When it comes to education, it’s frightening to take a look inside a liberal’s mind. The content in this op-ed is filled with frightening statements, not to mention illogical beliefs. Let’s start with this 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. 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.)
First, it’s frightening that Ms. Benedikt would admit that her policy would doom a generation of students to “mediocre educations.” That’s unacceptable. Second, it’s counterintuitive to think that eliminating competition with anything will improve a product. There’s no proof that eliminating competition has ever improved any product. Wishful thinking won’t change that time-tested reality. This paragraph is almost as delusional:
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.
If the neighborhood public school stinks, isn’t the better solution to give parents the opportunity to get their children out of these schools? This author apparently hasn’t heard of the theory that you shouldn’t throw good money after bad.
At times, the writer says something so foolish, I have to question whether she’s just being sarcastic. This is one of the statements that make me wonder:
I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.
Ms. Benedikt is arguing against giving this generation a great education because it’s more important for kids a generation or two to possibly get a better education. I say possibly because I’m being charitable. It isn’t likely that the teachers union will allow any meaningful reforms. If society doesn’t fight against the current status quo, this and future generations will be doomed to a terrible education.
Furthermore, the writer isn’t doing fine. There’s a difference between doing fine and being blissfully ignorant. She’s the latter, not the former. The point is that she’s ignoring an important American principle: American exceptionalism. Mediocrity isn’t who we are as a nation. Forcing everyone into failing institutions isn’t part of the American DNA, either.
Finding solutions is part of the American DNA. That’s why parents are opting for charter schools, private schools and home-schooling. They want their children to be well-equipped for college, then for a productive career. School systems like Cristo Rey are helping students excel already. It’s important to ask what they’re doing differently than public schools.
It isn’t that they’re cherrypicking the best students:
A Cristo Rey school serves only economically disadvantaged students. The school is open to students of various faiths and cultures.
What’s most impressive is that 96% of their students are students of color.
Ms. Benedikt should take off the blinders. She should realize that public schools are a treasure is union-sponsored myth. Enrollment increases at charter schools and other options to public schools shows that parents from across the political spectrum are opting for a better option because they want the best for their children.
Ms. Benedikt said that parents that don’t send their children to public schools are bad people. My question for Ms. Benedikt is this: Since when is it bad for parents to want what’s best for their children?