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

samzenpus posted 1 year,19 days | from the price-of-a-good-education dept.

Education 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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Oh, really? (2, Insightful)

reboot246 (623534) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733531)

I say that sending your child to public school is akin to child abuse.

Re:Oh, really? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733613)

Oy vey, you're real bad goy...

If you don't send your child to our public Marxist indoctrination camps... I mean public schools... then you will be getting a knock on your door by the DHS! Don't you goyim know it's for your own good!

Re:Oh, really? (5, Insightful)

tylikcat (1578365) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733689)

I had to go to a private school to get (neo) Marxist indoctrination. It was pretty great ;-) (for one year. Between dropping out of college - I was 13, and got into a fight with my program administration - and going back for lack of other reasonable options.)

Public school... well, one of the lines that annoyed me the most is about how your gifted child will be fine. For some kids, yes. Or maybe your district has a decent gifted program. But for many children gifted education is a type of special needs education, and keeping them in a standard setting is not only cruel, it's likely to turn them into angry disaffected hackers who get lousy grades and blow things up for kicks.*

Er, not that I'd know from first hand experience or anything.

Gods, when people say that your teens are the best years of your life...

* Oh, wait, technically that was the gifted program, right before they decided I needed to try college.

Re:Oh, really? (1)

aitikin (909209) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733993)

..for many children gifted education is a type of special needs education, and keeping them in a standard setting is not only cruel, it's likely to turn them into angry disaffected hackers...

Jeremy Hammond?

Re:Oh, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733729)

"public Marxist indoctrination camps" Marxist is the catch all indoctrination phrase used by fascists (if you can use 'Marxist' I can go there)

Re:Oh, really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733869)

Marxists == fascists, no real difference.

Re:Oh, really? (1, Offtopic)

superwiz (655733) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733991)

sure there is. marxist = socialism + internationalism. fascism = socialism + racial superiority complex.

Re:Oh, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44734001)

Marxists =/= fascists BIG difference... So basically the NAZI's and the Soviets were allies, you know.. shared a common ideology. Keep breathing in those neo-conservative fumes..

Re:Oh, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733925)

I want /pol/ to leave.

Re:Oh, really? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733641)

I sent my kids to public school, they got a great education, certainly wasn't child abuse - perhaps you could be more specific, something like "sending your child to AMERICAN public school is akin to child abuse".

Re:Oh, really? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733803)

> perhaps you could be more specific, something like "sending your child to AMERICAN public school is akin to child abuse".

You forgot yourself. This is the internet, made by Americans, for Americans and used only by Americans. Anyone claiming to be from anywhere else is just a commie scam and can safety be ignored.

Re:Oh, really? (0)

hackwrench (573697) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733943)

I think you spelled Norwegian wrong, or was it Nigerian... well it's gotta be some place in America, because as you say, anyone claiming to be from anywhere else is just a scam and can safely be ignored... hmm, come to think of it, I don't think commie's a place.

Re:Oh, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733797)

I say feeding the trolls is bad, even if the slashdot article is not tagged as "troll" you should spot it as such.

In Depth Fisking for the time crunched: (3, Interesting)

Hanzie (16075) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733809)

Larry Correia (multi NYT bestselling author of Monster Hunter International) did a point by point slam on this article:

Fisking Slate over Public Schools []

Naked link to same article: []

The woman who wrote the slate article is married with 3 kids in New York. Strangely, last year she wrote in Slate about how happy she will be to stop paying $5000/month on private preschools.

Re:Oh, really? (5, Insightful)

Peristaltic (650487) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733877)

The school we’re zoned to is not just tough, it’s dangerous- Most teachers don’t try to teach; if they prevent major crimes from occurring, they've had a good day. The stories that come out of that place are gut-wrenching; the kids there aren't being prepared for squat. I've busted my ass and sacrificed a lot to send my son to a private school as a result.

What little good that could come of us participating in the local public school would pale in comparison to the harm it has the potential of doing to my son- not only to his well being day-to-day, but to his chances of success afterwards as well. I'm not sacrificing my son's future on account of Allison's idealist prattle. From what I've seen, not many of the our local public school system's participants: teachers, parents (especially the parents), or the students give a rat's ass about making their school system any better.

