If you send your kids to private school, you are not a bad person.

A friend sent me this:

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/08/private_school_vs_public_school_only_bad_people_send_their_kids_to_private.html

…you can get the gist from the URL, really. And then this:

http://www.businessinsider.com/theres-no-reason-to-think-using-private-schools-makes-you-a-bad-person-2013-8

So I wanted to think about it a little. Clearly I’m on the pro-private-school side, but I’m not anti-public-school. Those of you who have read this blog a lot know that I’m pro-lots-of-different-kinds-of-school.

One of the more common arguments against private school is that it “skims the cream off the top”, so to speak, recruiting the highest-performing students and thus making public schools worse on average. I don’t think that holds any weight. There are high-end private schools, certainly, but there are also very high-end public schools. In fact, private schools don’t like to compare things like SAT scores with public schools in part because there exist such high-end public schools that they blow the private schools out of the water. Between charters (which are public) and magnet schools (also public) and just plain high-powered schools, there are plenty of places where the students could get into private schools, but they don’t, because the public school is academically better.

The article also argues that people who send their kids to private school don’t get involved in fixing public schools. I can see some weight to that. They certainly do get involved in their kids’ private schools, but tend not to have as much stake in the public schools in the short term. The argument has holes, though. The hidden implication is that the people who would, or could, or could afford, to send their kids to private school are the only types to get involved with fixing the local public school. You’re not going to win me over with that sort of argument.

I get that the writer seems to be saying, “Get back in the trenches and help fight the good fight to improve public schools.” I can empathize with that. The way the message is delivered, however, is nothing but polemic. We have better things to be doing than attacking each other over what kind of school we send our kids to.

In fact, I do believe we have an education system to improve. Work towards that at any level and you’re a good person.

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About Colin Fredericks

By day I help to create online courses at HarvardX. By night I write roleplaying games.

Posted on September 6, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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