The Instigator
Cindela
Pro (for)
Losing
22 Points
The Contender
Ozymandias
Con (against)
Winning
43 Points

Attending elementary school should not be mandatory in the USA.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2008 Category: Education
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,499 times Debate No: 1935
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (19)

 

Cindela

Pro

My opponent had a wish to debate me on this topic, so here we go. The following argument is the same argument in another debate.

Before I begin my argument, I would like to thank everyone will is participating is this debate, from the people who comment in it, the people who read it, the people who vote in it, and the person who is debating me. I would also like to ask everyone who will vote in this debate to vote based upon the debate itself, and not your own opinions. Thank you

Also before I start my argument, I would like to spell out what I mean by the topic so that there is no confusion as to what we are debating about.

Attending: Going to
Elementary School: Grades K-6
Should not be: Self explanatory
Mandatory: required, and you have to
In the USA: Self Explanatory

Hopefully this will alleviate any confusion that ultimatley comes from different people reading this debate and thinking completley different things about the topic.

Now to my actual argument. First off, I am in no way against education. I just believe that it should not be against the law not to go to school. The government has no business in telling children what to do. It should be the parent's choice whether or not they want their children to go to school. The parents should have the ability to say, I don't want my kid to go to school, and I don't want to teach him/her at home because... There are many reasons parents might not want this, and it should be the parent's choice, not the governments law. I will leave my opponent with this.
Ozymandias

Con

First, I'd like to thank my opponent for the debate. May it be an enjoyable and productive one!

Now, to begin, we should look at the reasons the pro gives to support his position:

First, he claims that the government has no business telling children what to do. I completely disagree. The government tells children what they have to do in many cases where they do not do so with adults. The government does not allow children to drink, smoke, or drive. It is not until you reach the age of 21 that you gain the ability to do all of these-- legally, anyway.

He goes on to claim that this is a question of the parent's rights. I disagree; it is my view that the rights in question are the rights of the child--namely, the right to an education. I will return to this in more detail later.

-----

I will now present my own arguments:

Firstly, there are solid practical reasons for having a populace that is as educated as possible. Education has a strong negative correlation with crime-- so much so that 41% of the prison population has not completed high school or equivalent, compared to 18% of the general population. [1] I would argue that this correlation is probably in part causal: those with a lower level of education cannot get good jobs, and will therefore be more likely to resort to a life of crime.

Therefore, by allowing parents to choose to not send their children to elementary school, the level of education would decrease-- and, as a result, crime would rise.

Secondly, an educated populace is good for the economy; those who are better educated are likely to prosper far more than those who are not educated. [2],[3]
An improved economy will benefit society, and allow our nation to compete in the 21st century. Conversely, having a more poorly educated populace will allow other countries to surpass us economically.

I now return to the rights of the child.

This issue is not a question of the rights of the parent, but of the rights of the child. If a parent chooses to deny his or her child an education, the parent is not the primary person affected by this; (s)he is not the one to suffer the consequences-- the child is. Our law already recognizes that a parent should not be able to deny a child certain rights: those who do not feed or provide shelter for their children are guilty of child abuse. By providing public schooling, our government also recognizes education as a right: something that one shouldn't need to pay for.

Therefore, a child deprived of an education is deprived of a basic right. Parents should no more be allowed to deny their children the right to an education than they should be allowed to deny them food or shelter. A child who does not receive an education will have few future prospects; he will not be able to get a good job and will be likely to live in poverty for the rest of his life. Clearly, this is not a desirable outcome.

We must ask ourselves, then, what practical benefit would come from the course of action suggested by my opponent? What benefits would outweigh all these negatives? I can see none-- except for one possible benefit to the parent, and that is that it will allow them to exploit the child for labor. Indeed, studies indicate that parents in developing countries who withdraw their children from school often do so. [4] A lack of mandatory education would also make it easier for parents to use their children for labor: as it stands now, schools will investigate if a child ceases to show up. They would, in doing so, have a chance of discovering it if a parent was attempting to use their child as a worker.
By allowing parents to withdraw their children from school, then, we would both encourage and facilitate child labor in the United States.

