My wife, an expert in early childhood education, is some kind of libertarian genius. Although she has read very little in the way of libertarian theory, she has come to thoroughly libertarian conclusions simply by studying how the brains of small children work. It turns out that children are rational beings who should not be coerced and hounded every second of their waking lives. Indeed, children have an innate sense of the importance of learning and the importance of justice. Unfortunately, most adults beat these impulses out of children as soon as they can. Besides, a free spirited individualist of a child is harder to control, so it’s all the better that we ship them off to school where they can be taught to obey, and where they can be taught that learning is an onerous task that is to be completed when demanded by some unbearable schoolmarm.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from Naomi Aldort which states the obvious. Namely, that preschool is thoroughly unnecessary and (like most formal schooling) is harmful to the overall education of the child.
Incidentally, if you ever want to see me fly off the handle, just start in about how children don’t pay their elders enough “respect” or that “kids these days” are more rotten than during the good ‘ol days. I’m sure you’ll see that vein on the side of my forehead really get going. In my experience, most adults get all the respect they deserve: virtually none at all.
But more on that some other other time. I can already feel that vein throbbing.
UPDATE: MM writes in about the great Maria Montessori:
She did her work during the Progressive Era. Ironically, the Progressives, who supposedly embraced science, especially Darwin, eschewed the scientific method when it came to developing pedagogy. Instead, the Progressives expanded public education to push forward their own agenda of socialism, and to muddy the thinking of children so they would not act independently. It was during this time, for example, that “whole-word” reading instruction was developed, which has since been scientifically shown to lead to relativism since “whole-word” depends upon sentence context to convey the meaning of a particular word, denying the possibility of any precise thought or ability to take in concepts other than what one was expecting in the first place.
Montessori, unlike Dewey or the other anti-individualist educators, actually liked children and thought they had intrinsic value. For her, the purpose of education was not to make people “productive” or good taxpayers or good wage slaves or whatever. Most government educators violently hate Montessori, of course.8:34 pm on June 14, 2009 Email Ryan McMaken