Compulsory Education Research Papers
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Compulsory education was introduced into the United States in 1852 when Massachusetts became the first state to pass a law compelling all children to attend school. It was not until 1867 that other states followed and by 1918, all states in the Union mandated compulsory education for their state’s children. Opponents of compulsory education, including Governor Pattison of Pennsylvania who vetoed bills in 1891 and 1893, and the 1892 national platform of the Democrat Party, opposed state interference in parental rights. Proponents based their support on the following:
- The expectation that it would level the field between rich and poor
- That it would improve the Americanization of the many immigrants coming into America
- That it would improve the condition of children since child labor laws had begun to take effect.
Support increased over the years, helping to implement rules for minimum and maximum age requirements as well as expanding the school year from its previous 130 days in 1887 to the modern 180 days.
Opponents of Compulsory Education
Opponents of compulsory education are again voicing their complaints, especially since our public schools have not had positive results for some time. Murray Rothbard provides a thoughtful rebuttal to those opponents when he asserts that all people are self-educated in what they choose to learn and use in their lives, but a base of knowledge in such subjects as reading, mathematics, and history, calls for a formal education. In this society and in the move to globalization, without a formal education for all, the United States will be doomed to being a third-world country.