Is it wrong to send kids to private school?
One writer argues that every parent should invest in the public school system.
Wealthy parents should forgo a private education for their children and instead invest in the public school system. That’s the argument writer Allison Benedikt makes this morning in an article for Slate headlined, "If you send your kid to private school, you are a bad person." Her reasoning is compelling.
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If all parents would send their children to public school, the schools would get better, Benedikt wrote. After all, it’s usually the parents who rise up to make changes to the system, and if more parents supported public education, well, it would get more support. Things would be more likely to change.
“Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract,” the writer argues. “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.”
In short, if parents have an investment in the public school system, they’re probably going to make its improvement a priority.
“There are a lot of reasons why bad people send their kids to private school,” Benedikt wrote. She lists family tradition, religion and prestige as some of the less compelling reasons, but there are admirable reasons, too: a better education, solutions for learning issues, the desire for them to get a decent job.
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She argues that the latter reasons are exactly why everyone should send their kids to public schools: to improve the system for everyone.
“I believe in public education, but my district school really isn’t good! you might say. I understand. You want the best for your child, but your child doesn't need it."
Benedikt writes that if you can afford private school, chances are your child will come from an environment that allows them to overcome “a perfectly crappy public school.”
“She will have support at home (that’s you!) and all the advantages that go along with being a person whose family can pay for and cares about superior education — the exact kind of family that can help your crappy public school become less crappy.”
What do you think of the argument? Are parents who send their children to private schools doing a disservice to the public school system?
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Photo: Carl Keyes/Alamy
If I had to, I'd send my child to public school. I'd make sure I volunteered, knew who my child's friends were, knew what they were learning and who the bullies and troublemakers were. I would also do everything in my power to help my child fit in. Having said that, yes, I believe that a child can get a good education in a public school. I also believe that as a parent, if I can give my child an advantage in her education, I am going to.
Every parent should choose what is in the best interest of their child. (And their finances) and if something about the school troubles them, it needs to be addressed. Parents and teachers need to work together.
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