If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person

Allison Benedikt, , Sept 04, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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Here we have point and counterpoint in the education sphere reflecting the debate around private schools. To be clear, I am firmly in the former camp, as expressed by Allison Benedikt in Slate: "You are a bad person if you send your children to private school... Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment." But of course there's always a response, and here it is, courtesy Michael Petrilli in Education Next: "You are a bad person if you send your children to a failing school... Everyone needs to put pressure on our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service pressure, or I-might-pull-my-kid-out pressure, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring pressure." The problem with Petrilli's response (and this is crucial) is that not everyone can send their children to a private school. It's not a choice thing for many (most, even), no matter how much Petrilli depicts it as such. And when send your children to a private school; you're making education measurably worse for people who have no real choice.

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