Contact FreedomWorks

111 K Street NE
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20002

  • Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
  • Local 202.783.3870


A Brief History of Public Education: School Choice in America Part II

The first part of this series focused on the various efforts around the country to establish school choice. This piece attempts to shed light upon the history of compulsory public education in America.

As the nation debates the merits of school choice I’ve noticed a common theme in the arguments of the ideas’ opponents. They assert that the implementation of school choice would abandon a noble tradition with early roots in the American founding.

School choice opponents love to paint our compulsory public education system as part of the American promise, thus shielding it from criticism. But contrary to popular belief, compulsory education does not have a terribly long tradition in either England or the United States. Not until the late 19th century did either of these countries establish their first compulsory education laws.

Compulsory education failed to gain any traction for several decades after the founding of the American Republic. Though it is true several founding fathers advocated some form of national education, the American people were at first unwilling to give up control of their children's learning.

Children in the early 19th century were largely homeschooled or apprenticed to tradesmen. In stark contrast to modern students, these children received their educations with individual attention and finished with little to no debt. The wealth of learning options open to citizens allowed them to make the best decision regarding which form of education would best benefit the family. 

It was not until the 1840's that compulsory education first gained popular support. That decade an influx of Irish and German Catholic immigrants began to frighten what was then a thoroughly Protestant society. It was thought that ensuring the same education to all, devoid of religious or political influence, would best preserve the principles of American democracy (then thought to be threatened by Catholicism).

The Blaine Amendments to state constitutions, which remain in place, prevented state money from going to parochial schools. It is these very amendments which are the primary obstacles in the way of states attempting to pass school voucher laws.

Compulsory education also found support among intellectuals in the Progressive movement. For them it was essential that the state directly control the education of its citizens. Famed Progressive and educational philosopher John Dewey once wrote that “through education society can formulate its own purposes, can organize its own means and resources, and thus shape itself with definiteness and economy in the direction in which it wishes to move." Dewey like other Progressives found an example of their preferred educational system in the early Soviet Union. “The Russian educational situation is enough to convert one to the idea that only in a society based upon the cooperative principle can the ideals of educational reformers be adequately carried into operation."

Leading the way, Massachusetts passed the first compulsory education law in 1852. As Progressive ideology gained popularity in the late 19th century other states were quick to follow suite. By 1917 every state in the Union had adopted compulsory education laws.

It must be pointed out here that the United States had not previously been a nation of illiterate citizens. Estimates reveal that 90% of all whites in the mid-19th century were able to read, write, and perform basic arithmetic. These statistics like nothing else reveal that the impetus behind compulsory schooling was always more political than educational.

Administrators began to implement new curriculum without any fear of losing students. Stripped of any choice concerning their children’s education, lower and middle income parents were obligated to send their children to the local public school. These parents slowly lost influence over the aspect of parenting once considered most important. Over time the system became evermore politicized, bureaucratic, detached from family, and most importantly devoid of any moral content.

Any serious solution to the modern education problem should take into account the benefits of a repeal of the state compulsory education laws. The end of such laws would bring about an ultimate expression of school choice. Parents could choose between homeschool, trade schools charter schools, and religious schools for their children. These decisions would allow families to make the choice most likely to fit in with their financial, educational, and moral needs.

From here going forward the nation needs to come to terms with the fact that mandatory public education simply isn't the only, or even the best, option for the public welfare.

Afzalsheikh's picture

I read your blog post and this is nice blog post.. want to learn more and improve your assignment writing skills. Go to Assignment help and find useful articles and information about assignment help services in the UK. 360assignments


very nice article!
You shared very good information.


Very nice blog.You shared very good information and this encourage to take services of Assignment Help Shop in Singapore.just log in at website and Hire experts.

henrywilson2278's picture

Instant Assignment Help Australia is committed to deliver professional academic writing solutions to the clienteles residing in Australia. We have a team of excellent writers who are Ph.D certified and have years of experience in providing high-quality assignments, essays, custom papers, etc. The team of our skilled writers have satisfied several clients across Australia. Our mission is to de-stress the students suffering from excessive academic writing pressure by offering them original content written from the scratch. We ensure our customers a plagiarism free paper at an affordable price range. Avail our services and get your dream to score high grades fulfilled with us!

For More Info:

adamjackson's picture

Assignment Prime is one of the most recommended assignment writing services among candidates. We cater the academic requirements and offer qualitative services under good prices. We hold the experience of more than 10 years and with such experience we exactly know what your assignment requires. This is why students rely on us and approach us as soon as they are assigned with a writing task. We at Assignment Prime don’t just deliver word we deliver services, which are actually effective. We make sure that you pass with flying colors and so, we provide 24*7 assistance.


thanks and nice updates


We are here to help you. We help you with antivirus and installation. As we have already helped a lot of customers in past. Our most efficient effect is customer satisfaction


Disney Hub is the web-based collection of information of their casting members or their working staff. It is the better option to the employees because by using this the employees must learn about the company and they know some other information.


I bought these for my husband and they are great, but the scuff super easily, so I'm going to have to buy some shoe polish and see if they buff out fairly easily. They look great and fit him great though! After 2 wears they were pretty covered in scuffs.


I purchased these after purchasing gold plated CZ studs from Nordstrom’s. I was pretty disappointed that after only a couple weeks of wear the Nordstrom’s pair tarnished to the point jewelry cleaner could not polish them. I then ordered these and haven’t taken them off since. I shower and sleep with them and they have held up. I would recommend these to anyone looking for inexpensive studs for everyday wear.


