At least, some poorly educated twit writing for Slate thinks so. (No really, she says right there in the article that she’s poorly educated.) I was planning a brilliant take down, scorched earth style. And then Larry Correia went and did it. The nerve of a New York Times Bestselling author to pull content right out from under this bloggers frantic fingers
Bygones. Really, no hard feelings. Because that was an awesome fisking in the way that only Larry can fisk. You should really skip the original article which I’m not linking and just read his. I have very little to add.
For the record, no, we don’t send our kid to private school, so maybe we aren’t all the hypens bad. Or we might actually be worse. You see, our kid goes to a virtual public school. Which means our tax dollars, that would normally go to fund our local public school, are diverted to a virtual charter school in a different district. He attends classes in his bedroom via computer. Guns in school? Hell, he gets PE credit for range trips. There’s a holster studio down the hall.
Yeah, I’m starting to think we might actually get extra hyphens. Anyway, on with the show!
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.
Right. Because if we give the future teachers a mediocre education they are by some miracle going to magically morph into amazing, engaged educators. Not to mention the future lawmakers! I can imagine the thoughtful policies devised after reading a single book!
Fetch me my flying monkeys!
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 pointed out above, I’m not even remotely invested in my local school. Because it stinks and I did send my child there. Yes, it stinks. This is the last brick and mortar school that our son attended. Yes, that says criminal investigation at a middle school. This middle school is in a town that we scrimped and saved to live in. We bought a crappy house in an affluent suburb because of the “good schools.” Yeah, we totally “gamed the system” like “rich” people tend to do.
What people like Allison Benedikt fail to realize is that my responsibility is to my child, not the school. We are doing everything in our power to make his education better. One of those options was to opt out. A decision we have regretted not once. We tried joining the PTA. Our kid was miserable and failing. The best thing we could do for him, and for future generations was to find something that worked. I only care about other people’s children in the abstract; I’m invested in my own. If you aren’t personally flesh-and-blood invested in your own offspring, you are the problem. If the improving the system is more important to you than your child, you are a miserable failure as a parent and have no business giving parenting advice.
I went K–12 to a terrible public school. My high school didn’t offer AP classes, and in four years, I only had to read one book. There wasn’t even soccer. This is not a humblebrag! 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.
She’s doing fine? I suppose in Allison’s case, ignorance really is bliss. One book? No poetry? I thought you were trying to sell me on how sending my kid to public school is a good idea.
That really is bigger on the inside! A bookcase holds entire worlds. (picture via Facebook)
Also remember that there’s more to education than what’s taught. As rotten as my school’s English, history, science, social studies, math, art, music, and language programs were, going to school with poor kids and rich kids, black kids and brown kids, smart kids and not-so-smart ones, kids with superconservative Christian parents and other upper-middle-class Jews like me was its own education and life preparation. Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.
Yes, getting drunk before basketball games is exactly the kind of enriching experience I want to shape my child’s world view. Then maybe he can grow up and write for Slate and prattle on about how he’s just fine.
Language gets salty below the fold. You’ve been warned. (Yeah, I should have warned you before I sent you to Larry’s place too.)