24 August 2009

Supply and Demand in School Choice.

Let's pretend we live in a land of public school choice. If we decide to send our children to public school, we get to pick which ones they'd go to. Nevermind that inconvenient district line of attendance!

What do you think?

Personally, I think part of the reason vouchers and the like will never really happen on a large scale is that everyrone recognizes that the wrong sorts of children would go school-jumping all over creation. That would ruin stuff for the kids in the "good schools." You know, the ones whose parents paid over $39,600 in school taxes just last year? And have tutors from $ylvan Learning Centers, a housekeeper so Mom doesn't get distracted from getting her nails done, hair fixed, dogs groomed and... oh yeah! parenting.

Just nobody wants to say it politically because it would look all classist and racist. And the reason it would look all classist and racist? We've been keeping track of which classes and races do well on "the test" for a long time. This tracking somehow leads the rest of us to being less classist and racist. We can't just look at it as School A or B anymore. Maybe we never really did.

Go ask a realtor if they've ever been asked by a buyer to be steered away from "those" neighbourhoods. Ask someone who will give you an honest answer. Rich people don't buy land in the middle of the 'hood to build their mansions. They live near other rich people so they don't have to talk to trash like me or look at my dandelions or meet my black neighbours.

But they're not racist! Those schools in the rich places? They're open to anyone who has the money to move into their neighbourhood. They're very sure to teach the children the proper way to think about diversity and multiculturalism and la la la. Our school newspaper once made the comment that our school is diverse because we all wore different colour Benetton shirts. (Yes, it was the 80's.)

The truth? They don't really need to fight racism in the Richie-rich schools, because there are something like three black kids in the school and they've learned to act just like everyone else. No one really needs to learn to get along with others not like themselves in these places. They learn about Hispanic and black children from a book. Maybe they'll even invite a Native American in to testify to the fact that the beautiful houses they live in on those rolling hills... used to be the land of his people. *sniff* Aw, how sad. We feel so guilty. Thanks for that talk, byyyyye!

If public schools were open on a first-enrolled, first-served basis, and there truly were education "vouchers" that would enable families to escape "failing" public schools... well, those poor families might send their kids *here,* the reasoning goes. And we don't want 'em.

Parents like me *know* the local schools are bad, but we're afraid of change because as bad as things are here, they could get worse! Go ahead and ream me in the comments. But I've seen some of these kids from the Kansas City Public School district. WOEFUL grammar. Absolutely horrible. "What a 'C' look like?" should not pass for an utterance I'm expected to understand. And "ain't?" Ought not be used at all, let alone with the word "no." You make my head spin, and I'm not sure if the "no's" cancel out or not, but since the "ain't" isn't a real word, should I disregard that part and count your statement as a single negative?

Astounding. Confusing!

Well, and as little as we have in this world, we can at least sell our houses with the selling point that we're in CityName School District. Eliminate that, and our houses go down in value. People in the cities will stop unloading their mansions for $240,000 (no kidding, but needs a little TLC).

Well, it would be a mess. I don't think it's ever going to happen, honestly. I think it's something that politicians like to talk about... while they move to the suburbs so their children go to nice public schools, or just outright send their kids to Sidwell Friends, deal with a whole stinkin' week of criticism, and move on from there.

Well, JJ said I was cynical... Was she right??

5 comments:

  1. I'm not sure cynical is the correct word--how about real? I mean you don't see our President sending his kids to public school. That would be too Democratic. Anyway--I guess the only way to solve this problem would be to make all schools equal, but I'm not sure that is possible. Parents have to care what their kids learn, how their kids learn and encourage them to do so. Kids have understand at some point the value of education. Have you ever read James McBride? Read The Color of Water--poor, bi-racial kids--12 of them and they have all become successes because they knew the value of education, because their mother drilled it into them. It was the one thing she could do to give them a chance at a better life.

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  2. No, I haven't read McBride's book! I wonder how on earth anyone could raise 12 kids to adulthood, and well, regardless of race problems in school/ class/ anything else in one's life. Kudos to her! Still working on my six.

    And Obama? I'd have to give him some credibility if he sent his kids to DC public schools and spoke about how every child can get a good public education. Notice that he did NOT do that. Duncan? Suburbs. As the head public education dude, he couldn't really do the private school thing.

    BUT

    Isn't the elite public school system even more unequal and unethical than just plain old sticking your kid in private school? In the elite publics, you have the illusion of equality... but none of the substance.

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  3. There are NO schools around me at all that isn't almost failing. Really, really low ratings. Yet when I've tried to call other schools outside my area, my kids can't go there. So it's either I put my kids in nearly failing schools, or I keep them home. It's frustrating. I don't mind keeping them home but it does take me 7-8 to homeschool everyday. I wish I were the type that could homeschool all on my own but I certainly have to have a guide to show me my steps every day. Trust me. That's a good thing for my kids! Ha ha.

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  4. ((Virginia)) But, KNOWING that, you're able to get the support you need to homeschool. :]

    It takes me about 8 hours, too, but there are plenty of breaks and I usually only log five.

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  5. I never thought about this aspect of the voucher thing before, but now that you've pointed out your reasoning to me, I think you're RIGHT!

    Eileen
    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas (in the Middle East)
    elementaryteacher.wordpress.com

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)