Great dress and good quality for the price. I ordered the green print for something different. I'm 5' 7" 120 lbs and the small fit perfectly. I really appreciated that the dress is knee-length; it can be hard to find dresses that aren't too short. The material is stretchy and comfortable.

johnnoels's picture

excellent work hayden, you have properly described the history of Public Education. I know this very helpfull for the student. I also provide history assignment help

adamjackson's picture

The Best Solution for Assignment Writing Problems in Australia


A lot of valuable information can be derived from the post. Certainly, this compelling post will encourage readers to choose Assignment Help Australia services. You can email us at See more :

billymark007's picture

Here is the link to get the complete set of applications of the Microsoft office and McAfee Antivirus for your PC and Mac. You will receive the step by step complete setup for the installation process of the Application.
Visit the give link and get the complete Microsoft office setup and Antivirus Protection.


It is easy to imaging the benefits when your sales force can book orders on the move POCO CRM software is designed to help businesses manage their sales force and day to day activities. It helps you to keep track of sales funnel, accounts, contacts, leads & opportunities. POCO CRM is highly successful for companies in Projects, Direct Sales and Channel Sales. POCO CRM help them track and Monitor performance of their sales team. Comment start visit


Howdy, I’m Nick. I’m a software engineer living in Manhattan, New York. I am a fan of technology, photography, and design. I’m also interested in music and blogging.


Teaching and assessing the writing skills of students is a daunting task. As a teacher, you have to master a set of skills to excel in your career. There are many students who often wonder ‘how to write my assignment’. If you can enhance your assessment skills, you can guide these students and help them to craft flawless assignments. Visit-


This is a great inspiring article. It was very helpful. Thanks for sharing such a wonderfull post, It was really very helpful information.

Luciamandela's picture

Your choice of topic is incredibly sensible and additionally well written.. Thanks for sharing. I want all of your ideas arincredible! nice job!!!

sofiamartine's picture

I am very happy with your blog because I have read your entire blog ... Your blog is very interesting .. Your style is also very beautiful. | | |


I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work! I am Impressed. We appreciate that please keep going to write more content...

needassignmenthelp's picture

Are you worried about your pending <a href="">nursing assignments</a>? NeedAssignmentHelp is the perfect place to acquire 100% plagiarism free assignments in any subject at an affordable price in Australia. Students can easily avail our assistance 24*7.

karen minton's picture

Thanks for sharing this marvelous post. I m very pleased to read this article.

karen minton's picture

Nice knowledge gaining article. This post is really the best on this valuable topic.


Excellent and nice article. when user wants to get important information then visit our site......

billymark007's picture

Here is the link to get the complete set of applications of the Microsoft office and McAfee Antivirus for your PC and Mac. You will receive the step by step complete setup for the installation process of the Application.
Visit the give link and get the complete Microsoft office setup and Antivirus Protection.


Hey, You will be glad to know that here we are having one of the best portal which will let you know about where is control panel in windows 10.


Kaçak bahis sektörüne dair tüm gelişmeler ve objektif yorumları paylaşıyoruz. İllegal bahisten para kazanmanız çok kolay.


An unmatched and nonpareil post I have ever seen. The content is so appealing that it has created an impulse to avail Assignment Help Singapore services. See more :


Thanks for all the tips mentioned in this article! it’s always good to read things you have heard before and are implementing, but from a different perspective, always pick up some extra bits of information.

Zoe Holloway's picture

Look forward. After each failure you learn something. Do not live justifying yourself that you failed once to not fight for the goal you have set for yourself. We are all human and we are wrong but the future is full of new opportunities.

Keep your goal. That you have fallen once, does not mean that you must abandon your objective. It does not matter how many times you fall, but how many times you get up. Before embarking on the road again, think if you have a clear objective and what can be the way to achieve it. There are times when falling is the best thing that can happen to us to realize that we are not following the path marked.


Assignmenthelp4me is known for providing decades of assignment writing service to the students studying in high-schools and colleges. With the help of expert writers, students are provided with high-quality assignments that too without any plagiarism. 100% success is guaranteed to the students. Get more info about Homework Answers at


Yes, I agree with this article and an education is a must for all. Really worth to read it and want to share this webpage. Thank you

maxwillor's picture

I have been working as a full time academic consultant from last seven years. I am dedicatedly working at MyAssignmentHelpAu to help students with their entire academic writing requirements. I offered writing help to the students who are struggling with their academic writing tasks. I possess a good writing and researching skills and thus I am liable to provide the best My Assignment Help Australia scholastic guidance to the students.
You can email us at Info@Myassignmenthelpau.Com or Phone Number: +61-2-8005-8227 for more information:


Right to education for all hence compulsory education laws are necessary for the students. I am an academic writer and knows the importance of education.

markcarlton's picture

Compulsory education laws expect youngsters to go to an open or state-licensed private school for a specific timeframe. There are sure exemptions, most eminently homeschooling, yet for all intents and purposes, all states have orders for when kids must start school and how old they should be before dropping out.


After 30 plus years of study and research, I am convinced that the only way to have good public schools is to end compulsory schooling and go to absolute local control of schools. Each school should be controlled by local parents - the ones who pay the taxes. Get rid of the state and national departments of education; they only spend money and make schools worse and worse. I don't have much hope that this will ever happen so we are left with private and home schools. Nothing funded by a government agency or a giant foundation will ever allow enough freedom to give a wide range of students an excellent education.