Black and white image of English philosopher and political theorist John Stuart Mill.

John Stuart Mill

On Liberty,


If the government would make up its mind to require for every child a good education, it might save itself the trouble of providing one. This might leave it to parents to obtain the education where and how they pleased, and content itself with helping to pay the school fees of the poorer classes of children and defraying the entire school expenses of those who have no one else to pay for them. The objections which are urged with reason against state education do not apply to the enforcement of education by the state but to the state’s taking upon itself to direct that education, which is a totally different thing. That the whole or any large part of the education of the people should be in state hands, I go as far as anyone in deprecating. All that has been said of the importance of individuality of character, and diversity in opinions and modes of conduct, involves, as of the same unspeakable importance, diversity of education. A general state education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation, in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body. An education established and controlled by the state should only exist, if it exist at all, as one among many competing experiments.

Black and white image of English philosopher and political theorist John Stuart Mill.

Betsy DeVos

A speech,


Too many politicians heed the shrill voices of the education lobby and ignore the voices of children, parents, teachers, and health experts who are begging to get our students back to learning. As for me, I fight for America’s students. I fight for their parents. And I fight against anyone who would have government be the parent to everyone. Now many in Washington think because of their power there they can make decisions for parents everywhere. In that troubling scenario, the school building replaces the home, the child becomes a pawn, and the state replaces the family. That sequence has played itself out too many times throughout the course of human history. I said from day one that I’d like to work myself out of a job. That I’d work to empower parents, not politicians. To that end, we restored state, local, and family control of education. We joined Montana parents in their fight all the way to the Supreme Court, ending the “last acceptable prejudice” made manifest in bigoted Blaine amendments, which denied students the freedom to pursue faith-based education. And we support the bipartisan School Choice Now Act, which would directly fund families and empower them to choose the best educational setting for their children. The scholarships could support students attending the school that best meets their needs or matches their values. At the end of the day, we want parents to have the freedom, the choices, and the funds to make the best decisions for their children.

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