Sacrificing your own children for the greater good

Thanks to Robert Stacey Stacy McCain, I found this interesting article:

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person

A manifesto.

By |Posted Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, at 5:50 AM

You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—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.

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. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)

So, how would this work exactly? It’s simple! Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.

There is much more at the link.

Mr McCain mostly just mocked Miss Benedict Benedikt1 for her (self-admitted) ignorance, but I’d rather address a more important point. The issue that Miss Benedikt raised is the same one — though hardly ever stated so directly — by our friends on the left in the 1960s and 1970s, in the issue of forced busing to achieve racial integration. Parents were expected to allow the use of their own children as the guinea pigs for social experimentation, in the hope that this would produce some better world a couple of generations hence, and they were racists2 of the worst kind if they protested. Why, it couldn’t be that parents were really concerned about hour-long bus rides, unnecessarily taking their children past closer schools; it had to be because they didn’t want their children to have to sit beside Negroes!

As it happens, I was a student in a segregated public school system in the South — yes, I am that old — when integration occurred there the way it did in a lot of small southern towns: the black school mysteriously burned to the ground during the summer. We had no real problems with integration because there was only one school; there was no forced busing with students passing one school to another further away for social engineering.3 It turned out that white families didn’t really have a problem with their kids going to school with black kids.4

But while I don’t remember any problems with integration in the Mt Sterling, Kentucky, city school system, I certainly can remember the stories of how well integration went in some larger, northern cities. The protests in Boston were particularly famous, as was the case in Wilmington, Delaware.5

The problem, which Miss Benedikt didn’t seem to consider, was that parents might have supported or opposed integration — no blanket statement can be made, covering everybody, on this — and politically the north favored the concept of integration, but when it came to their children, individually, parents were more concerned about them and their well-being than they ever were about some far-off social goal.

When Miss Benedikt wrote, “Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good,” she simply was not thinking as a parent.6 Or perhaps she was, and perhaps they do send their children to public school, but the question then has to be asked: what’s the school like? It’s perhaps a touch easier to say that you’ll send yoru children to public schools when the public schools are decent. After all, not all public schools are the same.

It is, in the end, the choice of Mr Cook and Miss Benedikt to decide to which school to send their children is their own.7 Whatever motives they have, they have. But the notion that people ought to sacrifice the well-being of their own children to achieve some amorphous social goal is not one that’s going to get widespread support among parents.
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  1. The spell checker reported “Benedikt” as an error, but that seems to be the way her father spelled his name as well.
  2. This was before the use of raaaaacists.
  3. We couldn’t have had busing anyway; at the time, there were no school buses in our area at all!
  4. It would be unrealistic to state that there were absolutely no problems; but there were none so obvious that they made an impression in the mind of a then sixth-grader.
  5. The referenced section contains the rather mild sentence, “Now, Delaware has a high rate of children who attend private schools, magnet schools, and charter schools due to the perceived weaknesses of the public school system.” The truth is that the white citizens of New Castle County virtually destroyed the public school system in response to the 1976 court ordered busing. In New Castle County, where I lived for two years, if there is any way possible that you can send your children to private schools, you do, because the public schools are so bad. Our daughters attended Corpus Christi parochial school during the two years we live in Hockessin; Corpus Christi was the parochial school associated with our parish.
  6. An odd thing, since she and her husband, John Cook, have at least three children.
  7. I know nothing about their finances, and it is possible that they could not afford a private or parochial school, and do not really have any choices.

15 Comments

  1. Public school teachers often do whatever they can to ensure their own children’s chances for getting the best educations they can by making sacrifices in their own lives so they can send their children to private schools.

  2. By Allison Benedikt|Posted Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, at 5:50 AM

    You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—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.

    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. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)

    So, how would this work exactly? It’s simple! Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.

    As I read this I figured it had to be satire. No one could write this crap with a straight face and actually mean it! Indeed, it’s the sort of language you might expect from an Ayn Rand villain explaining the “Virtues” of collectivism.

    But in the event it is real, it just demonstrates what DNW would refer to as “The Morality of the Termite Heap”, where all that matters is that all the termites are the same and God Forbid one of them wants to have a better life than The Collective will allow.

  3. Liberals believe in public education, teacher’s unions, and a level playing field. But, they want something just a little better for their own children. Wouldn’t you?

