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Continued: Don't send your kid to private school

  • Article by: ALLISON BENEDIKT , Slate
  • Last update: September 3, 2013 - 12:39 PM

Also remember that there’s more to education than what’s taught. As rotten as my school’s English, history, science, social studies, math, art, music and language programs were, going to school with poor kids and rich kids, black kids and brown kids, smart kids and not-so-smart ones, kids with superconservative Christian parents and other upper-middle-class Jews like me was its own education and life preparation.

Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.

Many of my (morally bankrupt) colleagues send their children to private schools. I asked them to tell me why. Here is the response that most stuck with me: “In our upper-middle-class world, it is hard not to pay for something if you can and you think it will be good for your kid.”

I get it: You want an exceptional arts program and computer animation and maybe even Mandarin. You want a cohesive educational philosophy. You want creativity, not teaching to the test. You want great outdoor space and small classrooms and personal attention.

You know who else wants those things? Everyone.

Whatever you think your children need - deserve - from their school experience, assume that the parents at the nearby public housing complex want the same. No, don’t just assume it. Do something about it.

Send your kids to school with their kids.

Use the energy you have otherwise directed at fighting to get your daughter a slot at the competitive private school to fight for more computers at the public school. Use your connections to power and money and innovation to make your local school - the one you are now sending your child to - better.

Don’t just acknowledge your liberal guilt - listen to it.

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