Private vs Public Education

The “Inside Scoop” feature in today’s N&R mentions the problem that many High Point parents have with School Board member Garry Burnett because one of his children is enrolled at the private Greensboro Day School.  I included an email one of those parents sent to Burnett regarding the enrollment in a post on the High Point “Choice Plan” last week. 

I stated at the time that the parent had a point when he suggested that Mr. Burnett should put his son back in the public school system and participate in the lottery that his father had voted to create.  “Whats good for the goose…”, said I.

I have several friends who have chosen to send their children to private schools – both sacred and secular.  During redistricting several years ago some of the most active proponents for Aycock School were neighborhood parents who have made private school choices, so clearly they are not without a voice in public education matters.  After all, everyone pays taxes in support of public schools – doesn’t that automatically give them a voice?  What about folks who have no children, or parent’s whose children have long since graduated… should their say-so carry less weight than parents who still have children in the system?

Inherent in the High Point parents’ argument over Burnett is this: decisions about public schools are best made by those who send, or sent, their children to public schools.  I’m wondering if this argument holds water?

On a related matter, I have long been of the opinion that many of our public school’s woes would be solved if private school families all of a sudden opted into public schools and brought one half of their private school tuitions and all of their influence with them.

Private school parents are, on the whole, very involved in their children’s education and many times very infuential members of the community.  Inherent in a family’s decision to sacrifice large sums of money over and above taxes for their children’s education is the belief that private school will provide their children with something that public education lacks.  That “something” varies from family to family but the hard question is this: How much better would our public education system be if private school families’ money and influence were to be plowed back into public schools?


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