Have the manifest failures of public education motivated you to enroll your own children in private schools? If so, you are evil, argues Slate editor Allison Benedikt.
In a recent column titled, “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person,” Benedikt passes judgment on all families who feel ill-treated by the American public school system. Everyone who sends their kids to private school–even her own colleagues at Slate–are “morally bankrupt,” she wrote.
The reason? Public schools would be better served if students who could afford better educations were compelled to languish there anyway. This might create more motivation among parents to improve the public system, Benedikt argues.
Of course, it would hurt these children, and might take decades to work, if it worked at all, she admits.
“This would not happen immediately,” she wrote. “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.”
But the eventual common good is neither a compelling enough reason to enroll kids in public schools, nor well-served by doing so, said one education expert.
“The public would be much better off if everyone put their kids in private schools, rather than the other way around,” wrote Joy Pullman, editor of School Reform News, in an email to The Daily Caller.
Public education is twice as expensive as private education, and everyone has to be pay for it, whether or not they use it, said Pullmann.
“Everyone is invested in our public education system, whether we send our kids to public schools or not,” she wrote. “Childless people pay for public education.”
Benedikt’s attempt to shame private schoolers cuts against a rising trend in education reform: school choice. Lawmakers and analysts on all sides of the political spectrum increasingly say that children should have the freedom to spend their own money attending whichever school they believe will serve them best.
Benedikt stopped short of saying that private schools should be banned outright via legislation, although she did link to a Gawker column from last year that made the more extreme argument.
“Make all private schools public schools,” wrote John Cook, a writer for Gawker, in the column.
Cook and Benedikt are married. They do practice what they preach and send their kids to public schools — in Brooklyn, New York. Whether they purposefully send their kids to the very worst public schools in Brooklyn in order to eventually improve them is unknown.
Pullmann hopes they don’t. That would be immoral, she said.
“That’s maternal love right there: Damn the children! Save government education! A real liberal’s battle cry,” wrote Pullmann.