I attended a very tough school while growing up, and learned more about avoiding having my ass kicked than anything else that I needed for college- as a result, it took two tries and 6 years to finish my first degree- my first two years were spent learning what I should have learned in high school.

Allison Benedikt has her opinion of me, and I have my opinion of her. My son is my responsibility until he's grown; if his young life is made difficult by starting out with a rotten education, I can't see Allison getting very worked up about it... I mean, it's no skin off of her ass, is it. Allison can go fuck herself.

Re:Oh, really? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733999)

So despite your massive defensive rant you never thought about why your public school is so bad. It's so bad because all the kids with parents that give a crap about education aren't there and only the kids without those values are left. Allison is right. If all those kids were still in public school the school would be better excuse the parents would be there to support the school and the kids in it. You sending your kid to public school won't be great, but if everyone did it would help a lot.

Re:Oh, really? (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733883)

I say that sending your child to public school is akin to child abuse.

Not supporting Public Schools is Child Abuse on a Mass scale.

The worst thing that has happened to Public Schools in America is they have become a political weapon used by one party against another. Rather than improve the schools, we keep getting assholes who call themselves Education Candidates -- in a way, they are up front, they're going to teach you how not to run your schools.

While public school systems in many countries are great successes, the American public school has become a target of derision, blame and shame. Not quite lofty goals, not what they could be.

I do believe teachers should be held to account, but so should parents. I had good parents and I attended excellent public schools, which received the full support of the community. It should be that good everywhere, then private schools would be the joke.

US Public schools: reform (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733979)

I REALLY think we in the US should have a hard look at Finland's [] education system - #1 in the World.

And we need to get away from this "school is to educate workers" mentality that American business sneaked into our collective conscious.

Our education system was for having an educated electorate - not for free training for Wal-Mart and McDonald's.

That mentality has to change and we need to basically tell American business that if they want trained workers, THEY need to do it themselves and stop passing their costs onto the public.

They bitch and moan about taxes and then bitch and moan about the education of the populace - American business has the this horrible case of entitlement and have the nerve to put the blame on the average citizen when THEY have the power to change things.

Private School Evil? (4, Funny)

atari2600a (1892574) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733535)

Sounds like an really cool place.

Re:Private School Evil? (5, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733599)

Just enrolled there myself. I'm taking Lair Design 140, Manic Laughter 210, Hero Killing 112, and Physical Education 100.

Re:Private School Evil? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#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.

Re:Private School Evil? (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733917)

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.

If I... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733537)

If I give money to a private school I am positive that they will do everything in their power to use the money wisely.

Re:If I... (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733569)

That is a very poor assumption. Lots of private organizations use money unwisely, even to the point of committing outright fraud.

Re:If I... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733619)

As opposed to *all* public government bodies using money unwisely, virtually universally to the point of committing outright fraud.

I guess you've never been near actual government. Let me assure you that "outright fraud" is generally considered good, and the punishments are for getting caught.

Yes I know you won't believe me :)

Re:If I... (2, Interesting)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733885)

Personally I think social security is fraud. My dad paid a ton of money into social security, literally maxing out the benefits for 30 years in a row, and he only started collecting SSI just a few months due to back pain from all of those years of being an auto mechanic (they wouldn't give him disability, so he only collected about $700 a month.) He died just a day before the next check would have come. I tried to get at least a partial payment so that I could give it to my mom to pay her mortgage, and the asshole on the other end of the line told me how SSI is welfare and he had to live the whole month to get anything at all.

What a fucking joke. The whole thing is setup with the promise that you pay into it and you're taken care of should any problems come down, so how is collecting on that promise welfare? He paid I'm guessing close to a hundred thousand dollars into it over his lifetime (he made quite a lot as a mechanic because he was pretty damn good at what he did) and they won't even give his widow a single $700 check.

Fraud is defined as being deceptive, which is exactly what social security is. It's a Ponzi scheme that you are forced by law to "invest" into. I honestly can't wait until the whole thing collapses, which is exactly what it is going to end up doing soon.

Sure we've all been screwed over by private entities/individuals plenty of times, but almost none of us have been ripped off and outright scammed as bad as social security is doing to us right now.

Re:If I... (2)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733629)

and governments never would use money unswisely!!! and fraud? you'd have to be joking!!!

