Ron Paul doesn’t want reform—he wants a revolution! He calls it “the freedom revolution,” and he has been advocating it for 30 years. But you can’t force people to be free. They have to want it and choose it. So the foundations of liberty must be laid in an education for liberty. So in his latest book, The School Revolution, Paul argues that “there can be no revolution without a revolution in education.”
Rep. Paul, R-Texas, advocates homeschooling on account of the parental control it allows over the structure and content of education and the responsibility for these things it encourages: “There can be no increase in liberty without a parallel increase in responsibility.” The reason for this is another of his frequent lessons: “Self-government is the basis of liberty.” Public education by its nature teaches government dependence and the virtues of bureaucratic management. Families teach responsibility and self-government, which support liberty. So the revolution, he says, “must begin in the family.”
But that return of education to the family, or at least a lot closer to family control, requires a change in how we fund it. The kind offers from state and federal governments to help out with the cost of local education turned out—predictably—to be power grab. Since, as they say, if you take the king’s shilling, you do the king’s bidding, “the means of reform is always a change in the source of funding,” Paul writes.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Paul said he expected perhaps 20 percent of children to take the homeschool route into leadership for liberty (see video clip below). But in the book he sees this as the route to defunding the public system. Internet-based learning has lowered the cost of home education to the point that it is a plausible option for many. With this level of opt out from the system, Paul says there would be a meaningful bloc of voters to advocate “a reestablishment of local funding, local control, and foundational parental input into local education.”
All it took was the prospect of 20 percent of American youngsters at home with their moms to send British journalist and Morning Joe panelist Katty Kay into a feminist panic:
“If you want to get to 20 percent of children being homeschooled, that’s going to mean a vast drop in the number of women in the workforce because it is largely women who are doing the homeschooling. A lot of women can’t afford to give up their jobs and homeschool their children; a lot of families can’t afford that. And do we actually want to be encouraging women not to take part in the workforce, because we know how valuable that diversity is. I’m concerned about advocating homeschooling on this level when women are having such a hard time already staying in the workforce.”
But Kay has her own agenda, and it’s not a liberty agenda. To her, even 20 percent of children being homeschooled would be catastrophic to getting as many women as possible “in the workforce,” so “we” should discourage this schooling option. Yet Forbes.com reported just last year that “84% of working women told ForbesWoman and TheBump that staying home to raise children is a financial luxury they aspire to. What’s more,more thanone in three resent their partner for not earning enough to make that dream a reality.”
The more women there are slugging it out in the workforce, the more children’s education will be left to government bureaucracies, with fewer parents having the time and energy to monitor the content.
Ron Paul overestimates what can be done educationally with the internet, but he understands modern liberty, and his book is a welcomed provocation.