knows that a student can graduate from high school with highly accredited teachers and not be able to read. Public educators have consistently blamed the family for its failure to educate children for over 300 years. The family, whether black, white, brown, red or yellow, has been blamed for this problem, and we believe rightly so. God's word says it is the family who is responsible to teach the children, not the school. However, compulsory attendance laws were originally instituted to correct the failure of a few parents who would not or could not teach their own children. Compulsory attendance laws have never solved the illiteracy rate in this country, but it may be the sole reason for the enormous problem that now exists! The home schooling movement has broken ground in the area of restoring family responsibility, and it is now time to dig up all the evil weeds at their very roots.

State lotteries were created in the guise of receiving more money to pay for the cost of educating our children. It sounds so nice, but all forms of gambling used to be illegal in this country and in some places it still is. However, if the government says the lottery (gambling) will be used to fund education, then gambling suddenly becomes legal and "good." The end (educating our children) justifies the means. Gambling may be legal in man's eyes, but this activity is a violation of God's word in two areas. The government isn't responsible for collecting money to educate another man's child, and the government is to punish evil not promote it. Even though all the statistical evidence shows that most of the sales of lottery tickets occur in the inner city and in poorer neighborhoods, the government still encourages this segment of our population to spend money on lottery tickets rather than putting it in a savings account. Thus the money from lotteries never seems to be enough, because the state solution creates another social problem: addiction to gambling. Citizens are continually coerced to pay ever increasing taxes to pay for the public problems that the government creates.

If compulsory attendance laws were eradicated, there would be no need for taxes to support public education, and there would be no need for state lotteries. Again, if we attack the root of the evil tree, we can kill another symptom of greed in our country which causes much suffering on all economic levels.

The budget of parents who no longer have to pay local taxes, state taxes or federal taxes to support public education will have the money to set aside for the education of their own children. A mother can stay home and not be forced to work if the government on every level can no longer use compulsory attendance laws to keep their monopoly in operation. Each family will be financially free to educate their children as they so desire, and they will have the money to do so. The responsibility is upon the family; not upon the state or local government.

An irony of modern school funding is that the public debate centers around the need for tax dollars for "education." Home schoolers have discovered that in fact a great deal of the cost of schools is for mundane items like toilet paper, electricity, wear and tear on the building et cetera. What really happens is that the parent who chooses to train his own children effectively is forced to pay for the toilet paper for the children in state schools. Most families cannot obey the implicit command that is contained within this Proverb.

Proverbs 19:14
14. House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers,

Because state compulsory attendance laws are in place and taxation keeps the public school monopoly in tact, most families have no inheritance to give their children.

According to God's word grandparents are to have an inheritance to give to their grandchildren.

Proverbs 13:22
22. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children,

Taxes for public schools have prevented this for over 250 years. For those who think this concept of families' saving money and having their own resources to pay for the education of their own family is an Old Testament principle, the New Testatment carries the same idea.

Paul understood the depths of spiritual parental love. He was willing to work with his own hands to finance his travel to share the gospel and to train the churches. He didn't coerce people to pay tithes to him so he could travel; he didn't condemn people who didn't support his ministry. He worked, if necessary, to support himself. He accepted free will offerings, but he wanted them from a cheerful giver.

II Corinthians 9:6
6. Now this {I say,} he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.
7. Let each one {do} just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
8. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

He understood God's pattern for parents and natural children. He says,

II Corinthians 12:14
14. Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for {their} parents, but parents for {their} children.

Paul did not expect one drachma of support from those he was coming to serve. He worked, saved, and used his own money to come to them and was willing to support himself even during his visit with them! As a tentmaker, he was always able to work when his finances weren't sufficient to obey the call of God on his life. He knew that parents, the mature ones, were responsible to provide time, money, talent, skills, and expertise to nurture the less mature: i.e. their own children.

