“We don’t need no education. We don’t know thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone.” — Roger Waters
The former president and his children have done their part to attack public education and those that work in the industry. Everyone knows I’m one of those people. His son called us losers and the former guy said no one should let us watch their children for 20 minutes much less teach them anything.
We’ve heard all this before and the important thing is understanding why. It is also important to understand exactly why U.S. public schools don’t outperform their counterparts in Europe and Asia and why most private schools outperform their public counterparts.
See, that’s the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to make public schools so unpalatable that most people won’t have a choice but to go private. So, we allow pay to lag for teachers, we insult them and belittle them, and then when there’s a teacher shortage we begin to water down the qualifications teachers must have. Both Arizona and Florida have announced that teachers don’t have to have a Bachelor’s degree.
Most red states are not far behind. Our very own governor threw a commission together to see why there’s a teacher shortage and initially included only one teacher. We could have saved him the money. All of this is by design. They know very well what they are doing. They can offer vouchers and school choice, but that will end up being a band-aid for a gun shot wound. Of course, given the recent mass shootings in our schools, such an euphemism is a little on the nose.
Private schools work for one reason and one reason only. The schools get to choose who goes to school there. It’s the same reason that schools in Europe and Asia outperform our public schools. When you get to choose who takes the test it is remarkable how well they will perform collectively. Imagine an English class where the teacher can pick 20 percent of his or her class to be exempt from the test. We’d have nearly 100 percent passing rate. Boy would we look great.
Simply put, the minute you tell a private school who they have to take is the minute you negate their primary advantage. Plus, a 5000 dollar voucher does little when the average tuition in Texas is over 10,000. Many of the top parochial and Catholic schools can cost more than twice that amount. A lower middle class family can’t afford to send even one child to such a school much less multiple children.
Even if you subsidized the entire tuition costs, the child still has to meet the admission requirements. What happens if they have intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, or physical disabilities? What happens if they have behavioral problems? A private school can simply say no. As a former private school teacher, I can attest to this. Some of their margins are so thin that they can’t afford to pay specialists. If your kid needs extra help he or she will need to go to public school.
Yet, we will be stripping those same public schools of crucial resources. We will be flooding their classrooms with only those students that were too poor or somehow not fit enough to be accepted to one of those schools. They can’t explain what happens to them and they don’t particularly care. I’ve also been in schools that were the last choice in a school choice district. Someone has to care about these kids.