Compulsory schooling came AFTER near universal literacy and drove out thousands of volunteer and for-profit schools. Almost every girl and boy in England could read before the mandatory Prussian system was imposed in 1870. Likewise in the USA. See the charts and decide for yourself. Was it worth it, all those years you learned to sit in rows and obey bells?
From "The Evolution Of Everything" by Matt Ridley:
"Prussian schools introduced many of the features we now take for granted. There was teaching by year group rather than by ability.. There was formal pedagogy, in which children sat at rows of desks in front of standing teachers ... There was the set school day, punctuated by the ringing of bells. There was a predetermined syllabus... There was the habit of doing several subjects in one day, rather than sticking to one subject for more than a day.. The state, once given the chance, quickly took to providing almost all schooling and to deciding not just what should be taught and by whom, but which school a particular child should attend. " A few pages later, he quotes Albert Shanker,