31 May 2018

[TPC] - Perrin Lovett: Race to the Top: Freedom and Alternatives for Children and Education (Part 2 of 2)

*Ed. Note: this is the concluding piece to Perrin's original write-up on education that was published last week.

Today, some good news. Great news. Last week, in PART ONE of this series, we examined the dreadful state of the existing public high schools. The state spends a small fortune per student and then produces horrific academic results, even by its own watered-down standards. And, the kids have the luxury of experiencing this fraud while suffering prison conditions to shock the Nuremberg prosecutors.

I promised I’d be back this week with solutions. We’re about to get to those. First, it occurred to me that this short series on education just happens to coincide with graduation schedules. This is a coincidence, I suppose.  I also suppose we can graduate to something better.

The problems in the schools result from many factors. But, they are mostly the product of a never-ending series of increasingly heavy-handed laws, regulations, and rules. Students, parents, taxpayers, and those who enjoy intelligent civil society keep trading one liberty after another in exchange for fake security that resembles illiterate, zero tolerance fraud and little else. The trouble boils down to, in a word: “tyranny.”

The solution, in a word, is “freedom.”

Mel Gibson/Paramount Pictures.

A Cool School, and Not for Fools: The Sudbury Valley School Model:

The Sudbury Valley School, of Framingham, Mass., is a place like no other - except the dozens of similar academies in other states. SVS is a true “free” school. There are no classes, no tests, no schedule, no tenured faculty or staff, and few rules. The students literally self-direct their studies in keeping with their own individual interests.

The happiness is contagious as is the learning. Students naturally respond when the learning is on their own terms and not based on artificial mandates crafted by state autocrats. And it works. Forget the 90% graduation rates of the public schools, with the attendant 30% proficiencies. After SVS, students have an 80%-ish success rate in college. The other 20%, most of them, go on to be successful in many other ways. That says something. The success and unorthodox methodology have been chronicled in The New Republic, The Atlantic, and by researchers at Boston College.

This success comes relatively cheap. SVS charges $9,500 for the first child and less for subsequent students. This is well below the US average per capita student spending in the public prisons.

A Modern Comprehensive Private Home Education

Freedom Project Academy combines the best of homeschooling with Common Core-free, accredited, and structured curriculum. Their website is a treasure trove of information; check it out. An FPA education costs $2,200 per year for a full-time student. That’s about one-fifth of what the prisons spend - but with better results. They place a strong impetus on Christian tradition (okay, Judeo-Christian, in their words).

Home is Where the School Is

More and more Americans are opting to teach their children at home. In fact, the trend is spreading worldwide. The phenomenon is growing rapidly even in Russia, usually with a Christian emphasis. The Russians, one may recall, have a history of suffering under communism and state controls. It seems they want an alternative. They know what works.

Homeschoolers consistently score better on standardized tests. Higher on the SAT than public school kids. Higher on the ACT. Higher on the Iowa Test. They win spelling bees. They excel at math, reading, and science. They score higher, excel, and succeed. And, yes, most are as socialized or better socialized than the kids in the prison schools.

I could not find a definitive number for average homeschool expenditure. This will obviously depend on the level of intensity desired. I suspect the FPA model is an upper bound. Many parents spend less than $1,000 per student at home. Those spelling bee champions would work through that as C-H-E-A-P, cheap.


This one is fascinating. It’s essentially “normal” homeschooling minus the directed study, rules, or curriculum. Think of it as SVS in the privacy of the home - autodidactic learning at a child’s pace and in a child’s place.

I first heard of the unschooling concept through The Teenage Liberation Handbook, by Grace Llewellyn. I read that book about a decade ago. I can’t recall specifics but I do remember tacit approval. Sayeth Amazon: “Young people can reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program.”

Traditional Private Education

There are many, many good to excellent private schools and academies across the country. There is likely one, at least one, near you. These range from mildly affordable to outrageous in tuition costs. That range also covers the academic achievement spectrum. What started out as a segregation academy in 1970 has probably dropped the embarrassing social stigma today and probably delivers results superior to public prison schools. Phillips Andover practically guarantees a shot at the Ivy League (and provides a world-class art Museum!).

The Addison Gallery of American Art, Fall Opening, 2013, Andover.

These options do come with side effects. There’s no common-core, no child left behind, statist agenda in them. There’s no socialist indoctrination. No depression. No school shootings. No Fourth-Amendment-violating searches. Little bullying. Little boredom. Little time wasted waiting on the lowest common denominator. Trade-offs...

Some endnotes:

There may be a way - in fact, there are many ways - to incorporate a combination of these alternative ideas into a better experience for a child. The tech revolution of the 21st century means a child in rural Nebraska can have the same opportunity as a child in Manhattan. Experiment and find your own right way.

Similar issues were covered in this month’s American Consequences magazine. That might well be worth a read.

