Ron Paul: Abandon public schools

Ron Paul doesn’t call for reforming schools in his new book, The School Revolution. He wants parents to abandon state-run schools and teach their children at home — with the help of low-cost online courses. (His own courses cost $50.)


“Teach” means “have your child read a lot of books and watch YouTube videos on his or her own,” writes Kevin Carey, who directs the education policy program at the New America Foundation, in the New Republic.

A fan of self-reliance, Paul believes students should learn on their own, starting in fourth to sixth grade, writes Carey. “If they need help, it’s best to ask other students. No teachers are required.”

“The parent who demands that his child be given special attention by a high school teacher is making a big mistake,” writes Paul.

Paul’s plan creates an “isolated learning experience focused exclusively on reading, writing, and debate, with no exposure to heterodox views,” writes Carey. “His program will shield students from the evils of liberalism and, worse, Keynesianism, and train them to argue their cause with facility and zeal.”

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  1. Cute ideas, but have you seen the actual curriculum? It’s public school preschool level, the stuff they’re pushing for kindergarteners. “The Letter People.” Oh, give me a break. Not to mention, who wants to educate their children using curriculum provided by a politician? I thought these were conservatives… what happened??

  2. I heard him pitching his book on the radio today. He showed no awareness that there are numerous families who cannot possibly “homeschool” because they have to work for a living. Even with two parents, each may hold two low-wage jobs and still be close to the poverty line and certainly not in a position to purchase quality homeschool curricula.

    He cheerfully called on families to “make sacrifices.” It was not at all a convincing or impressive interview.

    Homeschooling is a viable option for some, but there are many varied reasons why families choose it, and not necessarily because they believe schools are “broken.” Sometimes it’s for religious reasons, but most of the homeschoolers I know do it for other reasons and not for the child’s entire education. After h.s.’ing her children through eighth grade, my next door neighbor sent them to public high school, where they thrived. A nephew however who lived way out in the boondocks homeschools his 5 children through high school because busing takes 3-4 hours per day. The two oldest first entered “school” in college (and are doing well).

    People who homeschool are a diverse lot but I don’t think Ron Paul understands either his supposed market or the reasons people do what they do. And, I didn’t hear him suggest a tax credit for h.s. materials. If he truly believes in this solution, he should advocate for incentives.

  3. “In spite of the fact that schools exist for the sake of education, there is many a school whose pupils show a peculiar “school helplessness”; that is, they are capable of less initiative in connection with their school tasks than they commonly exhibit in the accomplishment of other tasks.”

    That is a quote from How to Study and Teaching How to Study (1909) by F. M. McMurry, Professor of Elementary Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. The work was widely cited for about 20 years and became the basis for a successful test of the discussion method of teaching in City Schools, Manitowoc, Wisconsin which was reported in 1919. But for some reason, the education sector ran back to the passive lecture based teaching. No surprise really since it is the easiest on the teacher and best for controlling students. But as has repeatedly been “discovered” it induces “school helplessness” by third grade. The earliest I’ve seen the problem discussed was in a book on manual education schools published in 1886. Ken Robinson did a TED talk that included it on schools and creativity.

    But more important is the topic of McMurry’s book, i.e., teaching how to study. Odd, we call them students but really don’t offer specific instruction on how to study, that is do their job. McMurry offers 8 factors of studying that he posits should be taught starting about third grade. The first two years being more vocational training in reading, writing, numbers, etc. Most would see those factors as what is now promoted as “critical thinking”, which sadly most of the education system fails to teach to undergraduates these days. I wish I’d been exposed to McMurry’s radical idea back when I was in school. I got through all right but like most through brute force. Only coming to a semblance of the factors of study after I had graduated and continued to read.

    Paul need McMurry’s method for his self-reliance to succeed. The fact so many leap to condemn his plan is quite indicative of the “school helplessness” and lack of skills in how to study that is so widespread among those who’ve matriculated in the last 40, possibly 90 years.