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Why One Woman Says Sending Your Kid To Private School Is Evil 1255

theodp writes "Slate's Allison Benedikt is ruffling some feathers with her recent manifesto, If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person. 'Not bad like murderer bad,' Benedikt writes, '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.' If your local school stinks and you send your child there, Benedikt explains, 'I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.'"
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Why One Woman Says Sending Your Kid To Private School Is Evil

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  • by atari2600a ( 1892574 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @06:44PM (#44733535)
    Sounds like an really cool place.
    • by Mitchell314 ( 1576581 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @06:51PM (#44733599)
      Just enrolled there myself. I'm taking Lair Design 140, Manic Laughter 210, Hero Killing 112, and Physical Education 100.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:07PM (#44733735)

        Hero Killing 112

        I took that class and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone having any interest in executing heroes. They teach you everything about constructing high tech execution machines, but when I asked the teacher why a bullet to the head wouldn't be more time and cost effective I got shouted at.

        • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:33PM (#44733917) Homepage Journal

          Hero Killing 112

          I took that class and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone having any interest in executing heroes. They teach you everything about constructing high tech execution machines, but when I asked the teacher why a bullet to the head wouldn't be more time and cost effective I got shouted at.

          The worst bit is having to memorize your entire evil plot so you can soliloquize in front of the hero, while you think you have him/her utterly at your mercy, so they can then make an improbably escape and foil your plot.

          But then, it can't be all milk and cookies at the hero academy, having to practice your improbable escapes and practice remembering entire evil plots, so you don't leave anything important out while foiling them. Nothing more embarrassing than finding that female reporter rotting away in a dungeon cell several weeks later, when all you had to do was rip the door off its hinges.

      • by terrab0t ( 559047 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @08:27PM (#44734331)

        They had better cover Peter's Evil Overlord List [] or your career is as doomed as all that came before it.

  • by Mt._Honkey ( 514673 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @06:48PM (#44733555)
    First lines of 2nd paragraph:

    I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve.

    Thanks for telling me up front that you don't know what you're talking about so I got to save time by not reading the rest.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @06:50PM (#44733581)

    where most schools are private, and the public ones are more prestigious than the private ones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @06:52PM (#44733607)

    Why send your kids to school at all?

    I bet if you sent your kids to the ghetto, you'd do everything you could to improve it!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @06:58PM (#44733657)

    I really hate people that tell me I'm a bad person because I do what I think is best for my kids. They still get my taxes to pay for public education so why the hell should I be a bad person for sending my kids to a better school?

    She's just another damned collectivist who thinks that they should have the right to control another aspect of my life.

    • by jamesh ( 87723 )

      I really hate people that tell me I'm a bad person because I do what I think is best for my kids. They still get my taxes to pay for public education so why the hell should I be a bad person for sending my kids to a better school?

      She's just another damned collectivist who thinks that they should have the right to control another aspect of my life.

      (disclaimer - my kids go to a catholic school)

      It depends on how the funding is set up. In Australia, the states fund the public schools, and the federal government provides a small amount (compared to state government) funding to all schools, but does provide more funding to private than public schools. This leads to the situation where the anti-private school claim "the government is giving more money to private schools!", which is a complete misrepresentation of the truth but comes up over and over again.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:35PM (#44733923)

      You (and everyone else) are missing the point. The point is, if "good" parents are disinvested in the public school system, they will not strive to make it better. Public education will keep getting worse because the people who can make the biggest difference lack the incentives to do so.

    • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @11:51PM (#44735627)
      Personally I think Any person that willingly sacrifices their child's future simply to help out the public system IS the bad person. Your child and family should always come first, I am all for improving the public system, but it is NEVER going to be at the expense of my child.
  • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @06:59PM (#44733669)

    Bill Gates []: " If they [my children] had to go to a general inner-city school, I would do anything I could to avoid that being the case, because as a parent, I particularly see the potential in my kids that that wouldn't unleash," Gates said.

