From National Review Online by Michael J. Petrilli:
A manifesto in response to Allison Benedikt's article "If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person":

You are a bad person if you send your children to a failing school (unless you have no choice). Not bad like murderer bad ó but bad like sacrificing-your-childís-future-while-not-actually-doing-anyone-else-any-good bad. So, pretty bad.

I am an education-policy wonk; Iím also judgmental. It seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to the best possible school available, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Some children might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

So, how would this work exactly? Itís simple! Everyone needs to put pressure on our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service pressure, or I-might-pull-my-kid-out pressure, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring pressure. Your local school stinks but you send your child there anyway? Then its badness is just something you object to in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you send your child elsewhere? If enough parents act like you then you are doing everything within your power to make it better.

And parents have a lot of power. In many under-resourced school districts, itís the mass exodus of parents that has finally forced officials to make necessary changes. Everyone out. (By the way: Banning neighborhood schools isnít the answer. We need a moral adjustment, not a legislative one.)

There are a lot of reasons why bad people send their kids to failing schools. Yes, some do it out of laziness or out of loyalty to a longstanding family tradition. Others literally have no choice, as they cannot afford private schools and because teachersí unions have blocked all other routes of escape.

I believe in public education! you might say. I understand. You want the best for your community, but if you can tell your public school is crappy then youíre not doing anybody any good by propping it up with your childís attendance (and tax dollars). You might believe that yours is the exact kind of family that can help your crappy public school become less crappy. This is naÔve. Your child will not learn as much or be as challenged as she could be. Donít let anyone tell you to ďlive with that.Ē Especially if she is gifted. The world needs her to fulfill her whole potential.

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