The church has done a disservice to its members and to the world by providing parents with Christian schools rather than spending time, effort and money to rid this nation of the evil compulsory laws. The church has allowed immature parents to stay immature by using tithes and offerings to fund Christian schools for children rather than using those funds to educate parents how to effectively teach their own children at home. The church has put a yoke on Christian mothers who have to work to provide school fees so her children can be taught by strangers for 5-6 hours a day in direct violation of the command of God as already quoted in Deuteronomy 6:4-8. The church has persecuted home educating families who have opted out of the "tithe supported socialist" structure of the church to keep their children out of the peer group pressure of Sunday schools and youth groups. Is it any wonder God can't give us a final victory to the national educational problem in this country when the church has been so erroneous? How can we fault the federal government when our own house is not in order?

I Peter 4:17
17. For {it is} time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if {it begins} with us first, what {will be} the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18. \And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner\?
19. Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

Christian parents, churches, and private schools need to hear this call to repent. If we repent and unite to fight for the elimination of compulsory attendance laws, in one day financial freedom, educational freedom and spiritual freedom could have the chance to flow like a stream of living water across this nation. In one day millions could volunteer freely in the day of God's power. In one day private schools could open their resources to support parents in their God-given responsibilities to teach their own children at home. In one day Christian schools could release their finances to free single mothers to be able to teach their children at home. In one day the spirit of competition between Christian churches, schools and day care centers would be gone and in its place the spirit of cooperation and servanthood would have a chance to flourish. Yes the pagans, the Muslims, the Jews and the atheists would have the freedom to educate their own children in their own philosophy and consequent behavior. However, Jesus said,

Matthew 13:30
30. 'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."' "


Abbot, John S.C. The Pilgrim Adventure (1872), a reprint. San Antonio, Texas: Mantle Ministries, 1995.

Brown, John. The Pilgrim Fathers of New England, a reprint. Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 1970.

Carson, Clarence B. A Basic History of the Unites State, The Colonial Experience, Vol 1. Wadley, AL: American Textbook Committee, 1987.

DeMoss, Arthur S. The Rebirth of America. Philadelphia: Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation, 1986. Quoting Why Did the Roman Empire Fail? (p17) Chicago: Basic Youth Conflicts, 1979.

Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: 1985.

Gatto, John Taylor. "I May Be a Teacher, but I'm Not an Educator." The Wall Street Journal 25 Jul 1981.

Klicka, Christopher. The Right Choice, The Incredible Failure of Public Education, and The Rising Hope of Home Schooling Gresham, OR: Noble, 1992.

Santrock, John W. Life Span Development Dubuque. IA: Brown & Benchmark, 1995.

Scott, Rev Thomas. Articles of the Synod of Dort (1818), a reprint. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications .

Separation Between Church and State: The Truth. Boise, ID: Grapevine.

"Teacher Knows Best." Editorial. The Wall Street Journal 25 Oct 1993, A18.

Thayer, William B. Gaining Favor with God and Man (1893), a reprint. San Antonio, TX: Mantle Ministries, 1989.


A Brief History of Compulsory Education in OHIO

The following information was taken from A History of Ohio by Eugene H. Roseboom, Francis P. Weisenburger, and James H. Rodabaugh. Columbus: The Ohio Historical Society.

Even though The Ordinance of 1784 was never in operation there were educational concerns very early in the beginning stages of the state of Ohio. In the "articles of compact"

education was praised, though not endowed, in the statement, "religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged"(48).

No Time for Education

Note the major governmental solution to a problem of a "few": give the same remedy to all.

The early settlers, by necessity primarily interested in material matters, had at first little time or substance to devote to considerations of intellectual interest. Such meager education as was available was furnished during the first couple of decades of the statehood period by private schools, supported and built, like churches, by private subscription. These facilities were inadequate; hence, many adults were unable to read or write their names, and travelers noted that some persons required aid in ascertaining the names and addresses on letters and packages. To be able to read the Bible or an almanac, to write, and to compute ordinary sums were deemed quite sufficient academic accomplishments in that day (141-142).

