Why you should care
Because all children deserve the best education.
Welcome to Third Rail With OZY, our electrifying TV show where we debate provocative hot topics each week. Last week, we asked: Should private education be banned? You answered, and here are your thoughts, edited for clarity.
Perry McCabe, Buhler, Kansas
First of all, let me state that I have been in public education for 70 years. First as a student, then as a teacher and coach, then as a principal and finally as a school finance administrator. While I have many gripes with private education, I think there is a place for it if that is what a child’s parents want. Schools are private for a reason, be it religion, specialized schooling, segregation, etc. And that is fine. However, do not come asking for public tax money to operate your private schools. If you want private [education], then, as parents, you ought to be willing to pay for it.…
James L. Parham, Springfield, Missouri
In my experience, private schools are systems of hate and separation. As a graduate of private Catholic schools, I witnessed firsthand the severe class segregation and exclusion that makes for lifelong choices by the privileged. The separation of the wealthy … from the poor is physical at private schools, and so they provide safe arenas to reinforce biases without contradictory evidence. Parents feel righteous, and by furthering the failure of public institutions, they get to feel justified too. When all students are required to attend together, they learn they are the same and hopefully they grow up to treat each other better. When all children are going to the community school again, with no alternatives, the community school will be supported. Poverty is created systemically and requires systemic reform to eliminate.
Dylan Basescu, Washington, D.C.
Compulsory education is one of the best things to ever happen in this country, and you cannot have a just system in which there is both compulsory education and exclusively public education. We should not prioritize private schools, but we should not ban them either.
Private schools provide a superior education but encourage elitist social values. Evangelical private schools create generations of Roy Moore Christians with their focus on religion, not academics. The charter school model rescues urban kids from underfunded public schools, yet creates de facto segregation.
Robert Smith, Alexandria, Louisiana
Education is the parents’ responsibility, and it should be their choice how they educate their children. They are not the state’s children, nor [is it] the state’s responsibility to educate them. Therefore, they should not limit parental choices. As a product of both public and private schools, and a donor to private education, my parents and then myself bore the cost of both. Why should parental choices be tyrannically limited by the state?
Om Prakash John Gilmore, Philadelphia
In Finland they have no private schools. That’s why every school there is top-notch.
Cynthia Olcott, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Don’t ban private schools, just stop supporting them with public funds. Tax money should go to public schools only.
Mike Yoder, Bethany Beach, Delaware
When public schools are not teaching what parents believe is a good education, what are their options? Private education, home-schooling, etc.? There must be options as the quality of public education in some states is not producing educated youths. The emphasis on political correctness has deteriorated too many public schools and caused enormous turmoil in the school-parent relationship to the point that private or home-schooling are the only options.
Diversity is needed to ensure everyone understands the needs of others. It is one of the tenets of public education. I don’t think banning private schools is the answer, but they should be held accountable for what they teach and should not receive money meant for public schools. All students, regardless of the school attended, must learn certain required subjects. Public education has suffered in recent decades because it has been easier to divert funding through voucher programs to private schools than to fulfill the obligation to ensure quality public education. Ensuring a quality education for everyone demands that appropriate funding is provided, not only for classroom learning but also for extras like sports, art and music.