Choosing our children's education is best done by our children with guidance from their parents. Poverty limits such choice severely. Usually children must attend a state school, if they are to attend a school at all, because school fees paid from already taxed income are beyond most families' means.
Yet many families use the state system offered to them less and less, or even not at all. State education offers appalling teaching in music, mathematics, art, languages other than English (and often in English too), and no education in a range of less central disciplines. Yet it takes all day from the age of five to eighteen, dressed in polyester clothes, for much of the year. No wonder people are simply walking away and making more appropriate arrangements.
It is difficult to think of any reason why the consumption of a proffered service should be compulsory. Nor why refusal to consume it should be rendered particularly difficult. We are not obliged to use the National Health Service. It would be thought very strange if those who have not seen their GP because they had no need to do so were required to submit themselves for inspection on a regular basis regardless of their health condition. The examination system provides regular checks on achievement in learning. You try taking Grade Eight without years of work, or A-level German for that matter. And the incentive to gain the qualifications offered by the examination boards is there too. Universities and conservatoires look first at high passes in controlled standards exams. Anyone seeking a successful working life will need a degree or diploma. And anyone leading a happy and fruitful life will voluntarily seek out the skills and knowledge to help them do so.
A compulsory consumption of a service might be imagined in the military, indeed is more than imagined for the generation before mine. But education .
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