This is taken from Sheldon Richman's book, Separating School & State: How To Liberate American Families.
Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property. Let him be taught to love his family, but let him be taught at the same time that he must forsake and even forget them when the welfare of his country requires it.
- Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence
Why were the public schools ever established? Did the private sector fail to set up schools or set up too few of them? Were large segments of society barred from obtaining education? Was the education of poor quality? The answer to the last three questions is no. The public schools were not established to make up for any deficiency in people's ability to learn to read, write, do arithmetic, and acquire knowledge of other subjects. The government schools were set up for another purpose entirely. [Snip]
Throughout history, rulers and court intellectuals have aspired to use the educational system to shape their nations. The model was set out by Plato in The Republic and was constructed most faithfully in Soviet Russia, Fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany. But one need not look only to extreme cases to find such uses of the educational system. One can see how irresistible a vehicle the schools would be to any social engineer. They represent a unique opportunity to mold future citizens early in life, to instill in them the proper reverence for the ruling culture, and to prepare them to be obedient and obeisant taxpayers and soldiers. Unsurprisingly, rulers and intellectuals jumped at the chance to make the schools a mill for the creation of Good Citizens. That motivation has been part of every effort to establish government schools.