Re:If I... (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733713)

Given the known circumstances (ie: public schools are *known* for money misuse), it's a better assumption than it looks like on the surface. True, the assumption they *won't* misuse the money is a little honey-flavored, but one frequently views the unknown optimistically when the known is so grim.

"Lots" is such a scary, unsupported "number", isn't it?

Your primary duty.... (4, Insightful)

claykarmel (78187) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733887)

Your primary duty is to your child. I promise you, responsible parents agonize about the best options for their children. Sometimes private, sometimes public.

We started private and then left. The early years at private were probably worthwhile. I tell myself that. They were expensive.

But we've been delighted with the quality of our public schools. They operate from one third the budget of the private school (per pupil). The buildings and landscaping are dramatically tougher, but we're happy with the change. The teachers have been high quality, highly dedicated to the job and responsive to us. My kids are engaged and enjoy their schools.

You have essentially no control over the private school or the public school. In both cases, you will monitor your kids' work, talk regularly to their teachers, meet their friends and their friends' parents. Your recourse in both cases is to find a different school.

No one should demonize a parent for trying to do the best they can for their child. Your first duty is to your child. Social welfare and activism should come after family.

Re:If I... (4, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733671)

That's a terrible assumption. First of all, private organizations use money unwisely all the time. It's just that no one makes a big deal about it because "well, it's their own money, they can waste it if they want." They aren't actually any better than public organizations.

Secondly, most schools don't actually waste money. The schools you see spending shitloads of money on fancy laptops for students or things like that are almost always in rich neighborhoods which are swimming in money. They've covered all their necessary expenses (i.e. enough desks for everyone, plenty of textbooks, etc.) but they have money left over, so they spend it on luxuries. Nothing wrong with that. When a school does this and isn't in a wealthy neighborhood, you'll find that the expenses were covered by a private donation. In this case, someone donates money to the school and states that the money may ONLY be used to purchase fancy equipment. The school couldn't use the money on textbooks or school renovations even if they wanted to.

Re:If I... (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733741)

First of all, private organizations use money unwisely all the time.

Yes, but when they do, you can take your money elsewhere. For example, if I were to find out that my daughter's private school was wasting money, I'd pull her out and send her to a different school. However, if I find out that my daughter's public school is wasting money, THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO because I have to send her there or I go to jail, CPS takes my daughter away and sends her to the school anyway.

Love the sig, by the way.

Re:If I... (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733781)

You can vote for a new school board. Volunteer to help their election campaign. Or run for election yourself. You actually have MORE voice there than with a private school, where losing 1 customer is quite frankly not a big deal.

Re:If I... (2)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733833)

You can vote for a new school board. Volunteer to help their election campaign. Or run for election yourself. You actually have MORE voice there than with a private school, where losing 1 customer is quite frankly not a big deal.

One customer is a bigger deal than one taxpayer. The former can stop paying. Money speaks louder than words do.

Re:If I... (2, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733837)

You can vote for a new school board. Volunteer to help their election campaign. Or run for election yourself. You actually have MORE voice there than with a private school, where losing 1 customer is quite frankly not a big deal.

Well, considering that the last school board election was decided by more than one vote, my voting would have made no difference. Sure, I could run myself, but I'd be running against some academia type who has the backing of the teacher's union, which make up the bulk of the school board voters anyway, because he/she won't make the teachers accountable. (I support vouchers and would never get elected) And even if I could start a campaign to elect school board members who would make schools and teachers accountable, how many years would my child have to go to a sub-standard school while my campaign gains traction, gets the right people elected, and positive changes can be proposed, approved and implemented?

Or, I can send my daughter to the school that I choose today, knowing that she'll have an incredible advantage over all those poor minority kids with parents that can't afford to send their kids to private school.

Re:If I... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733733)

The private schools I encounter actually have a good budget for school.

The public school district where I am? Lots of middle administrators drawing big salaries for doing nothing, teachers getting paid absolute shit (college town, so they are viewed as fungible), and just a general black hole where local taxes keep going up, but schools are still unable to serve all the kids a hot lunch in the time provided.

Call me selfish, but my kids are in a private school because the public schools will do nothing but hurt him. Yes, in theory i should advocate public school reform, but I'm not going to sacrifice my kids to that maw.

