Slavery, according to Wikipedia, is:
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation. Historically, slavery was institutionally recognized by many societies; in more recent times, slavery has been outlawed in most societies but continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage. Slavery is illegal in every country in the world, but there are still an estimated 29.8 million slaves worldwide.
In 1865, the American government, led by President Abraham Lincoln at the time, signed the Thirteenth Amendment, which made it illegal to enslave an African-American, or any person, of any color. However, later in the century, in the 1880s, a new form of slavery was legalized. This slavery was called compulsory schooling, which forces youth to go to an institution against their own will. Now, I will not compare what kids go through today to what African-Americans went through centuries ago, because what happened during that time was absolutely awful and appalling. The work was far more difficult, as well. But that doesn’t justify compulsory schooling.
The similarities are there. These include:
*Being forced to work without being legitimately payed. Kids have to do homework, pay attention, classwork, and many other assignments that they don’t want to do but have to do because “it’s for their own good”.
*No compensation. Kids can’t get back the years they lost to a school, nor can they be payed back.
*Being forced to do things against your own will, and deprived of being able to leave. Compulsory schooling is the law in most countries, and every kid must have some sort of schooling. No exceptions. If the student fails to attend, they and their family will be arrested. Sometimes the child may be put for adoption or be forced to be in a foster home, whether they like it or not.
*Being deprived of the right to protest and refusal to work (strike). Students have no right to strike or protest what is being done to them. They have no unions. If they refuse to work, they’ll be punished swiftly.
*By birth, you must go to a school. Guess who else had to work by birth? Slaves. Black children were born slaves in the United States before 1865, and you have no say in the matter. You are enslaved by birth, and you must accept it.
Compulsory schooling is not exactly the same as traditional slavery. For example, students are not bought and sold. However, the rather disturbing parallels are there. Being forced to work without pay is one. Morally, school is slavery. Legally, it is not slavery, and most people don’t consider it a form of slavery. My question is, why is the slavery of youth legal? Why is it legal for us to be subjected and indoctrinated by strangers and forced to work without pay? We devote most of our days and most of our childhoods to one institution, and we’re never payed back. “You’re payed in education” isn’t good enough.
This is a rather short post, but I hope I got my point through clear. Morally, school is slavery. There is no justification. There may have been justification during the 1800s, but not anymore. Autodidactism has surged in popularity thanks to the internet and the strong availability of many resources (like books, for example), but autodidactism is essentially illegal (with the exception of homeschooling, though homeschooling is not autodidactism).