-----

My arguments in summary:
1) Increased education helps deter crime
2) Education is good for the economy, and allows us to stay ahead economically.
3) Parents should not be allowed to deny their children rights
4) Our society and our government recognize education as a right
5) By 3) and 4), parents should not be allowed to deny their children an education
6) Those without an education usually end up in poverty
7) There are no desirable benefits to allowing children to opt out of school
8) Indeed, doing so may serve to increase exploitive child labor, which is both illegal and morally wrong.
9) 1), 2), 5), 6), 7) and 8) are each good reasons on their own to mandate education in the case of children.

-----

Sources:
1: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov...
2: http://www.chicagofed.org...
3: http://en.wikipedia.org...
4: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Cindela

Pro

Cindela forfeited this round.
Ozymandias

Con

As my opponent has failed to post an argument, and had very few points in his first post, I have very little to say here, but to further iterate that, while he claimed that parents might have reasons for wishing to deny their children an education-- and, therefore, a shot at life-- he never stated what those reasons could possibly be, and how those could be more important than the child's right to a chance in life, preventing crime, or our economy.

However, I would like to bring up a point that I passed over in my previous argument-- not only does education decrease the crime rate in the long term by creating a more educated populace, it has a similar short term benefit by keeping kids of the streets.

I don't have much more to add, because, as I said, my opponent has not posted an argument of his own.
Debate Round No. 2
Cindela

Pro

First off, I am terribly sorry that I was unable to post an argument earlier. I was out of town and was away from a computer for an extended period of time. Now to my arguement.

I am just going to refute his arguments by the numbers that he ordered them in to get rid of any confusion there might be.

1) That may be so, but you do not have to attend school to recieve an education. Even if you do not have home-schooling, there are a host of ways that your parents or you can utilize to give yourself an education. i.e. the Internet, books, Rosetta Stone software (foreign languages), etc. There are many different ways that one can learn, and if it is more effective than school, then there should be no reason that one cannot use them and must go to school.

2) Again, look to my previous rebuttal. Also, you do not have to go to school to create a business. You do not have to have an education to get a job. Even if you don't have an education, you can help the economy.

3) Yes, the children have rights, but if they do not want to follow through on those rights, should the government, the very institution that gives them that right, force them to go to school?

4) Even if education is a right, it is a right, not a duty, to get an education. You are contradicting yourself right here.

5) Again, look at my rebuttal for 3) and 4)

6) Getting an education does not guarantee that you will be successful either. Not getting one does not guarantee what you will fall into poverty.

7) Here is an example. A child has no interest in school subjects like english and social studies, but has a great interest in nature. The school that the child goes to does not offer any classes in nature, nor does schools in his area. This child would much prefer to go and live somewhere where he can study nature to his hearts content, but doing so would involve leaving school. He will not be able to get a formal education in the wild, and he is therefore not allowed to go to live elsewhere because the government would put him in jail.

That was an example. I am not saying that it will happen, I am just saying that this is a possible scenario.

8) Please give me a scenario where someone would pull a child out of school just so that they could do illegal things to them. Note the illegal part of this.

For my argument, I would like to say that the core of my argument is that it should not be the government's job to force children to go to school. If the child does not want to recieve a traditional education, and the parents agree, then the child should not be forced into getting a formal education. The government should not be taking children's lives into their own hands, especially since it is not the government's children. Thank you
Ozymandias

Con

1) Ah, but those would, essentially, be a form of home schooling. As per the terms of the debate, home schooling is equivalent to elementary school (remember, you said that they do not wish to send their children to school, nor do they want to teach them at home.)

We obviously must regulate home school-- most parents are not experts in education and cannot be trusted to come up with a good curriculum.

2) Sure, it *is* possible to start a business and succeed without an education, but only barely-- and only for those of a supremely advanced intellect, people who can skip most grades and graduate at a very young age anyway.

Remember, the law must be designed for the general case, not the exception. No matter how skilled a driver, you're not allowed to go 100 over the speed limit, because most people who do will risk causing a fatal accident.

3) Yes, it should. The law has already established that children cannot make certain decisions for themselves. There is an age of consent for sex, a drinking age, and a smoking age. Should children be allowed to have sex, be allowed to drink, be allowed to drive? Why is it the government's place to tell children not to do these things, but it is not their place to tell them to get an education? Why should the government look out for the well-being of children in the cases of sex, drinking, and smoking, but not in education? Simply put, you have not presented any reason for such a distinction, you have merely claimed that there is one.

4) You're acting as if 4) directly supports 9)-- and in doing so, you misrepresent the structure of my argument. I clearly stated in my previous argument that 3) and 4) jointly support 5), which supports 9)(the conclusion).
4) doesn't say that the child has an obligation to get an education, but, in conjunction with 3) (that parents cannot deny their children rights), parents cannot deprive their children of an education. (That is, argument 5))

5) Remember, my argument was that 5) follows from 3) and 4). Since you have not demonstrated that 3) and 4) are invalid, you have failed to refute 5). (Remember, the argument was that Education is a right and parents cannot deprive their children of rights, ergo, parents cannot deprive their children of education.)

6) Irrelevant. Driving sober does not guarantee that you won't get in accident; driving drunk does not guarantee that you will; however, the law still bans drunk driving because it's a matter of *probability.* Education does not guarantee you will get a good job, but it *vastly* increases the chances. Not getting one does not guarantee that you will fall into poverty, but it *vastly* increases the chances of you doing so.

7) Two objections to this: most people's interests change by the time they grow up. When I was a child, I was positive that I was going to be a scientist of some sort; now, I'm a history major. A child might be into nature as a child and want to study it, but by limiting himself to such a specific study so early, he limits the rest of his life for an interest that he may not keep into adulthood.
Secondly, it would be much easier to study nature on the side as he grows up, and to more intensely do so after graduation, than it would be to put his entire focus into studying nature as a child, and then go back and get a proper education if he later changes his mind.
If nature is what he enjoys, he can pursue it individually even while he's in school. A great friend of mine studied photography all throughout school-- he didn't need to drop out to do it!

8) I didn't provide a source for this just for fun, I did it for a REASON. Parents who withdraw their children from elementary/primary school (in places where it is legal, or who do it illegally) most often do it so that their children can work to earn money.

Seeing as you have not refuted any of my points, the conclusion still stands. To refute my position, you would have to refute ALL of 1), 2), 5)(by either refuting 3) or 4)), 6), 7), and 8), or demonstrate how none of them support 9). You haven't demonstrated how ANY of them do not support 9), nor have you demonstrated how 9) does not follow from them.

Now, you go on to essentially restate your argument.

In order to refute it, I will apply your argument to other areas; let's see where it takes us.

It's not the job of the government to force children to not smoke. If children want to smoke, and the parents are fine with it, the child should not be forced to not smoke.

It's not the job of the government to force children to not have sex. If children want to have sex, and the parents are fine with it, the child (even if they're, say, 6 or 7-- the ages in question in this debate) should be allowed to.

It's not the job of the government to force children not to film that sex. If a child wants to make kiddie porn, and the parents are fine with it, the child should be allowed to make kiddie porn.

Are you prepared to legalize child smoking?
Are you prepared to legalize pedophilia?
Are you prepared to legalize kiddie porn?

If not, you recognize that the government *should* tell children what to do in certain situations-- and that a parent who attempts to defy that would be an abusive parent. You either agree that the government very well *should* interfere the life of children in certain areas-- and thus contradict your core argument that it should not do so-- or you agree that children as young as 5 should be able to smoke, have sex, and appear in pornography, among other activities.

Therefore, the core of your argument-- that, and I quote: "The government should not be taking children's lives into their own hands, especially since it is not the government's children," (and you specifically, in this case, apply it to education) is effectively refuted. In the case of smoking, in the case of pedophilia, in the case of child porn, and in many other cases, the government does and should take children's lives into their own hands.

Because the long term damage of not getting an education is nearly irreparable, I would argue that education is one of those areas in which the government must interfere.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by padfo0t 8 years ago
padfo0t
You guys type too much.
To Ching-Kit, you spend too much time on updown. Stop it!!!, before it sucks out your brains and you become a horrible, dirty, ugkly person. Debate.org is good for your soul. Just remember that and use the force.

Sorry for the randomness for people who are not Ching-kit.
Posted by cjet79 8 years ago
cjet79
Too much of a "protect the children" argument from con. The government already fails to protect children..it only punishes the offenders of the acts. If government fails so miserably in the task most people agree it should do, then why should we give it the responsibility of dealing with a task that quite a few people don't want it to do.
Posted by Ozymandias 8 years ago
Ozymandias
Thanks for the debate! I've enjoyed it.
Posted by crazypenguin 8 years ago
crazypenguin
Hey Ozymandias at least you got this one and no one beat you to it unlike the last one even though I wanted to do this one to :((((((( (Really sad face)
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