To boot where I live, the public schools will hand the kid over to the police for any infraction which got in-school-suspension (passing notes, talking out of turn.) I do not want to have my kid have an adult criminal record (all crimes on public school property are treated as adult offenses, not juvi in the state I live), so for my kid's sake, they are going to a place where they can learn, not be in fear of being one quip from going to jail.

I would almost push for vouchers, but what we will see is some private corporation taking over, and we will have the same shitty schools except out of the hands of any government control.

Good goyim (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733545)

Send your children to public schools, or it's like another holocaust!

She Needs More Schooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733547)

Why One Woman Says Sending Your Kid To Private School Evil

Maybe she needs to learn that "is" belongs between "School" and "Evil".

Like the President does? (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733551)

Really? Some statements are just too stupid to be taken seriously

Why read past the second paragraph? (5, Insightful)

Mt._Honkey (514673) | 1 year,19 days | (#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.

Re:Why read past the second paragraph? (2)

chill (34294) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733593)

Speed Reading 101. If the author admits right up front they are clueless, your average rate of finishing articles goes through the roof.

Re: Why read past the second paragraph? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733769)

I stopped reading at "Slate".

Re:Why read past the second paragraph? (2)

roninmagus (721889) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733865)

Doesn't matter; your downloading the page likely caused multiple ad impressions to register, supporting the author and publisher.

Re:Why read past the second paragraph? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733907)

Thanks for being the fine example of a judgemental asshole.

Re:Why read past the second paragraph? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733995)

Thanks for being the fine example of a judgemental asshole.

Get your articles right, mister. That should be "a fine example" unless you are claiming that parent is "the fine example" as in "the ultimate of fine examples". Clearly you are the product of public schools.

Larry Correia wrote an interesting refutation (1, Interesting)

qbzzt (11136) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733561)

Re:Larry Correia wrote an interesting refutation (4, Interesting)

hibiki_r (649814) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733761)

I'd not call it interesting: It's mostly name calling and a bunch of strawmen.

Now, I do not think that sending a kid to a private school is in any way evil, but I'd much rather see a proper refutation, instead of just answering crap with crap. I mean, I'd understand sinking to crappy dialectic if the original point was actually difficult to refute, but why not use proper logic to refute an argument as full of holes as that one? If anything, a refutation that bad gives credence to the original article,and makes me think this guy is right in the same sense that a broken clock is right twice a day.

I've seen better refutations in the slashdot comments.

Re:Larry Correia wrote an interesting refutation (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733785)

He's just as hyperbole-ridden and stereotype-infested as she is.

It's only a "refutation" in the sense that he attacks her repeatedly for being liberal, and occasionally bothers to point out how mind-numbingly stupid some of her bullet points are. They both come across as rather childish and simplistic in their world views.

Re:Larry Correia wrote an interesting refutation (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733793)

kind of cute, but ultimately rather dumb. no offense, if you're the author.

Also discussed on Popehat (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733889)

There's also a discussion of this at Popehat [] .

If government education is the answer (1)

Kohath (38547) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733571)

then your local government school doesn't stink. They must all be good -- or at least adequate.

Re: If government education is the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733655)

No, but people with the means will buy a home in a decent school district -- like I did.

well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733573)

based on these first comments this is going to be one stupid ass thread...

Stupid mom is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733577)

What is this doing on slashdot? Just sounds like a pissed off soccor mom who can't afford to send her kid to a private school.

You'll understand once you've reproduced. (0)

Oligonicella (659917) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733775)

Well, some tiny percentage of us on SlashDot have interfaced with the opposite sex and had chlldren. Therefore, to those of us with exo-basement life experience, it is of interest when the **Managing Editor** of Slates' Double X sees fit to libel private schooling parents.

She effectively owns a forum and now we are expressing our push back in ours.

not applicable in Hong Kong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733581)

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

no (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733591)

If my kid would have a better life going to a private school and that was feasible, guess what wold be happening.

Screw you and your latest batch of "do this for the greater good." Greater good arguments can be applied to taxes, not to setting your kids back for life.

I like her logic! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#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!

Does it really Need To be Said? (-1, Troll)

sycodon (149926) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733621)

Sidwell Friends School []

Nonsense (2)

santosh.k83 (2442182) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733623)

States are fictitious entities, and what exists in reality are individuals. There exists a need to make both private and public institutions as good as possible, and that can only come about through honesty on everyone's part. One example would be private schools that are affordable and do not set unrealistic entry standards to intentionally keep out what the management perceive as unsavoury segments of society. And on the other hand public schools should also improve their standards and not merely serve as a last resort for the lowest segments. Altruism is needed to some extent whether in public or private life. Otherwise we get evil/incompetent corporations and evil/incompetent governments and there's not a whole lot of difference between the two.

Re:Nonsense (0)

ArcherB (796902) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733771)

States are fictitious entities, and what exists in reality are individuals

Right! And half of those individuals have below average intelligence. I'll trust myself more than I trust those individuals, thank you.

Re:Nonsense (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733937)

States are indeed real, theiy're a specific kind of collective. You're just saying (and I agree) that they are not homogenous collectives.

"One example would be private schools that are affordable and do not set unrealistic entry standards to intentionally keep out what the management perceive as unsavoury segments of society. "
That's called public school. If you don't want to attend and will be disruptive, a private school is not the place for you. It's usually in the charter and agreement you sign along with all the other parents. You realize precluding the non-cooperative is precluding the unsavory, correct?
If you're under the impression that private schools are viewing race as unsavory, you need to read some statistics on enrollment and do some economic pondering. A tuition from a cooperative student is a tuition in the bank and parents of all races would prefer their kids' education not be disrupted by those who would do so.

As for altruism, it is used for just as much evil and incompetence by organizations of all stripes as any other motivation. Motivations and results are two ends of the pole and you cannot tell from motivation what the results will be.

Change the System (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733631)

In Minnesota, money comes from cities to pay for schools. The quality of the education in the schools is mainly based on who pays the most property taxes. If I live in a crummy neighborhood, I wouldn't want to send my kids to the local school. Why not make the schools funded by states instead of cities? That would be a better way to improve the quality of schools. You're not going to make the school better by sending your kid there. You probably have a full-time job and don't have time to have a large impact on the system.

Re:Change the System (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733703)

Because that would be "socialist" and not the american way?

Plan ahead (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733635)

When I bought my current home I chose the school district I wanted my child to attend before I started shopping for a house. If I lived 3 blocks further north my kid would be in a school district which is perennially underfunded. Sure, home prices are 10% lower and taxes also a bit lower but graduation rates and college admission levels are also much lower. Even now with a much different employment situation I would not consider moving even though my commute 5 times longer.

Re:Plan ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733715)

Absolutely. I bought a house in a known good school district - a smaller district with solid K-12 performance. College-sized high schools? No thanks. Inner city schools? No thanks. Location, location, location. And next year, my work is moving to a location that is 30% *closer* to my house (reducing my dreadful 15 minute commute down to 10 minutes). Oh the huge manatee...

what a lame article (0)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733643)

why is this even posted to Slashdot?

Competition (2, Insightful)

Livius (318358) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733647)

The fundamental issue is not private versus public.

But if you have only one school system, then it's a monopoly, and the lack of competition leads to bad schooling.

Of course there are good teachers in a public system, same as they are bad ones. But a monopoly guarantees that the system will be bad.

Re:Competition (2)

hibiki_r (649814) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733839)

It doesn't guarantee the system will be bad, but it makes improving it drastically harder than a market system: You can always get involved in local politics, and make sure your local board of education is actually on the ball. Not every school district in the US is bad. It just happens that, at the very least, we need options in case the only choices are a bad school district and moving.

Now. I am personally not very concerned about how bad most US schools are because we are getting pretty close to a major change in how education is done. There's this thing called the internet, and I hear that it's a great way of transmitting knowledge. It might not be ideal for every subject (I don't think it's the best way of grading papers, for instance), but it seems amazing for areas where student learning speed is all over the place, like math and reading. Just check the difference in performance between a preeschooler that had access to starfall at home, and one that has no special stimulation.

In my lifetime, kids will learn at their pace, and school's main focus will be the social aspects.

Re:Competition (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733873)

not true - look at public school systems in other countries. We need incentives to attract good teachers (ie higher salaries) and many other things

Another damned collectivist (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#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.

Re:Another damned collectivist (2)

jamesh (87723) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733867)

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.

