Salon’s Allison Benedikt wants you to know that if you’re thinking about choosing a private school for your kid you’re a bad person. She states her case unequivocally:
You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murdererbad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.
While sending your kid to a private school means your kid gets a good education, more concerned parents working with public schools would make them better:
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. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.
Benedikt uses herself as an example of someone who went to a crappy school but is now doing just fine. Though she went to a school without AP classes or other rigorous academics, the rich makeup of the student body taught her plenty. Being in a position to afford private school and wanting your child to succeed isn’t a good enough reason to opt out of public education. And if you’re worried about your smart, gifted child? Don’t worry; they’ll be smart enough to figure things out.
The long and short of it is if you’re going to care about your child’s education, do it in a way that benefits lots of children because all parents want the same thing. “Whatever you think your children need—deserve—from their school experience,” she writes, “assume that the parents at the nearby public housing complex want the same.”
Is she right? How did you decide where to send your kid for school?