Following our interesting ERO review the other day (see previous post) I have much to say. The thing I most wanted to bring out in our discussion was that the meeting was proceeding on the basis of unjust and abusive state power, and, by the grace of God, that did actually come out very strongly, despite their calm and pleasant insistence on changing the subject. Whenever I alluded to the fact that they had absolute power, for instance, far from denying it, they almost nodded and smiled. I was very glad that I had typed out this list to give them, as they refused to discuss it on the spot:
- The state is able to guarantee education.
- The things which guarantee education are adult planning and administration.
- Human beings are able to plan life in such a way as to be impervious to circumstances and human failings.
- Children will only learn when they are forced to learn by adults, and adults will only force children to learn when they are forced to do so by the state.
- Children are only learning when they are being forced to do something that does not interest them by someone else who is not interested in it either.
- Information is a scarce commodity, available from few sources.
- Formal learning is better than informal.
- People are not actually interested in learning anything: they must be compelled to learn in order to make them productive taxpayers.
- Education is whatever the government says it is, and may be deemed to include or not include anything the government finds expedient.
- The government is entitled to designate all children as ‘students’ regardless of whether or not that is how they see themselves.
- The government is entitled to treat all children as its property and responsibility and to have rights prior to the parents’ rights in determining how children will be brought up.
- School is the normal, natural environment for children, and the yardstick to measure the quality of any other childhood environment.
Unless they were prepared to assert the truth of those things, I suggested, they had no right to ask me the questions they were asking. And they put it aside and went on asking the questions. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions from that.