There was slight confusion (or deception) in a FB response to Part One over as to whether I was promoting or demeaning actual education. Actually, it appears the commenter failed to even read what I wrote before commenting. Some are so caught up in their vested interests in the failed system that they will never willingly admit the existence of any problems. Nor will they readily accept solutions, especially of the freedom-oriented variety. That’s a problem, but it’s not mine. It’s not yours.

Also, the solutions I present, above, are not one size fits all. However, I think they beat the one size fits none approach most kids are forced into otherwise. At least there are multiple solutions. Pick one. If it doesn’t work for your family, then pick another. I understand there is considerable resistance to any real change. By and large, the people do not like truth, freedom, or options. In a way, this series is for the caring minority. So be it.

And, for those few, know that the road won’t necessarily be easy. The options I showcased are all cheaper per student than the US public school average student expenditure. However, even if you only shell out $1,000-$2,000 for a superior education, you’ll still be coerced to support the failed local schools via tax theft. Fixing that, and there is a fix somewhere, is a subject for later.

And we’ll be getting to later, sooner or later. Thank you for your early support of the C.F. Floyd column. I aim to keep the ideas coming. Tune in and read them - unless you’re a student out for the summer. If that’s so, then for freedom’s sake, enjoy your free time!

Fellow Terry College of Business (UGA) grad Brother Perrin Lovett is a true renaissance gentleman & scholar. A recovering attorney, he's into guns & cigars, and the US Constitution. A published authorPrepper columnist & YouTube personality, and an acclaimed blogger, TPC is very proud to have our old friend on board as the C.F. Floyd Feature Writer of National Affairs


Your Source for the REAL Story


  1. A concluding piece for now. There may be 1,000 ways to go with this subject, covering preschool through grad school. Look for more on the matter on a semi-regular basis.

  2. Jonathan PaschalJune 1, 2018 at 10:52 AM

    The "elephant in the room" here is the parent(s) who, because of a myriad of circumstances, are not able to deliver any of the alternatives. Poverty, and it's ramifications, is one of those circumstances. So any conclusion that says that it's up to the parents lacks a true understanding of the total picture. We still end up with a large population who cannot fend for themselves and are thrust into public schools.

    It's a mess and we must continue to wrestle through it hopefully getting better results than we are now.

    One of the newer revelations is that school isn't for everyone, at least at the collegiate level. More and more students are training for the trades. Career academies are springing up and I believe that Tech schools are seeing a rise in population.

    Good discussion fodder.

    1. Thank you! You are absolutely right on all counts. I think a truly local, honest, and decentralized "public" school
      is probably possible; it would go a long way for addressing the needs of the poor (financially and/or intellectually speaking), who tend to suffer disproportionately under the current system. Colleges are in major trouble. They're a subject for many other days and posts. It's a mess we can cure. Starts with the discussion. Excellent points!

  3. For what it's worth: five things to think about with homeschooling:https://www.theorganicprepper.com/prepper-parents-homeschooling/

    PS: I proved I am not a robot...

  4. Based on historical info it seems like there's a correlation between the slide of our educational system and the creation of the federal dept of education. Getting most of the control back to local school boards with some oversight by the state government would be a good first step.

    1. Fed. DOE is a huge factor. I think the slide started before it was established but it certainly hastened the decline. As someone once put it: the Dept. of Education that educates no one. Excellent points. Thanks for the read and the comment!

  5. I have stewed over this all week now. First, an aside. Whenever I attend a political forum at which are candidates for the school board, I always ask if they see their job as concerning the education of ALL students in Newton County or just those in public schools.

    Because of the statistics you point out, it is manifest that products of private schools and home schooling are much superior to the product turned out by the government schools. Therefore, it would seem that we would want to encourage private schools and home schooling.

    Let's say the average cost of educating a student in the government schools is $17,000 annually (in Newark, NJ it's in excess of $25,000). Assuming static costs (which we know is absurd for government things) over a 12-year period a student who has been removed from the public sector saves the taxpayers over $200,000. We should celebrate this and encourage more people to remove their children from the system. They are not only giving their children a better education. They are saving the county a ton of money. It's a win-win situation.

    We might even consider a system of vouchers to encourage more people to take their children out of the government system. Let's say we give them a $5,000 tax credit. They still are saving the system $17,000 per year for a net of $12,000. By encouraging more students to leave the system, even after the tax credit, we would have more money to spend on the remaining students. So,in an indirect way, vouchers would even give us more money to spend per student in the government system.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Wheeler; excellent remarks. Private school and home school families, now, generally suffer a double whammy of paying for actual education and having to pay property taxes to prop up the local corruption. There has to be a solution. As an extra thanks, you folks keep giving me more and more ideas for the future. I think we're on to something here!

  6. What a great thread, y'all! Thanks for the smart & productive dialogue, and as always, thanks so much for reading.

    - MBM


We'd like to know your thoughts...