  4. Eric wrote:

    As I read this I figured it had to be satire. No one could write this crap with a straight face and actually mean it!

    While I suppose it could be satire, from the little I read of her other stuff, it doesn’t seem like it is.

  5. rope wrote:

    Wealthy liberals believe in public education, teacher’s unions, and a level playing field. But, they want something just a little better for their own children. Wouldn’t you?

    Fixed that for you.

    Now, I don’t know if Miss Benedikt is wealthy or not, nor do I know that she is using the public schools vis a vis private ones, but it does seem like the wealthier, well-known libs send their kids to private schools, always having very good reasons to do so.

  6. Thanks to the Ace of Spades, I found this article, by a fellow named John Cook. I do not know if this John Cook is the same one married to Allison Benedikt:

    There’s a Simple Solution to the Public Schools Crisis

    The ongoing (but maybe soon to end?) teachers’ strike in Chicago is being viewed by many as an early skirmish in a coming war over the crisis in public education—stagnant or declining graduation rates, substandard educations, dilapidated schools, angry teachers, underserved students. There is one simple step that would go a long way toward resolving many of those issues: Make all schools public schools.

    It’s an oft-noted irony of the confrontation in Chicago that Mayor Rahm Emanuel sends his children to the private, $20,000-a-year University of Chicago Lab School, which means his family doesn’t really have much of a personal stake in what happens to the school system he is trying to reform. This is pretty routine behavior for rich people in Chicago, and there’s a pretty good reason for it: Chicago’s public schools are terrible. If you care about your children’s education, and can afford to buy your way out of public schools, as Emanuel can, it’s perfectly reasonable to do so. Barack and Michelle Obama made a similar decision, opting to purchase a quality education for their daughters at Sidwell Friends rather than send them to one of Washington, D.C.’s, deeply troubled public schools.

    A lot of Chicago parents with the resources to do so have followed Emanuel’s lead: 17% of schoolchildren in Chicago attend private schools, and so don’t have to trouble themselves with whether or not their local public school has air conditioning, or a library (160 do not), or classes with 45 students. Those kids that don’t attend private schools tend overwhelmingly to be from families with less political power and resources than Emanuel’s: 87% of them are from low-income families, and 86% are black or hispanic.

    Nationwide, where 10% of the nation’s students—and 16% of the white ones from families making more than $75,000 per year—attend private schools, the stratification is similar. White and asian students enroll in private schools at twice the rate of black and hispanic ones, according to Harvard University’s Civil Rights Project. Nearly two thirds of private-school students are from wealthy families. In the nation’s 40 largest school districts, one in three white students attends private school (the number is one in ten for black students).

    So you can see why there’s a problem. Here’s the solution: Make Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama’s children go to public schools. From a purely strategic and practical standpoint, it would be much easier to resolve the schools crisis if the futures of America’s wealthiest and most powerful children were at stake. Wealthy people tend to lobby effectively for their interests, and if their interests were to include adequate public funding for the schools their children attend, and libraries, and air-conditioning, those goals could likely be achieved without having to resort to unpleasant things like teachers’ strikes.

    More at the link.

  7. Wealthy people tend to lobby effectively for their interests, and if their interests were to include adequate public funding for the schools their children attend, and libraries, and air-conditioning, those goals could likely be achieved without having to resort to unpleasant things like teachers’ strikes.

    Total bullshit. Anyone who tries to tell us that any public school system in any major city is not receiving “adequate public funding” is degenerate liar. These systems have been sucking up money for decades and have spewed out generations of poorly educated but highly indoctrinated morons. How many hundreds on millions or billions do you think have been “invested” (leftist speak for “pissed away”) in the Chicago system?

    Money’s not the problem. The problem is mentioned and ignored in the last sentence: “unpleasant teacher’s strikes”. When the Pols in an effort to get their faces as far up the union bosses arses for campaign money promoted and approved unions in any public sector including teachers they screwed every taxpayer in America. WE wouldn’t have “unpleasant things like teacher’s strikes” if teachers were not unionized.

    The “solution” to clowns like Rahm Emanuel is: don’t elect them!

