Compulsory education is a 12+ year jail sentence and the schools are the prisons
Debate Rounds (3)
Please post your opening argument(s).
1. required; mandatory; obligatory:
2. using compulsion; compelling; constraining:
education (n.) as defined by etymonline.com
1530s, "childrearing," also "the training of animals," from Middle French education (14c.) and directly from Latin educationem (nominative educatio) "a rearing, training," noun of action from past participle stem of educare (see educate). Originally of instruction in social codes and manners; meaning "systematic schooling and training for work" is from 1610s.
educate (v.) Look up educate at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "bring up (children), to train," from Latin educatus, past participle of educare "bring up, rear, educate" (source also of Italian educare, Spanish educar, French "duquer), which is a frequentative of or otherwise related to educere "bring out, lead forth," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + ducere "to lead" (see duke (n.)). Meaning "provide schooling" is first attested 1580s. Related: Educated; educating.
educate as defined by thefreedictionary.com
1. To develop the mental, moral, or social capabilities of, especially by schooling or instruction.
3. To provide with information, as in an effort to gain support for a position or to influence behavior
jail as defined by Dictionary.com
2. to take into or hold in lawful custody; imprison.
sentence as defined by thefreedictionary.com
3. an opinion, judgment, or decision
school as defined by merriam-webster.com
2b : a school building
school (n.1) as defined by etymonline.com
"place of instruction," Old English scol, from Latin schola "intermission of work, leisure for learning; learned conversation, debate; lecture; meeting place for teachers and students, place of instruction; disciples of a teacher, body of followers, sect," from Greek skhole "spare time, leisure, rest ease; idleness; that in which leisure is employed; learned discussion;" also "a place for lectures, school;" originally "a holding back, a keeping clear," from skhein "to get" (from PIE root *segh- "to Hold, Hold in one's power, to have;" see SCHEME (n.)) + -ole by analogy with bole "a throw," stole "outfit," etc.
scheme as defined by merriam-webster.com
: a clever and often dishonest plan to do or get something
prison as defined by merriam-webster.com
1. a state of confinement or captivity
confine as defined by Dictionary.com
1. to enclose within bounds; limit or restrict:
2. to shut or keep in
nurture as defined by merriam-webster.com
: to help (something or someone) to grow, develop, or succeed
: to take care of (someone or something that is growing or developing) by providing food, protection, a place to live, etc.
: to hold (something, such as an idea or a strong feeling) in your mind for a long time
Definitions provided in the form that they will be used to convey the intended message during my argument(s)
It is my assertion that compulsory education is a decision made by outside agencies imposed upon a child's parents that require the child to be confined in an institution for specified periods of time. Furthermore, I contend that these specified and obligatory periods of confinement are analogous to jail sentences. Inasmuch as they serve to contain the students more than educate or ready the attendees for continuity or achievement in the environs they will be introduced into and expected to thrive in independently. I also request that my opponent prove that schools are not comparable to prisons, in any way. My opponent must show that these schools exercise proper care in providing useful, relevant and practical knowledge and skills that qualify the attendees to function independently after completing these school terms.
Proposed arguments that support my assertion:
1. School is a place where children are compelled to be, and where their freedom is greatly restricted " far more restricted than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. 
2. Attendees are given minimal amounts of recreational or yard time that resembles the format given to inmates in jail.
3. The children are removed from their loving parents and put under the control of teacher-wardens who may not love them, care for them, or simply even have the time to pay attention to them. They are stopped from being a free and free-spirited child. They are told to keep quiet. They are told to obey the rules. They are told to march from classroom cell to classroom cell every 50 minutes to study different subjects that may mean nothing to them. 
4. Attendees are given a specific time frame in which they are 'allowed' to eat, just as inmates in jail.
5. Prisons and schools have guards
6. Both environments have an authoritarian structure
7. Students and inmates are required to adhere to a dress code.
8. Both inmates and students are forced to walk in lines
9. Both inmates and students can be searched without permission.
10. The actual existence of a 'school to prison pipeline'
I defer to my opponent to make his/her case.
A large part of the essence of an institution is its purpose and aims, I argue that the purpose of compulsory education is completely different to the purpose of jail sentences, and so they are not especially more similar than any other insititution.
I will begin with outlining the purposes of jail sentences:
1. Deterrence - to deter potential criminals from committing a crime, based on the premise that most people value their freedom
2. Retribution - a form of vengeance, or administration of just punishment towards the perpetrator of a crime that has caused great suffering
3. Rehabilitation - an attempt to change the criminal inclinations of the felon in order to produce a productive and law-abiding member of society.
4. Protection (of society) - Arguably the most pragmatic use of imprisonment; this is to isolate harmful criminals from society to prevent potential crimes that would have been committed if the criminal was able to do so.
Now, compare these to the purpose of schools:
1. Social Development - the cultivation of children's ability to interact in a social manner with other children and adults, including the development of concepts such as friendship, relationships and conflict.
2. Vocational Development - the teaching of skills for specific trades such as farming, engineering or crafting.
3. Cognitive Development - Improvement of the mental capacity, knowledge and general intelligence.
4. Emotional Development - Providing an environment suitable for the learning of understanding, management and consideration of emotions.
These purposes are very different, aside from rehabilitation perhaps. This is evidence that compulsory education is not comparatively similar to prisons.
Differences in essence
This section of the argument will list miscellaneous reasons why schools are not similar to prisons:
1. Only education is compulsory, not school attendance. Between 7400 and 34400 children are home-schooled in the UK (3). Conversely, prison attendance is compulsory.
2. Children generally want to go to school, unlike jail which is almost universally disliked.
3. Pupils can be taken out of school at the end of each day or to receive medical help, prisoners are confined 24/7 and most medical help is carried out within the jail.
4. Education is in children's best interests; the vast majority of careers require skills and knowledge that are taught in school. In contrast, prisons are largely not for the convicts' best interests but are for the best interests of society.
5. Compulsory education is justified by the Golden Rule; that we ought to treat others as we would like to be treated. Given mental maturity, the vast majority of people would want to be educated despite their immature selves desiring otherwise, so we ought to instigate compulsory education.
6. Children are educated simply by virtue of their age, whereas people are put into prison only if they commit a crime.
I will now respond to your supposed reasons why schools are distinctly similar to prisons.
"School is a place where children are compelled to be, and where their freedom is greatly restricted " far more restricted than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces"
Freedom is earned by responsibility, children are not responsible so are naturally going to have their freedom more restricted than adults. And, as I have stated above, home-schooling is an alternative so school is not 'a place where children are compelled to be'.
"Attendees are given minimal amounts of recreational or yard time that resembles the format given to inmates in jail
Whilst this is true, restriction of recreational time is for very different reasons. In schools, recreational time is limited to actually ensure that the child is being educated, whereas inmates' recreational time is limited as part of the punitive nature of prison. If prison recreational time was not restricted then it would become considerably less unappealing, which is counter-intuitive considering the deterrent nature of prisons.
"The children are removed from their loving parents and put under the control of teacher-wardens who may not love them, care for them, or simply even have the time to pay attention to them. They are stopped from being a free and free-spirited child. They are told to keep quiet. They are told to obey the rules. They are told to march from classroom cell to classroom cell every 50 minutes to study different subjects that may mean nothing to them."
Firstly, parents consent to sending their children to school, it is not as if they are dragged away kicking and screaming.
Secondly, if school stopped children from being free-spirited then the vast majority of children would not be free-spirited. However, I have been in school since the age of five and have not been made less 'free-spirited', and I could say the same for pretty much all of my school-friends.
Thirdly, most schools do not enforce 'marching' down corridors or anything militaristic like that.
Lastly, the fact that subjects may mean nothing to certain pupils does not mean that they should not be taught. Virtually nobody liked mathematics when I was 10 years old and I could have honestly said that maths meant nothing to me, yet the mathematical skills I was taught are invaluable to my current life.
"Attendees are given a specific time frame in which they are 'allowed' to eat, just as inmates in jail."
This is for the same reason as recreation time is restricted. Besides, few schools would actually restrict eating periods to such an extent that one could not finish what they had to eat.
"Both environments have an authoritarian structure"
Which is no different to the vast majority of offices, building sites or any other adult place of work. The authoritarian structure is necessary in order to ensure efficient work and (in the case of schools) learning.
"Prisons and schools have guards"
They do? In the UK most schools do not have guards. If they exist in the USA, I can only suppose that this is for the protection of children from potential school-massacres, not to keep the children from escaping like it is the case in prisons.
"Students and inmates are required to adhere to a dress code."
Again, this cannot account for all schools. Besides, even if both schools and prisons have dress codes does not mean that they are analogous to each other. This is because many institutions have dress codes such as magistrate courts; it would be absurd to assert that courts are like prisons because they both happen to have a dress code.
"Both inmates and students are forced to walk in lines"
In the few schools that actually enforce this, it is for practical reasons (avoiding congestion in corridors). In prisons it is for security reasons.
"Both inmates and students can be searched without permission."
True, but this is a safety measure and not enough of a comparison to assert that schools are analogous to prisons.
"The actual existence of a 'school to prison pipeline"
You do not justify your point, could I at least look at your sources here?
I will now pass over to my opponent.
http://www.examiner.com.... As the debate was not limited to the United States, I will consider this portion of Con's argument to be limited in scope.
Reasons parents state for homeschooling: Relation to Jail
1. concern for the child's safety and welfare  - jail environments are dangerous
2. child has been a victim of bullying.  - prisoners are victimized and bullied
3. desire to protect child's individual identity  (students are given identity numbers) - prisoners are numbers
4. punishing policies - prisoners are being punished
Rebuttal of disimilar purposes argument
Purpose for jail sentence
1&2. Deterrence is the use of punishment as a threat to deter people from offending.  I assert that attendees are often given time as a means of deterrence, it is called detention. As students can receive detentions for the smallest of supposed infractions as well as for not attending school on time, I argue that this is very similar to a jail sentence. 
Attendees can be jailed for missing school (type of school to prison pipeline).   Attendees can even receive corporal punishment from school staff.  These are also retributive measures.
3. Rehabilitation - I argue that the schooling system is attempting to change the attendees' inclinations. Punishment for mismatched shoe laces, having to urinate and growing one's hair are intended to punish something that should not be a crime. The attendees are being punished for free will and independent thought. Adults are not considered non law abiding citizens for having mismatched shoe laces, growing their hair or having to urinate.  These are basically thought crimes that are reminiscent of the book 1984.
4. Protection (of society) - The practices of schools are also to protect society. They protect society's class hierarchy (i.e. grading system, differences in qualities of schools, assurance of a labor class vs. entrepreneurs)
suggested purpose of schools:
1. Social Development - One of the major reasons parents choose to home school is to avoid inappropriate socialization.
Unfortunately, the negative socialization that takes place in the larger "school" environment is often destructive and parents must spend time retraining their children after long exposure to it. Meanness, teasing, gossip, rudeness, peer pressure and other destructive social skills contribute to negative socialization.  Also, as inmates spend most of their time isolated in a cell, attendees are expected and forced to sit still and quietly at their desks a majority of the time.
2. Vocational Development - While vocational training is beneficial, the typical education (in the U.S) does not offer vocational courses. When they are offered, the attendees may have to sacrifice academics to receive vocational training.
But welding is tough work. It"s "not kind to your knees and your back," says Houle. He started to think about the fact that his body would give out someday. Then what would he do?..That meant going to college. And that"s when he realized that, when it came to academics, he hadn"t learned nearly enough in high school.  Jails also offer vocational courses:
There is one group of American workers so disenfranchised that corporations are able to get away with paying them wages that rival those of third-world sweatshops...They are the 2.3 million American prisoners locked behind bars where we cannot see or hear them. And they are modern-day slaves of the 21st century. 
3. Cognitive Development - most public school students who headed to college aren't prepared for college work 
Overall, only about half of college grads say they"re prepared for the workplace " and the number of bosses who think they"re prepared is lower than 40%. 
4. Emotional Development - Fewer students than ever before are reporting above-average emotional health. 
Too many college students face challenges for which they are emotionally ill-equipped to handle. 
1. already discussed
2. "School for 12 years, college for 4 years or more...then you work until you die. Great." Unknown Student I think generalizing that children want to go to school is an overstatement. 
Many students think school is boring, dislike school, drop out of school, sow no signs of engagement, put forth little effort and receive poor grades 
3. Many districts are eliminating or not expanding nursing positions because of budget cuts  Prisoners can be temporarily released from jail.
4. Compulsory education requires outside permission and regulation for a parental decision. I agree education is important.
5. Traditional education is not compulsory...it is practical and interactive (i.e. real world application)
6. As stated, the child's crime is apparently free will and independent thought. Also, sentences can be opinions or decisions and the attendees often state they feel like school is a jail. Famous homeschooled people include: Mozart, Pearl Buck, Susan B Anthony, Venus and Serena Williams
"Freedom is earned.." - John le Carr", "All men are born free: just not for long." Freedom is a natural born right. How children's freedom is restricted should be left to parents. They could have family members help with schooling, yet, this is not allowed by homeschooling requirements.
"recreational time is limited.." - education, eating and recreation can be mutually inclusive.
"if school stopped children from being free-spirited..." - When starting out as a teacher, I heard Joseph Cornell say that keeping children inside one room five days a week is akin to breaking a horse..Our tendency is to keep children in, especially as academic demands only increase. And for discipline or missed work what do we do? Keep them in at recess. Breaking horses. 
"few schools would actually..." - "..the lunch lady took my lunch away and threw it in the garbage."  
Pat downs by guards,walking in line and uniforms are methods to strip dignity,independence, and free will from attendees - similar to prisoners. 
School to prison pipeline - this "pipeline" is the result of public institutions being neglectful or derelict in properly addressing students as individuals who might need extra educational or social assistance.  The resulting miseducation and mass incarceration are said to create a vicious circle for individuals and communities. (i.e. Zero-tolerance policies, Excessive policing, Institutional similarity) [23,24,26]
Thus, state mandated constrained education in schools is similar to jail.
Pro states that home-schooling is illegal in some countries, saying that:
'The debate was not limited to the United States, [so] I will consider this portion of Con's argument to be limited in scope.'
However, many of Pro's comparisons are based on the nature of schools in the United States, so I could equally denounce them as limited in scope.
Either we agree to be referring to a particular country, or we agree to refer to the schools of the entire world. If the latter is the case (as is inferred by the title of the debate) then the comparisons Pro makes must be the case for schools worldwide.
As school attendance is not compulsory in every country, then they cannot be said to be compulsory in the international scope of this debate.
Whilst it is true that parents can be convicted for not providing education to their children, this is not unjust. Preventing your child from being correctly educated is tantamount to child abuse; the UN upholds education as a basic human right.(1)
Indeed, compulsory elementary education is a human right. (1)
My opponent then highlights parents' reasoning for homeschooling:
'concern for the child's safety and welfare'
Education actually improves the long term health of those who are educated. (2)
'child has been a victim of bullying'
Bullying is prevalent in adult life as well, it is not an issue exclusive to schools. In fact, early experience of bullying can actually help children develop. (3)
'Desire to protect child's individual identity (students are given identity numbers)'
The distribution of identity numbers does not remove a child's individual identity. They are not suddenly a mindless zombie simply because they have been given numbers. Employees are also given identification numbers (4) , so it is not a phenomenon exclusive to prisons and schools.
Again, only if rules are broken. But this is also prevalent in pretty much all institutions. (5)
Whilst schools punish pupils for wrongdoing; this is partly a deterrent to incite pupils to behave well (which is no bad thing). The actual threat of going to school is not a deterrent (as is the case with jail) , simply punishments that are within it. Detentions may seem similar to jail sentences, but the latter is normally years in length whilst a detention in around an hour; the difference in timescales renders it a poor comparison.
My opponent mentions corporal punishment, but it is banned in most of the USA and all of Europe (6). Using my opponent's wording, I will consider this part of the argument 'limited in scope', as the use of corporal punishment is not the norm in most schools.
It is true that a school is trying to change pupils' attitudes, its called education.
I agree that punishments for very minor offences can be over-zealous, but the reason that stories such as in Pro's source are sensationalised is that they are anomalous, in most cases discipline increases the standard of education.
And, finally, pupils are not prevented from urinating.
Protection of society
Universal education does the opposite of maintaining class barriers, it allows people at the bottom of society to be successful.
Compulsory education is not a prison, it is the way that children can escape the prison of poverty.
My opponent states that parents want to protect their children from 'negative socialisation' such as gossiping and meanness.
However, these facets of 'negative socialisation' are abundant in adult life, school is necessary to provide the environment where children can learn how to cope with all aspects of socialisation, both positive and negative.
Home-schooling can actually leave children unprepared socially for adult life (7).
Specific courses for vocations come later in adolescence, after pupils are taught the basic academia needed for all walks of life. Whilst jails do offer vocational courses, this is only because jails have educative facilities and not because schools are similar to jails.
Millions of Americans work in sweatshops for little money, but this is hardly the fault of compulsory education. They would be even less employable if they were not properly educated.
I agree that most people doubt that graduates are ready for the workplace, but if compulsory education was not instigated then they would be even less ready.
The suffering emotional health of pupils is a necessary evil, as it were, because emotional challenges are required for the emotional development of children. A child who is constantly shielded from emotional rigour whilst growing up will be unprepared for the harsh adult world.
"School for 12 years, college for 4 years or more...then you work until you die. Great."
Life is what you make it, pessimists may take the above attitude but the truth is that anyone can do anything (within reason). Compulsory education increases the possibilities of one's life.
I would argue that most students dislike school currently because 1) they are immature and 2) they take education for granted.
Child activists like Malala Yousafzai have risked death to advocate compulsory education (8), which shows that if children were more mature and were aware of its value, they would want to go to school.
'prisoners can be temporarily released from jail.'
Yes, but occasions of this are not the norm, whereas school attendance is generally for a limited time of the day.
' Compulsory education requires outside permission and regulation'
I'm not quite sure what my opponent means when he states this.
' Traditional education is not compulsory...it is practical and interactive'
There is no reason to suggest that compulsory education cannot be practical and interactive.
'the child's crime is apparently free will and independent thought. Also, sentences can be opinions or decisions and the attendees often state they feel like school is a jail. '
The child is not punished for free will or independent thought, so long as they do not break the rules. This is the same in normal society.
Also, children are known to make exaggerated claims, so them claiming that a school is like jail is hardly veridical evidence. Also none of them actually know what jail is like, so they cannot make an informed comparison.
Whilst freedom is a right, children ought to be raised in accordance to what is best for them even if they do not appreciate it at the time. This is the case for compulsory education; few pupils enjoyed compulsory education at the time, but pretty much all adults accept that is a necessary institution.
If children could opt out of education then they would probably enjoy it at first, but they would come to understand the importance of compulsory education and regret leaving it. We, as adults, have a duty to prevent children from making disastrous decisions, even if this limits their freedom to some extent.
'education, eating and recreation can be mutually inclusive.'
Not if we want efficient education. Eating whilst being taught is a distraction, and it is much harder to teach a core subject like maths in a recreational sense.
keeping children inside one room five days a week is akin to breaking a horse..'
The analogy does not work because horses are not naturally part of a society, breaking them brings them into society. However, humans, educated or uneducated, are all part of the society so there is no 'breaking' involved. The evidential fact is that education improves quality of life and so we should educate children.
'the lunch lady took my lunch away and threw it in the garbage."
My opponent makes this example, but my point that few schools would do this remains standing because he has not given evidence to suggest that this was not an isolated incident.
' Pat downs by guards,walking in line and uniforms are methods to strip dignity,independence, and free will from attendees -similar to prisoners.'
No, these are not used to strip dignity, they are used for pragmatic or security reasons. If they do strip dignity then this a mere subjective side-effect. I've been forced to wear a uniform and walk in line, but my dignity hasn't been 'stripped'.
My opponent mentions the existence of a school to prison pipeline, but this is only the case where schools are mismanaged, there is nothing innate about compulsory education that leads to incarceration in prison, any such pipeline is a result from faulty education policy and not the actual concept of compulsory education.
To conclude, compulsory education has some similarities with prison, but so do other institutions such as hospitals and offices.
They are not similar enough to be metaphorically similar as the title of the debate asserts.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Rubikx 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Bop was with Pro an they didn't provide a strong enough argument to say that schools are prisons. They gave several examples of schools that could be considered prison like, but overall (as Con said) schools are not like that.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro gains points for sources as he used a signifcant amount of more sources than his opponent. S&G goes to Con due to Pro's several gramatical errors that he has comitted. Pro's argument is interesting to read and he came close to winning the debate, but the debate resolution includes the term "is" meaning that Pro has the BOP proving that it's like a jail sentence. Unfortunately his BOP is what harms him, because Con wins major contentions like "The Difference" making the resolution and debate swing to his favor and since he wins that argument and just that argument alone gives him the debate. Although Con wins a few others it's that one that costs Pro the debate.
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