So having kids in private schools leaves more money for state schools, in Australia at least (same amount of tax payers, but less with kids using state funds). The only real downside to this is that the rich get some choice in the manner in which their kids are educated, while the poor are stuck with the state school system. Our state school system is pretty good though, for the average kid with no learning problems.

There was a situation a while back where a catholic (eg private) school required a completely new toilet block and asked the government to help. The government said no, so the catholic school started to move towards closing down. The government, having realised that having to add a heap of kids to the public school system was going to cost them a fortune, changed their mind and provided assistance.

If the funding of public vs private schools is set up differently in the US then obviously your results may vary

Re:Another damned collectivist (1)

demonlapin (527802) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733989)

There are charter schools, which are publicly funded schools that function more like private schools. They are not required to take all applicants but IIRC cannot pick and choose - they have lotteries for open spaces. Then there are voucher programs, where the state agrees to provide $X per student in funding regardless of where the child attends school. But the majority of public schools in the US are run by the county or municipality and funded by the state and the locality, and the majority of private schools are just that: private institutions that admit whoever they please and charge tuition for their funding.

Re:Another damned collectivist (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733903)

I don't agree with her either although I think there is a point to her argument.

However I suspect the biggest issue is lack of competition (different schooling options to fit different kids needs) and area / environment (poor and undereducated areas will have less well educated students due to lack of parental involvement regardless of if the parent(s) want to be involved, working 2 jobs will kill any possibility of parental involvement, etc and also more crime due to inattention to peoples needs which results in more suffering and crime, which in turn distracts from learning). e

So what it comes down to is:

1. fix the poverty problem
        a. ensure all persons are fed, housed, in good health, and entertained
        b. provide advancement opportunities for all (ie gifted programs at school, parents, people of working age, etc )
2. decent paying jobs
3. educational environments to suite individual students needs
4. limit the number of work hours (an overworked parent can't parent)
5. additional educational instruction to those who need it

Re:Another damned collectivist (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#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.

Gates, Obama, Damon on Opting Out of P.S. (4, Informative)

theodp (442580) | 1 year,19 days | (#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.

Re:Gates, Obama, Damon on Opting Out of P.S. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#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.

Re:Gates, Obama, Damon on Opting Out of P.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733975)

The american dream is a lie...

The occasional emergence of an Equilateral from the ranks of his serf-born ancestors is welcomed, not only by the poor serfs themselves, as a gleam of light and hope shed upon the monotonous squalor of their existence, but also by the Aristocracy at large; or all the higher classes are well aware that these rare phenomena, while they do little or nothing to vulgarize their own privileges, serve as a most useful barrier against a revolution below.

Politics vs Market Forces (4, Insightful)

snookerdoodle (123851) | 1 year,19 days | (#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.

Sorry, I don't think so... (0)

Type44Q (1233630) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733695)

but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation's-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what's-best-for-your-kid bad

This is a case of trying to shut the stable door after the Federal Government already ass-fucked the horse, gave it syphilis and is now in the process of strangling it (i.e. "No Child Allowed Ahead"). :p

Public School Education... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733707)

...this woman is obviously a product of it!

Public School Benefit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733723)

If you send your child to private school, you still have to pay property tax and you aren't getting any benefit from the public school. You are increasing the resources per child in public school if you send your child to private school.

Obama's kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733747)

And Clinton. Not Amy Carter


Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733751)

She thought that the fall of the Soviet Union was the worst tragedy of the twentieth century. Yet another government worshiping college graduate.

Zero Credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733755)

Her premise is if everyone were more "invested" and more involved, schools would a couple generations. According to the Concul for American Private Education (CAPE) and the National Center for Education Statistics, private school K-12 enrollment is about 10% of the total. So 90% of students are already going to private school. Even parental annual income $75K or more, it only goes up to 12%.

So since 90% of people are not adequately "invested" in public education now, what reason is there to believe the extra 10% will make any significant difference?

But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve.

This makes zero sense. Without private schools to use as a yardstick, what does public education have to compete with? When private schools can produce better results with lower cost per student it at least gives public schools something to strive toward and maybe produces a model that could be emulated.

She also says sending your kid to private school because your own school district is crappy is not a compelling reason. Here logic? If the parents are smart, the kid will do fine. She personally got a crappy education and is doing just fine writing for Slate.....I beg to disagree.

dem is real nice kix (-1, Offtopic)

gelfling (6534) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733763)

gib dem to me or I cut you nigga.

"You'll do everything in your power..." (1)

Chas (5144) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733765)

And it still won't help under the sheer inertia of the entrenched system.

My grade school district was a fucking joke. There were some decent teachers, but the majority of them were misanthopic whack-jobs, including the school principal.

My mom did everything in her power to change the system. It didn't help.

So, if you're a parent who has the chance to:

A: Make your kid suffer because you were stupid enough to send him to a shitty public school because you thought you could actually change something.
B: Send them to a private school that'll fit themselves to your kid's educational needs and will foster learning in a better manner.

Anyone with the cash SHOULD pick option B.

She is not wrong (1, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733779)

Of course, placing the long-term benefit of the community before ones own is something that requires altruism, or for those of simpler spirit "patriotism". The latter is often claimed, but rarely lived.

In America... (2, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733783)

The national motto is "IN GOD WE TRUST"

In reality, since you invented neoliberalism, the Washington Consensus, Ayn Rand and the Chicago School,
it really should be: "BUGGER YOU JACK, I'VE GOT MINE".

Common good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733787)

What is this common good she speaks of?

Woman on Slate Pretty Sure She's Better Than You (0)

Sarusa (104047) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733805)

... would be about half the articles, wouldn't it?

She's just one woman (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733819)

One woman who isn't even prepared to "to-get-what's-best-for-your-kid". I'm pretty sure she won't qualify for parent of the year either.

I think this says it all... (2)

dlingman (1757250) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733823)

"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."

These three sentences pretty much sum up everything you need to know about the article.

Next (4, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733911)

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.

STFU Allison and mind your own business. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733929)

School is a fundamental part of a childs life. If the school district I lived in was awful I wouldn't waste potentially years of my childs life trying to improve it when the chances of me being able to improve it on my own are less than 1%. I might spend their school age trying to improve their public school while they wallowed in it. Even if I did improve it then they would be out or almost out in which case my work did nothing to benefit my child.

So yes, I would send my child to a better school, even if that meant private. See if more parents did this then when schools started losing students in droves it would get changed, and that change would come a lot faster than me just bitching about it. You want change in schools? Then you have to effect their public image and money.

Besides, its not my job to be the parent for every kid in my school district. My job is to provide the best I can FOR MY CHILDREN. My kids are my priority so I worry about them first, myself second, and everyone else in order of importance last.

Sounds like this douche bitch needs to shut her cake hole and worry about her own kids.

Having went to public schools, she is wrong (1)

Guru80 (1579277) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733939)

Many moons ago when I was in high school I attended a slightly less than average school. The parents couldn't care less for the most part when it comes to districts such as that. Most of them graduated high school and that was it and those that went to college either struck out in the work force, didn't graduate or majored in communications or culinary arts (or some other useless major for the vast majority of the people that pursue said subject). Most parents whose children are attending poor school districts are not interested in fixing the system, particularly when it comes to having to pay more taxes to do so which is always the proposed cure. Sure, you get your handful of activist parents who try their best to make a difference but when it comes to actually improving school education and conditions they are faced with the uncaring mass of people who just don't care what you are trying to do.

This is irrational. (4, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | 1 year,19 days | (#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.

Tried that (1)

zippy40 (737906) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733959)

I changed my son to private school this year!! I tried working with the public school he was in. We met with teachers, with the principle, with the 504 councilor. Nothing, I mean NOTHING changed. The public school system is not interested in helping a child that needs help with his reading or spelling skills. Excuses at every turn and no one was willing to help. SO, now he's in private school and building his confidence that he can do the work in his classes.

It's true; Finland outperforms the USA (5, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | 1 year,19 days | (#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 [] .

private school in Arkansas (1)

renegade600 (204461) | 1 year,19 days | (#44733965)

where I live in Arkansas, if you send you kid to a private school, you are considered a racist.

I was abused at Scudder Oaks Private School! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,19 days | (#44733997)

I was abused when I went to Scudder Oaks Private School in California. I hate private schools. As far as I am concerned you are the most Evil of parents if you send your child to a private school. The abuse I was treated I live with everyday. THAT is the most EVIL thing you can do to your child!

One day justice will be served for me until them I live with my scar on the inside.


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