Monday, November 24, 2008

Voucher Supporters Need Reality Check: Some Private Schools are Just not the Same.

I knew there was an answer. Those who support vouchers and are often making simplistic statements about Barack Obama’s possible choice of a private school for his kids. JOHN M. CRISP, of Scripps News, has the simple answer:

Columnist Cal Thomas commends the Obama’s for resisting potential pressure from teachers unions to place their kids in one of Washington's "miserable" public schools. But he criticizes them for exercising a choice that -- he says -- they're willing to deny to millions of Americans who don't have enough money to send their own kids to private schools … it's very likely that the private schools the Obamas are considering -- at around $28,000 per year -- are far superior to the schools that we require the children of our poorest citizens to attend.

In fact, insisting that someone who doesn't support school choice should send his own children to a public school is to employ the same petulant reasoning that condemns people who support the improvement of public transportation: "If you like buses so much, fine; ride them and leave me alone to drive my S.U.V." To extend the comparison: people who never ride public transportation could just as logically insist that any public money used to subsidize transportation should be distributed as vouchers to all citizens. Similarly, a full-blown voucher system would probably mean the end of our public schools.

But the great failure of our public schools has been our unwillingness to provide quality schools for all students, largely because of the way in which public schools are traditionally funded. To oversimplify only slightly: rich neighborhoods have good schools; poor neighborhoods get by with inadequate ones. As their funding diminishes, public schools would be superseded by a haphazard assortment of private schools arranged hierarchically according to cost and, therefore, largely by quality, race, and class, as well. And that, many still believe, would be a bad thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment