A recent report on the residential school system here in Canada brings to light another horror to add to the many we already knew. A body count.
Over three thousand innocent children, dead at the hands of successive Canadian governments. As with most things politicians do, I'm sure they had nothing but the best of intentions when they set up the system. Surely a modern, effective government school system, administrated by educated teachers can prepare children for the world of the 20th century better than their foolish, savage parents, can't it?
Well no, not only were the children subjected to all manners of abuse, but for some three thousand of them, the government could not even keep them alive. A grand project to change people to fit the mould of those in power was so callous to individuals that the design of some schools included cemeteries from the start.
How could people be so cold hearted to innocent children, children whose lives had been entrusted to them? While many factors were at play, I would argue that the most influential was the tendency for power to beget abuse. We've seen it before, the Stanford prison experiment stands out as perhaps the best documented scientific example.
A school must be responsible, not to a government, but to the students and their parents. The horrors of the residential system could never have occurred at schools which had to compete for students in a market environment. A top down centrally directed plan is ineffective for most elements of human interaction, but it is particularly terrible for raising children