Are you for slavery? Or for ending it? It’s time to take a stand


This is the first edition of End the Education Plantation’s newsletter, The Liberator. In the months ahead, we’ll use it to offer up news and opinions about school choice.

We take our name from William Lloyd Garrison’s anti-slavery newspaper. Garrison fought against the evils of physical slavery; we fight against the evils of educational slavery.

In both cases the very soul of the country is at risk. And in both cases the truth will ultimately prevail. Garrison said it well when he noted,

It is pretended, that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by the coarseness of my invective and the precipitancy of my measures. The charge is not true. On this question of my influence, — humble as it is,– is felt at this moment to a considerable extent, and shall be felt in coming years — not perniciously, but beneficially — not as a curse, but as a blessing; and posterity will bear testimony that I was right. I desire to thank God, that he enables me to disregard ‘the fear of man which bringeth a snare,’ and to speak his truth in its simplicity and power.”

Garrison knew that justice and truth remained the property of no man or party and thus stated “I shall not array myself as the political partisan of any man. In defending the great cause of human rights, I wish to derive the assistance of all religions and of all parties.”

We do the same. We are a single issue, non-partisan organization. We reach out our hand in friendship and brotherhood to all who support this cause. Whether we agree on any other subject is irrelevant in this moral crusade of our time. Just as with Garrison, if you believe in the sanctity of the human soul, if you believe that every life is a precious gift, then you must stand with us in this battle. If righteousness makes might, then together we are an unstoppable force.

Garrison used strong language to make his point and did not apologize for doing so: “I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation.” He refused to allow people to look away from the obscenity of slavery. He rubbed their noses in the reality of slavery and would not back down.

We do the same. We make no apologies for offense. We intend to offend. What is happening to the children of this land is offensive. The damage done to their lives, before they even have a chance to live them, will not stand. The damage done to this great country as these children with poor educations grow and have children of their own will not stand. That the children and parents of this land are treated as literal slaves to the education plantation will not stand.

Just like Garrison, we see this for what it is, a moral crusade for which there are only two choices … either you are for freeing the slaves or you support their continued enslavement. There are no other choices. Soft words and averting the eyes does not allow anyone to claim neutrality in this battle.

Years after Garrison, another great fighter noted: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” Those words are by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Protest! Raise your voice! Or look in the mirror and accept the sad reality that you are in a very real sense cooperating with evil. That you are as much of the problem as those who actively fight to keep children and parents chained to the education plantation. If this offends your wellbeing, so be it.

Just like Garrison we will not allow you to ignore the plight of these poor souls. We will not allow a passive response of “hey that’s terrible… glad it’s not my kid.” You will take a stand whether you like that or not. It is not just the future of a few poor kids we are talking about. The very future of the country, the very soul of the country is at risk. On this issue we are proud zealots and apologize to none.

Offering some type of incremental freedom to a lucky few is no more acceptable today than it was in Garrison’s time. He made that mistake and strongly recanted his words: “… I unreflectingly assented to the popular but pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition. I seize this moment to make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon of my God, of my country, and of my brethren the poor slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice, and absurdity”. We agree. To consent to some limited freedom from the education plantation for a lucky or dedicated few is “full of timidity, injustice, and absurdity”. We will have none of it.

The inner-city schools in this country are a national disgrace. The affects of this multi-generational carnage can be seen by simply walking down the street. But this moral rot extends far beyond the inner-cities. Far too many middle class children will never reach the economic and personal successes of their parents, largely due to their being slaves to the education plantation. The multi-generational carnage that the education planation has wrought goes back generations. Its damage courses through this country’s veins. It is a slow poison which, if left untreated, will cause this once great country to shrivel and become but a shell of itself. The very real affects are being felt today in all parts of the country, rich and poor alike.

Many will attempt to cling to their power over your children. Many will attempt to frighten you with wild fears of what freedom will bring. The plantation owners of old told these same lies to those poor souls that they held as slaves, attempting to keep them pacified and fearful of what freedom might bring.