Parent-Controlled Schools

The following quote reveals the parental and private involvement of the first schools in Ohio.

Families of considerable means might employ a tutor for their children...; but in most cases a group of parents would combine for the purpose. Generally, a teacher would agree to give his services for thirteen weeks -- six days a week, eight hours a day -- at the rate of a dollar or two for each pupil, perhaps one half payable in wheat at fifty cents per bushel and the balance payable in money. A minimum of twenty students was usually required (142).

Parent-Supported Schools

Note well that the commodity of private education was a viable business that brought income into Ohio.

The schools in Cincinnati, dating practically from the earliest settlement (for those who could afford tuition charges), had gained a reputation that attracted students from neighboring states and even from the more distant South. Numerous "academies" of varying merit had been established in other towns and villages (142).

Ohio's Need for Practical Education

The following quote shows how far New England had deteriorated from the godly educational vision of the Old Comers (Pilgrims) to Puritan aristocracy.

The academy was an important link in the transition from the somewhat aristocratic New England Latin-grammar to the public high school of the present day. In Ohio, the preparatory departments of a few early colleges furnished the nearest approximation to the Latin-grammar schools of the East. Many sons of Ohio, however, felt the need of an education more practical in its scope than this severely classical course, and in the days before the development of the high school, the private academies attempted to meet that demand (143).

Seventy-five Years of Parent-Controlled Schools

The great stimulus to popular education came, however, with the organization of a genuine public school system. The Ordinance of 1785 had provided that one section in each township should be devoted to public school purposes, but general educational legislation was not passed until over a third of a century later (144).

Men, Media, Law, and Funding

Busy bodies decided it was their call in life to see that the education of another man's child was paid for by the public purse. They used the media of the time and also the legislature to achieve their goals. The following quote reveals quite a change in the "attitude" of Ohio parents. The Early Buckeyes felt receiving money from strangers to pay the cost of educating their children was a sign of degradation. Today we have parents who "demand" such services as their right.

About 1820, certain men in Cincinnati and Cleveland, and other towns began to correspond in regard to the necessity for proper public instruction. To help the cause, Solomon Thrifty's Almanac was published by Nathan Guilford in Cincinnati. A law accordingly was passed in 1821 authorizing the division of each township into school districts and the raising of funds for the building of a schoolhouse and for the disposal of any deficit accruing from the schooling of children whose parents were unable to pay their share of the school expenses. In practice this measure meant that poor children did not attend the school, as many parents were too proud to permit them to accept free tutelage (144).

Legislature, Property Tax, and the Birth of the Public School System

A law of 1825, memorable in its significance, required the county commissioners to assess a tax upon property of one-half mill upon the dollar, the proceeds to be used for the school fund. Thus a state system of public education was inaugurated, though even the funds sometimes permitted the schools to be open only for about a quarter of each year, and, in some places, such as Dayton and Portsmouth, a public school system was not established for over a decade (145).

The next quote reveals that private education did not relinquish its pupils immediately into the jaws of public education paid for by coercion.

The private academies, inaugurated long before in the more important centers of population, were slow in yielding to the newer institutions (145).

The Influence of Massachusetts

The following quote reveals the same educational pattern as was noted with Horace Mann. A man, whose formal education ended at the age of ten, championed the cause of placing all school age children into the bondage of public school. A man who was given the freedom to direct his own educational efforts felt it was necessary to control the education of another man's child. It is also most interesting to note that this "public school evangelist" received his few and only years of formal education when he lived in Massachusetts. Note also the use of the word "free" implying that tax fees collected from unwilling property owners constitutes receiving a commodity without payment. The cost of public school was never free. The propaganda for public schools no longer maintains it is "free."

No discussion of the development of education in Ohio would be complete without a reference to Samuel Lewis, a native of Falmouth, Massachusetts, who secured all of his formal schooling during the first ten years of his life. After noteworthy endeavors in the cause of education in Cincinnati, in 1837 he was selected as the first "State Superintendent of Common Schools" in Ohio. A man of almost fanatical zeal, he traveled more than fifteen hundred miles during the first year of his work, usually by horseback, and visited three hundred schools and forty county seats. Discussing at every opportunity the needs and problems of education, he did notable service in popularizing the idea of free public education and in demanding that its standards should be of the best.... (145)

When Samuel Lewis retired three years later (1840), "a brief period of reaction followed" (291). Please note the organizational effort that was necessary to bring "progressive education" to Ohio. The tactics have remained the same for over 150 years! A "hired" professional was necessary to convince the citizens that this approach to education was the best for everyone, and all this propaganda instigated new laws.

The late forties(1800s), however, were years of progress marked by the appearance of teachers' institutes, the publication of educational periodicals, and the organization of a state teachers' association, thenceforth a vital factor in educational progress. The association employed Lorin Andrews as its agent to travel over the state and spread the gospel of reform, and in 1852 the Ohio Journal of Education, edited by A.D.Lord, appeared as its official organ. This agitation was soon productive of new laws (291).

The most important law passed at this time was the "Akron Law,"

so named because it was first applied to Akron by a special act in 1847. [It] became the basis for the city school systems of Ohio for many years and placed municipalities far in advance of the rural districts in educational advantages.(291)

In 1853 the Ohio general assembly responded to the new state constitution and the cries for reform by collecting and codifying "existing laws in the interest of simplicity and clearness" (292). Please note in the following quote that the educational needs of the public are always supplied by more taxes.

Township boards of education were to be organized to take over most of the duties of the old district boards, school libraries were to be established by a special tax, a state levy of two mills was authorized for the benefit of the schools, and the office of state commissioner of common schools was created for the supervision of the system (292).


Then as now there were those who did not wish to pay higher taxes and the reasons were the same.

Objectors speedily appeared, and for some years the fate of the new system was in doubt. Taxpayers felt the increased burden, and doubtless many agreed with the critic who wrote to the Zanesville Courier his objections to "being robbed to pay for the education of my neighbor's child" and to "robbing my neighbor to pay for the education of mine." To the objections of the conservative taxpayers was added the hostility of the Roman Catholic element, who felt a sense of injustice at being taxed to support public schools in addition to maintaining their parochial schools, of which Cincinnati in 1860 had seventeen (292)


The Cincinnati Commercial referred to high schools as "educational luxuries in which a tax-ridden community can ill afford to indulge." ...By 1860 the state had 161 high schools, confined almost entirely to the town and cities. By 1880 the number had reached 567 (293).


The rise of the high school coincided with the decline of the privately supported academies and seminaries. As early as 1854 the state school commissioner reported that "in no state have the higher departments of common school so effectually taken the place of academies as in Ohio," and by the close of the decade the latter were far outnumbered by the tax-supported secondary schools and ceased to offer serious rivalry (293)



Please note in the following quotation that "busing" was instigated at public expense before buses were invented! The need for a higher tax rate is ever present at each and every stage of public school growth.

The old tendency to let each community go its own way, inherited from frontier days, was not easy to overcome. But the complaints of the various state school commissioners and the growing dissatisfaction with the condition of rural schools led in the 1890's to legislation that established the township board, chosen by popular election, as the sole responsible authority. In 1900 a system of graded schools was made compulsory for townships, while in the same law appeared the provision for the optional centralized school. Authority was granted to the townships to abolish the district schools and to set up one or more centralized schools to which pupils were to be transported at public expense. This action marked the beginning of the end for the "little red schoolhouses" in many parts of Ohio (294).

In 1914 the state constitution was again changed, and, as in 1853, the school code also underwent revision.

The time seemed ripe for a new school code, and educators pressed for reforms long discussed and long needed. [The] general revision of the school laws [was] so fundamental in character that it produced almost a new system (295).