  8. I’ll never understand how the idea of “public education” was ever sold to the people of the United States. Why, in the name of all that’s holy, would a free people turn the education of their greatest asset, their children, to the government? Any government. What would possess these free people to believe said education, run buy pols, bureaucrats and G-men would dispense knowledge rather than feather their own bed by using their position to further their agenda through indoctrination? Don’t Catholic schools promote Catholicism? Don’t Quaker schools promote Quaker values? How about moslem schools.

    Schools promote the beliefs and values of those who run them. What are the beliefs and values of government and unions? Obtain and retain POWER. So why on earth would we endorse government schools run by unions?

  9. Hoagie, the unions came later. In early colonial America there were private schools and personal tutors for the children of the affluent, such as our Founding Fathers. But after the American Revolution the notion that in order to participate effectively in elections, that is to choose between candidates espousing differing policies, the common citizens must be educated and informed.

    John Adams, US President in 1785 stated it succinctly:

    “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

    The idea of widespread public education took root and within 50 years the US enjoyed the highest literacy rate in the world. It wasn’t till after the War of Northern Aggression that our public schools were transformed into propaganda dispensaries and eventually into unionized stalags.

  10. My belief is that the problem isn’t how much money we spend on public education, or the teachers’ unions, or even the curriculum. The real problem is two fold:

    1. Too many children go to school undisciplined and unwilling to learn; and
    2. Because of political correctness we are afraid to impose discipline in school.

    We need a school system which demands discipline and order, and has the authority to seriously punish offenders, including the authority to punish their parents as well, and we need a school system which is dedicated to normal social, psychological and intellectual development, including mandatory instruction in English.

    Right now, we have a system which allows the misfits, the malcontents and the malefactors to consume resources and disrupt education for everybody else. They need to be weeded out and dealt with harshly, to either straighten out or get out.

  11. We need a school system which demands discipline and order, and has the authority to seriously punish offenders, including the authority to punish their parents as well, and we need a school system which is dedicated to normal social, psychological and intellectual development, including mandatory instruction in English.

    Unfortunately, that’s only a start. When you have a student body where the typical kid comes from a home with a single mother who has 5 kids by 4 different fathers, where there is rarely a responsible male role model in the house and where the culture celebrates drug dealers, pimps, and gang bangers as people to look up to, no amount of school improvements is likely to change things much. Indeed, the exterior culture will likely drag the school culture down to its own level. To provide good schools to a culture that doesn’t want them or that doesn’t know what to do with them is like using a luxury car for the purpose of transporting farm animals.

  12. The idea of widespread public education took root and within 50 years the US enjoyed the highest literacy rate in the world. It wasn’t till after the War of Northern Aggression that our public schools were transformed into propaganda dispensaries and eventually into unionized stalags.

    I completely understand that , ropelight. That is precisely what I was, in my ffeble way, trying to point out. First the people turned over the education (indoctrination) of their kids the the government, the bloody government for crap sake. Then the government (the politicians) sold out whatever individualism in teaching existed to an organization, UNIONS, that do NOT believe in individuality, but rather “the collective”. They are called “collective bargaining, aren’t they? Then in the spirit of good socialists (the collective), they embarked from just indoctrination into a whole new era of propaganda.

    And you Mr. Editor:
    <blockquote1.1.Too many children go to school undisciplined and unwilling to learn; and
    2.Because of political correctness we are afraid to impose discipline in school.
    >

    The reason for #1 is because THEIR parents were taught by this corrupt system before them. and the reason for #2 is because “political correctness” is part and parcel of the “collective” propaganda from both the government overseers and the union socialists.

    These are not the only reason education sucks but I believe it to be the underlying subversion of a system from a goal of education to a new goal of indoctrination and control. If I’m wrong answer me this: why is the federal government involved in the education of American kids when 1. education is a local community need, and 2. they have NO constitutional authority to even talk about education.

    Also tell me why since the 70′s the mantra has been for “every kid to get a college education”. Every kid does not need, does not qualify for and cannot afford a college education. And America does not need college educated cab driver an mall cops. An we need even less college educated socialist drones with degrees in African Dance, Astrology, and dozens of other dumb-assed leftist “jobs” which require hard working people to support through grants and subsidies because those jobs have no value to society and therefore must be subsidized at universities so the recipients of said subsidies can sit around and congratulate each other on how superior they are and go drink Lattes before their Occupy march.

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