Many will tell you that freedom for parents and children can’t be allowed since far too many will choose to run off the education plantation. THIS is the very essence of slavery. Freeing the slaves didn’t destroy the southern states; it simply changed them. And, in reality, saved them from an accursed future. End the Education Plantation has no desire or intent to destroy the public education system. That is simply the fear-mongering of the education plantation owners. We simply plan to change it with freedom. We offer no remedy other than freedom. We will save the public education system from the moral rot that infects its very soul. Just as physical slavery promoted a moral decay, educational slavery does the same. Only freedom is the answer.

How can one fight for slavery and against freedom? That is the question each of us, young and old alike, must answer today. There are no passes given to anyone. Do not let fear influence your decision. Do not let the greatness of this moment frighten you into inaction or supporting the status quo.

This is a glorious moment for each and every one of us. Only a handful of generations are blessed with the opportunity to lead a moral crusade. President John F. Kennedy said it well, “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.” It is time to demand the freedom of every parent and child in the land. It is time to welcome this battle.

End the Education Plantation is a true grassroots organization. As I write this I am the entire organization. In the course of my work I have been in the roughest neighborhoods in this country. If every person reading this had seen what I have seen, the outcry would shake the Rocky Mountains to their very core. I simply got fed up and decided to do something about it. And as I investigated the education plantation I found its failures extend far beyond the inner cities. Its failures reach into every community and touch every child in this entire land. I simply stood up and said enough! It will not be allowed to stand.

But unlike most moral crusades, this one doesn’t have wicked people on the other side. There is no one fighting to ensure children receive life-debilitating educations. The country is filled with dedicated, hardworking, and loving teachers, administrators, para-pros, and volunteers. Although, out of fear, many of these will fight to keep the education plantation in place, the ultimate cause of these failures is not theirs. Whether they know it or not, they are the solution not the problem.

In a very real sense, the plantation owners of old were as much slaves to the system as were those unfortunate people who were held as slaves. The same is true with the education plantation of today. The teachers and administrators are as much slaves as are the children and their parents. The freedom of the child will also become the freedom of the teacher. Let us unleash the wisdom of millions and free all who are involved from the mental and physical shackles of educational slavery.

On a per-pupil basis this country spends more money than any other country on the planet, save one. Lack of funding is not the ultimate cause of these failures. The great people of this country willingly dig deep into their pockets to fund the education of every child in the land. We deserve a much better return on investment.

Rather, just like in the plantations of old, the very structure of the system is morally corrupt. Well-meaning slave holders are still slave holders. The only solution is to change the system and bring true freedom for all. Until that is done, the system remains morally corrupt and its output of happy, well adjusted, and educated young Americans will continue to fail … to their and the country’s detriment.

Although there is a small, growing, active school choice movement in the country and they are winning skirmish after skirmish, I confront the same conundrum as did Garrison. It is not a skirmish I plan to win, but the war itself. To this I end this inaugural publication with my modifications to the text of the original Liberator…

During my recent tours for the purpose of exciting the minds of the people by a series of discourses on the subject of educational slavery, every place that I visited gave fresh evidence of the fact, that a greater revolution in public sentiment was to be effected in the entire country. I found contempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen, than among education slave-owners themselves. Of course, there were individual exceptions to the contrary. This state of things afflicted, but did not dishearten me. I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the nation, within sight of Bunker Hill and in the birthplace of liberty. That standard is now unfurled; and long may it float, unhurt by the spoliations of time or the missiles of a desperate foe — yea, till every chain be broken, and every child set free! Let education plantation oppressors tremble — let their secret abettors tremble — let their apologists tremble — let all the enemies of the persecuted children of this country tremble.”

I will not allow the present carnage to continue for another minute, another second. And like William Lloyd Garrison, I WILL BE HEARD.

John Conlin

John Conlin is a self-employed management consultant who lives in Littleton, Colorado. He started End The Education Plantation because he’s seen first-hand the harm being caused by our nation’s schools and believes it’s time to do something about that. Join our email list for continuing updates. And get involved. We’re a grassroots organization.

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Who We Are

End the Education Plantation is a temporary nonprofit organization founded by John Conlin of Littleton, Colorado, because he’s seen first-hand the harm being caused by our nation’s schools. We are a grassroots organization with one and only one goal: Give every parent in America the opportunity to send their children to schools offering a quality education.

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