"I believe that our Free Public School is the cornerstone of good government and that those who are seeking to destroy it are enemies of our Republic and are unworthy of citizenship."
Have you ever said anything like this? If so, you are in good company: http://www.honested.com/edlib/v1n4/orsi.php (Be sure to read the article to see what the Supreme Court thought about it.)
There's a lot of great quotes here in defense of schooling:
"We recognize and proclaim our belief in the free and compulsory education of the children of our nation in public primary schools supported by public taxation, upon which all children shall attend and be instructed in the English language only without regard to race or creed as the only sure foundation for the perpetuation and preservation of our free institutions."
I think a lot of people don't understand just how important it is to democracy for there to be an educated populace. Schools function as a great bringer of democracy: they provide every citizen the training they need to function in a democratic society. This is the only way democracy can endure.
The schools help students to understand what democracy is all about. Another great quote:
"young children in private schools have no defense against any private ideas antagonistic to our free institutions. We cannot afford to run this risk any longer, and we positively know that traitors are now at this deadly task."
It's sad that some people want to subvert the system. Unfortunately even in our democratic society the rich still have many advantages over the poor, and it is they who most commonly are able to opt out of the system and privately educate their children. This just serves to further divide us into a class society: the haves and the have-nots. There's a great quote toward the end of that article from a state governor about how important it is that the rich not be afforded these advantages over the poor.