In a comment to the first article here, Vincent refers to ‘the thing [I] clearly deplore.’
I am not certain that he means exactly this, but I should state clearly at the start that the thing I most deplore about education is the fact that it is compulsory. I shall return to this again and again, as it is probably the most important point of them all, and there are many arguments heard in favour of compulsion, which I shall need to address.
My antipathy to compulsory education is not a political position, it is not based on ideology or some unpleasant experience of my own, but on many years of observation of what compelling all children into schools has meant in practice.
Forcing children to attend schools, rather than offering education and encouraging its use, has led to a vast waste of resources on people who cannot or will not benefit from it, to the direct detriment of those whom the resources, in time, competence, equipment and so, could benefit, but do not. Compulsion not only wastes a great deal of everyone’s time, it also creates an atmosphere which is not conducive to learning and advancement, it obscures the real reasons for seeking and providing education, and it discourages able teachers from entering the profession.
All of this is very bad indeed for the people who are trying to improve their chances in the world, for those who enjoy learning for the sake of it, and for the rest of us who have to pay for it, and eventually to try to find them employment.