The principle upon which the State intrudes into the parental obligation and function of educating all children, is dangerous and agrarian. It is the teaching of the Bible and of sound political ethics that the education of children belongs to the sphere of the family and is the duty of the parents. The theory that the children of the Commonwealth are the charge of the Commonwealth is a pagan one, derived from heathen Sparta and Plato’s heathen republic, and connected by regular, logical sequence with legalized prostitution and the dissolution of the conjugal tie.
My two cents
This quote was written in the 19th century, yet where I live, the last sentence is pretty close to coming true in the 21st century. The government where I live has a jealous and vested interest in the education of children (promoting a birth-year 12 oversight of them is one example). The government also legalised divorce a long time ago, and yes, it is now pushing for the legalisation of prostitution. As a result, Dabney’s words are prophetic, even for those who don’t live in the USA.
To stem the tide, I hope I can meet people in my neck of the woods who agree that the responsibility of education lies with parents (through homeschooling or possibly Christian schooling), and never any Commonwealth (through its politicised and humanistic institutions).
A few weeks ago, I was reading a homeschooling webpage where homeschooling parents mentioned how the grandparents of their children were naysaying and opposing home education. I thought old people should know better than that, but then I remembered that the majority of them went to public schools 50+ years ago, and likely never thought to question it or pick up on the Spartan overtones of state-driven learning. That says something about the quality of their education.
Dabney, R.L (1897). Discussions, volume 4, p. 194. Available http://www.dabneyarchive.com/Discussions%20V4/The%20State%20Free%20School%20System%20Imposed%20Upon%20Virginia%20By%20the%20Underwood%20Constitution.pdf