Compulsory Education and the State

Compulsory Education

The current public education system has critics across the spectrum. Rather than a tailored approach to the individual’s needs for impactful learning, there is a narrow, standardized model—and it’s failing students.

In episode 13 of our Ideas in Progress podcast, we spoke with Dr. Tawni Ferrarini, Professor of Economic Education at Lindenwood University about the consequences of compulsory, public education.

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Dr. Tawni Ferrarini, Professor of Economic Education at Lindenwood University

We’ve got something now in the public educational system that is hierarchical . . . you look at the state and how it governs from the top-down, and it’s not really getting a feel for what’s happening at the bottom, especially when you communicate with teachers and they have their boots on the ground and they see every day the impact of this one-size-fits-all education on the children.

– Dr. Tawni Ferrarini

Host Dr. Anthony Comegna, in response, asks Dr. Ferrarini to extrapolate further on what the source of these issues is. Is the current education system flawed primarily because it is compulsory or run by that the state? She argued that both play a role.

I think it’s a combination of the two, and by definition, anytime you have the state, you have the chorus of peace, which is compulsion in the school system. And if the product was superior and it was for the betterment of the individual and the families and even society, you wouldn’t need the compulsory piece in it. People would just love to do it.

– Dr. Tawni Ferrarini

Additionally, Dr. Ferrarini discussed, parents are not expected to be an active participant in their child’s education, because the school system ultimately determines what is taught in class. However, in a private or alternative setting, the guardians are more involved in their child’s education and the outcomes they seek from it.

It’s not just about the quantifying of the accomplishments of the person, it’s about that inner development, whatever it may be. It’s self-discovery, personal development.

– Dr. Tawni Ferrarini

For the full episode, download our conversation with Dr. Ferrarini by visiting our SoundCloud, iTunes, or Stitcher. Each Wednesday, we release new episodes from our Ideas in Progress podcast on divisive topics with contemporary thinkers.

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