Parents: The Liberal Case Against Private Education
There's long been a lament among school reformers that all that's needed to make public schools much better is to make school assignments random rather than neighborhood-based and to ban private schools rather than letting parents with means opt out of the system.
In recent weeks, a couple of liberal writers are making somewhat the same points, albeit from a different point of view, arguing that it's fundamentally anti-progressive to homeschool your children or even to send them to private schools.
What do you think about your friends and colleagues who homeschool or choose private schools but still consider themselves liberal? What impact would it have, if any, to have more of those families in the public system, even assuming such a thing be arranged?
Read below for more on the recent articles and what to make of liberals who private school their kids.
For my part, I can't imagine a viable mechanism for mandating any of these things, and I can already hear conservatives and libertarians opting for the opposite solution (taking government out of education and letting everyone make his or her own decisions individually).
But it seems a reasonable proposition to me that public education would be better, over all, if everyone with school-age children was engaged, and that our current system of choice has created and perpetuaded the current extremes of excellence and inequity. The "my children shouldn't have to pay" and "leave my kids out of this" arguments never made great sense to me, especially when uttered by public figures and/or righteous liberals who tend to wag their fingers on other issues.
If liberals enrolled their kids in public schools, my guess is that the quality of the public education system would improve somewhat, bolstered by an influx of accomplished students and affluent parents, even though the educational experience for some of those individual students might be inferior. And, in my view at least, they would be walking the walk rather than just talking the talk.