This was the legal end of the rural school districts, the bastion of local control. Any one who thinks that "local control" of schools was lost in the past thirty years needs to pay close attention to the following quotation. The cities had lost local control long before the rural districts gave it up. Most of the elderly citizens of Ohio who are alive today were born after the legislation was enacted that took education control out of the hands of concerned citizens.

The law [1914] destroyed the old system for the rural districts by making the county, instead of the township, the unit of organization. A county board of education with large powers controlled the schools (city and village districts of more than three thousand population excepted) and appointed a county superintendent.... Thus, Ohio at last modernized her rural school organization and abandoned the traditional ideal of local control (295).

Please note in the following quotations the slow wearing down of public resistance until the educrats obtained what they desired all along.

The idea of compulsory attendance of pupils developed slowly in Ohio. Advocated as early as 1857 by School Commissioner Anson Smyth and considered at various times by the general assembly, it lacked popular support necessary to obtain legislation for many years (297).


In 1877 came the first enactment -- a mild requirement of twelve weeks' attendance in each school year for children between the ages of eight and fourteen. So many exemptions were permitted that the law accomplished very little (297).

It was not only the exemptions but also the inability to enforce the law that caused most people to ignore it. Thus a new law was enacted with "force" behind it.


Not until 1889 was an effective law passed -- one far more drastic in character than the earlier one. The provision for truant officers in every locality made the law's enforcement more than a formality, though it encountered in some places the hostility of factory owners desirous of using child labor (297).


Gradually the requirements were made more drastic until in 1921, by the Bing Law, attendance was required between the ages of six and eighteen, unless of course, the pupil had been graduated from a first-grade high school. An individual might be released to work at the age of sixteen provided he had completed the seventh grade (197-198).


The compulsory attendance laws were enacted on the heels of child labor laws. The logic of this diabolical intrusion into the family can't be denied. The child labor laws were first enacted which meant that children under specific ages were no longer allowed to work. If children weren't permitted to work, then what were bureaucrats to do with the problem they had created? Parents were then legally forced to send their children to public schools.

Ohio had been a pioneer in the enactment of state child labor laws, having as early as 1852 limited working hours for children. Twelve years was the minimum age for work in mines....A law of 1885 had required manufacturers to keep a record of all minors in their employ and had provided for factory inspectors. The number of children employed in the state increased in spite of restrictions, and in 1905 further legislation prohibited the employment for wages of any boy under fifteen or any girl under sixteen during the sessions of the public schools (348).

It wasn't until compulsory attendance laws were enforceable that child labor laws were effective.

Federal statistics as to children gainfully employed showed a rather lax enforcement of the state statutes, and in 1921 the Ohio legislature passed the Bing Act. This act raised the school age to eighteen years, required employment certificates for all children under that age who worked, increased the penalties for violations of the child labor or school laws, and established sixteen years as the minimum age (except under certain circumstances) in a long list of specified industries (349).

A proposed federal amendment concerning child labor was also being debated at this same time.


...the National Manufacturers' Association, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and the Ohio State Grange declared their opposition to the proposed federal amendment. Farm groups constituted the most formidable opponents of the measure, criticizing it as an "invasion of the rights of parents" (349).

A footnote shows that many, like us, kept working for the restoration of familial freedom.

In 1923 the Bloom Bill, which sought to lower the age for school attendance from the Bing Act standards, was vetoed by the governor, but in 1925 legislation was enacted to allow the children who were over fourteen and were incapable of profiting by further schooling to be employed under special working certificates (349).

From this brief history it is easy to see that Ohio parents rarely had full control of the education of their own children. From its earliest beginnings local control was predominant over parental control. Yet local control died as early as 1914. Centralized control was firmly entrenched in 1914 and those who do not understand the original vision of the Pilgrim Fathers of self-government and the God-given authority and responsibility given to parents will never be able to use Ohio history as a basis for re-establishing local control. Local control in Ohio was a myth from the very beginning. God can only restore those things which He has ordained and the battle for Ohio's children can only be won historically by returning to the original vision of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd