What Effect Does School Attendance Have on the Crime Rate?
Increasing the length of school attendance does not decrease the crime rate, according to the postwar trends in most industrialized countries. Arguing that requiring children to attend school longer would reduce crime is arguing from a statistical fallacy. Neither school uniforms nor longer school days or school years can be expected to reduce crime as long as schools themselves promote the development of youth culture. A much more effective set of crime control measures, as demonstrated by the experience of the United States in recent years, is vigorous police work, strict law enforcement, and allowing young people more choice in education.
Here are a few insightful quotes:
"As the labor of children has become unnecessary to society, school has been extended for them. With every decade, the length of schooling has increased, until a thoughtful person must ask whether society can conceive of no other way for youth to come into adulthood."
A socialization used to mean something different.
Kett demonstrates, among other things, that the "peer group" of most children used to range in age from four to twenty-two-- until age-segregated public schools became commonplace after the Civil War.
Montgomery reached the conclusion that any time a state adopted compulsory school attendance laws in the nineteenth century, its crime rate and youth suicide rate increased. United States census figures are cited throughout the book. Montgomery also reemphasized the point Cowper made a century earlier, that age-peer socialization produces more criminal behavior than socialization by parents.
This is a different point of view than those awful commercials promoting universal preschool.
A 1992 Associated Press article about Dr. Shyer's research was widely reprinted in newspapers across the country. Dr. Shyers reports that direct observation by trained observers, using a "blind" procedure, found that home-schooled children had significantly fewer problem behaviors, as measured by the Child Observation Checklist's Direct Observation Form, than traditionally schooled children when playing in mixed groups of children from both kinds of schooling backgrounds. Shyers concluded that the hypothesis that contact with adults, rather than contact with other children, is most important in developing social skills in children is supported by these data.
Related Tags: homeschool, public school, juvenile crime rates, age-peer socialization, compulsory attendance laws