If school attendance were voluntary, schools would have to reform themselves to meet students needs, because if students could leave on a whim, schools would suddenly have to prove their worth. But by not giving us a choice about whether to accept the government's favors early on, we all unwillingly sign a contract with Uncle Sam that says: "Since you did so much for me in my early years, I'll return the favor by letting you take away half of my money and tell me how to live my life." Because kids grow up in an oppressive society, it's predictable that when they leave the controlled world of childhood, they vote for politicians who promise security instead of freedom.
Few adults understand freedom and individual rights because we're taught about the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights in school, the most authoritarian environment in America next to prisons. Kids learn early on that even in a free country you are mandated to sit in cramped desks, read, write, and listen against your will. If you think for yourself in school, you get bad grades, and that's why America doesn't notice the government stripping away our rights. When our minds are impressionable, we learn that freedom means taking orders. Government officials should not teach the Bill of Rights until they've read it for themselves.
The compulsory education system hasn't changed because it's insidiously self-promotional. People are told over and over that school is necessary for success, so almost all graduates, and even dropouts, believe it. Selective memory and propagandic yearbooks help adults forget the negatives of school and only remember the positive, but to counter-act this process, instead of getting classmate signatures in your yearbook, you should use the blank pages in the back to document everything you hated about school.
Vague edu-speak phrases such as "educational excellence" are thrown around as excuses to trample over student rights. Because administrators want to eliminate all things that "distract from the learning environment," collectivism is mandatory ("You come to school to learn, not to express individuality"). Since schools establish that doing what teacher says is more important than being human, they can get away with imposing dress codes, mandatory volunteerism, disarmament, group-think, and a host of other rights violations.
Schools claim that by controlling what students wear, they are simply preparing them for a world where businesses dictate employee clothing. Ironically, it's the domineering nature of school that creates the conformity-laden "real world" that requires formal suits and ties.
Mandatory volunteerism for kids flourishes because even though students get nothing out of school, politicians want to get something out of them. Having students "pay their dues" to the people who are enslaving them is similar to laws that seek to have prisoners pay for their own jail expenses.
If we really want to teach kids responsibility, letting them have knowledge of the importance of firearms would be a good start. Because of their smaller size, kids are more vulnerable than adults, and thus should be given the right to bear arms for their own safety.
Age is never mentioned in the constitution, yet schools somehow get away with claiming that once the class bell rings, the constitution becomes irrelevant. When students are taught about numbers in Kindergarten, teachers might as well have them count all the rights in the Bill of Rights that won't protect them for a long time:
The First Amendment says: Congress...