Friday, August 17, 2007

An irrelevant distinction: public versus private schools

Recently the SC Policy Council and the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation published a report entitled: The High Cost of South Carolina’s Low Graduation Rate.

Responses from political leaders have been predictable. Governor Sanford said it bolsters the case for school choice in South Carolina. Secretary of Education Rex said, "We agree on the magnitude of the problem. And we agree with the Policy Council that the solution is to improve public schools. But we don’t think we improve public schools by paying parents to send their kids to private schools."

As a citizen, I have an obligation to ensure that all children have access to a high quality education. Most of my libertarian friends will disagree with that, but none of us has been successful alone. We have all built on the legacy of many, many others. No where is our obligation to be good stewards of that legacy greater than ensuring that all children have access to education.

It struck me as I read Dr. Rex's quote that he is making an irrelevant distinction between public and private schools. Half the children in this state are dropping out before they finish high school. We are failing as a society to provide them educational options that meet their needs.

I have an obligation to see that all children have access to education. It is irrelevant how that education is delivered as long as at the end of the day children are empowered to become productive, contributing members of society. Drawing a distinction between public and private schools is completely beside the point.


Anonymous said...

I agree, however, if public schools were up to the standards of private schools, there might be less of an exodus from the public system. I have no problem sending my son to the public elementary school near our home. It is one of the top in the state. We are, however, paying dearly to have our eldest son in a private, Christian school where he can be taught in a healthy, Christian environment. Where he will not be taught by liberal educators to be "tolerant" of "alternative lifestyles", the importance of "safe sex" or whatever else that the NEA has deemed important for our kids to learn. If ever we could no longer afford to have our kids in private school, then they will be home-schooled. Meantime, while gladly paying for private education, I continue to pay my taxes to fund public schooling. Hope it works for somebody.....

Evan said...

Those whacky liberal teachers and their crazy education policies. I think one of them actually taught me not to generalize and stereotype, because it can make you look ignorant. You know, like implying that all teachers are unhealthy liberal heathens bent on advancing an "alternative lifestyle" agenda.