    President Obama []: President Obama reopened Monday what is often a sore subject in Washington, saying that his daughters could not obtain from D.C. public schools the academic experience they receive at the private Sidwell Friends School.

    Matt Damon []: Damon told the Guardian there were no longer public schools progressive enough for his family so private was the only choice in their new home of Los Angeles.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:28PM (#44733891)

      I dont coment often but i had to do it this time.

      Isnt it a tragedy if our public education system is not good enough to make sure your kids get a education that is good enough for them to actually pursue their goal. I mean most families doesnt have the luxury to pay alot of extra money for their kids to go to private schools.

      I think its a serious problem for the future when important personalities like Matt Damon, Bill Gates, and the american president says that public shools wont give their own offspring the skillssets needed to progress in the american society. This means essentially that for +80% of the population the "american dream" is stone dead. All the big paid jobs/popular jobs will be reserved to the rich minority who are lucky enough to be born into a rich family, that can afford private schools for their children. The rest of the population will be left in the dust, fighting for the scraps.
      I really dont see how a country can keep up the stability and prosperity with that policy and mindset from the people we see at the top of our society today.

  • by snookerdoodle ( 123851 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:01PM (#44733683)

    Sadly (and really only generally speaking - there are exceptions), private schools' quality is driven by market forces whereas public school policies are driven by politics. School officials obtain and maintain decision making positions and power by there connections. There is little to nothing even a group of parents can do to address this. When they do, it gets taken away.

    For example, in my city, parents organize "booster clubs" to raise money for their local schools and improve the quality. But parents in poorer sections of the city are often genuinely unable to do this. For example, they have a disproportionate number of families with a single parent who barely makes ends meet and works too many hours to have time to invest in a booster club. Since this is unfair, the school system is working to take money from the booster clubs to distribute to the poorer areas. So, the parents have the incentive removed and, disheartened, give up. The school system has decided, essentially, "If those schools are going to fail, it's only fair that all schools fail."

    The parents can't do anything to fix their public school, so the ones who can afford it take their kids out and put them in private schools. Ms. Benedikt is correct that there are Bad Persons at play. She is dead wrong about who those Bad Persons are.

  • Next (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:32PM (#44733911) Journal

    Yes, those who doubt massive, growing, and all-encompassing government, and don't wish to be pwned by it, are morally suspect.

    Dictators throughout history could not be more pleased useful idiots are trying to build this meme.

  • This is irrational. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:36PM (#44733945)

    You cannot say on the one hand that we can't have control over our public schools and then on the other hand that we have to be sent to them.

    And yes, we've tried to reform our public schools but they won't let us do it.

    How hard is it to fire a pedophile teacher? Nearly impossible. How hard is it to fire a bad teacher? How hard is it to put in hiring standards for teachers?

    We've tried to put this in place for decades and the schools, teacher's unions, and politicians have stopped us. So fine. You don't want us to have any control over these schools. Mission accomplished. But why would I feel morally compelled to stay in the system if you're made every effort to systematically marginalize me?

    You cannot have both. Either you let me have influence over the system... and I will change it so that I find it acceptable... OR you do not get me in the system.

    Choose. Effectively, either the teacher's unions need to get neutered or you can expect intelligent parents to choose other schools when public alternatives are unacceptable. We are not sacrificing our children on the alter of your corruption and incompetence.

  • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:39PM (#44733961)

    There are no private schools in Finland. Turns out, when you make the kids of the rich and powerful go to the same schools as everybody else, those schools turn out to be decent. Here's an article on how Finland outperforms the USA in education [].

    • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @07:53PM (#44734059) Journal
      The question is not if you can outperform in average education levels. The question is whether those who benefit the most from education get the best education. All countries have average students who forget everything they ever learned in school. But it is those who remember what they learned and who go on to advance the world that benefit the most from the education. The extensive schooling exists to give them a chance to progress. It's not about the money. Private schools admit quite a few talented students who go there for free. In fact, the rich who pay for private schools pay for the clout of rubbing shoulders with the talented poor (I am oversimplifying the dynamics of it, but not by much).
    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @10:17PM (#44735047) Homepage

      Assuming you haven't already had a collapse and all the people who could and care have abandoned ship, who'd be far more likely to move than return to public school. I went to public school here in Norway and it was a somewhat mixed bag but the bright and average managed to keep a decent learning environment despite the disruptive and indifferent students, one year (8th grade, I think) they redivided the classes to split up a disruptive bunch across three classes and it helped keep a decent environment in all three. If they'd done the opposite and kept all the gifted together and all the disruptive together the last one would become a total hellhole that'd be sure to drag everyone in that class down with them. Nobody's going to send their kid into such a class as a "rescue" operation, once such a critical mass is created it only expands.

      We've seen this with the distribution of minority students here, once the "minority" percentage of a school district reaches 60-70% the remaining natives abandon ship and a few years later it's at 90%-100%. Nothing wrong with minorities and getting to know other cultures but when you're raising a kid in Norway I'd like the primary cultural influence to be Norwegian. As a result you have many children in minority schools that grow up with hardly any contact with the rest and a lot of multiculturalists wants us to become better integrated but hardly anyone wants to send their kid to be the missionary. Instead of mingling it's more like a ghetto with border regions that keep moving.

  • by cpct0 ( 558171 ) <slashdot.micheldonais@com> on Sunday September 01, 2013 @08:17PM (#44734247) Homepage Journal

    It's the parent's prerogative to send their children wherever they see fit. It's also the parent's prerogative to prepare their children the best they can for "real life". Some parents are well equipped to actually fully participate in their children's environment, try to make it better, implicate themselves, do activities, vote, give time, money, opportunities and trying to make the school a genuine good place for their children to be.

    Not everyone is able to do that. My parents were able to do that. They were able to actually send me to alternative (and public) school, to participate fully in the school's life, always be there for me. It was a hard choice for them, not only needing to drive me an hour every day, then go to work, but also participate many nights and even some days to school life. Even for them, they eventually gave up one such school, and went to another one because it was plainly too demanding. So I wouldn't expect everyone to give the dedication to bring their prized school up to par to their expectations. Some parents are just able to pay up, are not able to speak or talk adequately, or they don't have time to dedicate themselves to such hard work, and we have to respect that. Alas, today in this world where parents are paying premium and expecting their young bastard children (exaggeration intended here) to do well, and screaming to the teacher (instead of screaming at your own children) whenever they don't have straight As is the norm, I expect the school system to remain crooked.

    In the end, people are voting with their attendance. If your school system is bad enough to fear for lives just by attending, I'd expect people to try to move away from these places. There's preparing for real life and there's plain madness... and I'm truly sorry for the dedicated teachers giving their lives and soul for these schools; my mom is such a teacher (nearing her last working years now), giving her life to people with learning disabilities (or missed opportunities); her and many fellow teachers are giving what they can, but sometimes, it's not enough to convince parents.

    On my side, I actually moved to a place where active outdoor life is adequate, near good quality schools (not the best - but in the >75%), and I plan my children to have a good chance in life, using neighbourhood friends, public school system, dedication, caring and be with my (future) children for anything they might need. That's where I decided to give my money, that's where my vote is going, even if I have to take the train and public transportation 3hr every single work day.

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @10:44PM (#44735229)

    There is one major flaw with her logic. People who send their kids to private schools still pay taxes that support the public schools. By not sending their child to the public school, there is actually more revenue per student enrolled in the public school, unless the state legislature does something like reappropriate it elsewhere (which would make them evil, but again, they are politicians).

    So, if people pay for the public schools but don't cause an increase in the variable cost of running the public schools because their kids are in a private school, that is evil how?

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson