Education as a Commodity
Valerie Strauss writes The Answer Sheet column in the Washington Post and very often quotes Diane Ravitch, education historian. This week the subject is school choice and how that undermines the American notion of public education for every child.
The basic compact that public education creates is this: The public is responsible for the education of the children of the state, the district, the community. We all benefit when other people’s children are educated. It is our responsibility as citizens to support a high-quality public education, even if we don’t have children in the public schools.
But once the concept of private choice becomes dominant, then the sense of communal responsibility is dissolved. Each of us is then given permission to think of what is best for me, not what is best for we.
Later in the article, Ravitch quotes one of her readers:
When people start seeing education as a private commodity that parents buy for their own children — just another personal choice, like whether to buy designer duds or that hot new toy – then we are going to see a taxpayer revolt like we have never seen before, and public-funded education will cease to exist.
Read the whole article here.
June 26, 2012