Someone recently passed along an article to me on the whole public versus private school debate. Being a vocal advocate of school choice, and choosing to send my own kids to private school, I thought I’d pretty much heard it all. This might be the first time I’ve been called a bad person for making education a priority for my children.
When I first read the piece, I was convinced that it was satire, and obviously in favor of private schools. The author actually praises herself for getting drunk before basketball games in ninth grade, and compares it to reading Walt Whitman in terms of cultural experiences.
Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.
I’m sorry, what? And is she implying that kids in trailer parks can’t read Walt Whitman, and are only good for the cultural “slumming it” experience?
See? It has to be satire, right?
The entire article doesn’t just imply, but explicitly states that parents that want the best for their own children are bad people, and that truly altruistic parents would send their kids to the crappiest public schools they could find, because it might improve them two or three generations down the line.
I can’t make this stuff up, and the scary part is I think she might actually be serious.
But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.
So let me get this straight -- I’m supposed to sacrifice my own children’s education … for the common good? Sorry Honey, you can’t learn Latin or memorize and dramatize sections of Beowulf in fourth grade because there are kids out there whose parents don’t have the same educational goals we have for you.
No. No, no, no, and no.
We all make the best choices we can for our kids. For some parents that’s private school. For others it’s homeschooling. Some people are happy with their public or charter schools. And I guess if you really think it’s important for your kids to get drunk under the bleachers, you’ll pick a school like the one this chick went to. But I’m pretty sure that’s not an either/or proposition. Kids at private schools do boneheaded things too -- so it would be nice if they actually learned something while in class.
But I guess I’m just a terrible person.
Do you think parents that send their kids to private school are bad people?
Image via Jenny Erikson