It's not insanity. It's not socialism. It's not to be government run, or at least not national government. It CAN be government FUNDED, but that's where one of the keys to free education comes into play.
Please read this entire line of thinking before passing judgement on it, because in this article I challenge all versions of standard thinking on the matter by challenging the underlying assumptions upon which all standard models rely. Free education is almost IMPOSSIBLE, under the CURRENT monetary system and model. As it currently is, for the government to fund education or anything else it must borrow and/or tax to get the money to spend on it. This statement SHOULD raise red flags in everyone's mind. Didn't we all learn as we were growing up, or at least weren't we led to believe, that the government created the money for the nation? Most of us in the current set of generations and most of the past ones have gone through our lives without a single moment of questioning the money we use every day.
With all of this in mind, let us think. How can education, health care, or any other baseline item such as those be provided without a personal monetary cost to anyone, including the cost of taxes? There are actually many possible ways, both national and local. At the national level the fundamental requirement would be that the government would have to return to a sovereign currency/money that is 100% created by the government rather than by private banks. It could be with a purely public banking system that creates the money in a similar fashion as private banks use today, or it could be using the old methods from when US Notes were in circulation. US Notes were issued debt-free as what some call "positive" money. They were considered credits, rather than debt. Some insist it would require a backing by something such as gold or silver, but that is not necessary. What IS necessary is that the government be the sole creator of the national currency.
Locally there are far more options. Let us take a look at what money really represents at its base: a compensation system. It is the means by which people are rewarded for their work. But it isn't the only possible way of compensating someone. There are a number of small scale examples of completely different systems - all of which could be shown as a working example of what could be done on a larger scale. Alternative forms of currency, at the local level, would be one form of example with many possible varieties. Worgl, a town in Austria, showed the power of such a thing when they thrived in spite of the Great Depression raging on. There are a number of communities around the US that use what is called LETS or Local Exchange Trading System. Other communities have varieties of local currencies. One shortcoming, though, is scale. If the local government doesn't issue and accept that currency then it will not provide for the entire economic need of the town or city. If that local government DOES get involved in such a way, though, then it opens up many thriving possibilities.
There are other ways of helping the situation too. Teachers could be compensated with super-high-quality housing dedicated to teachers. Such a thing could also be applied to health professionals when discussing health care options. Special privileges could be granted to those who serve at that baseline level - education, health care, elderly care, energy, water, retirement communities, etc. If we would use our collective imaginations we could come up with some awesome options and all of these baselines could be completely free without a penny in taxation.