Allison Benedikt’s recent Slate.com editorial about public vs. private schooling is a top candidate for “Worst Article of the Year”. The title alone is enough to give you the basic gist: “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person.”
Benedikt really, really wants you to give your children to the State. Because they’ll get a better education there? No. Because home and private schools fail to offer an excellent education? Nope. Because the State has their best interests in mind? Not a chance.
She freely admits that government education is often “crappy,” and that private schools are much more likely to provide a “superior education,” yet insists that it is in the best interests of future generations for everyone to be publicly indoctrinated. And even those inclined not to despise nationalized schooling ought to admit that her case is less than compelling. In fact, it is just the type of article I would write if I were tying to use satire to convince readers of the deficiencies of public education, though by all accounts she is actually serious. This quote should suffice to give you her basic argument, should you choose to spare yourself from further asininity:
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.
Forgive me if I aspire to more than for my children to “survive” school. And it’s certainly debatable whether she is, in fact, “doing fine.” Anyone who can compare the educational benefit of “getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house” with the merits of reading Walt Whitman is practically begging not to be taken seriously.
I can only hope that the thousands of people who have read and shared this article in the last 24 hours are doing it, like me, to point out how utterly ridiculous it is, though my cynicism leads me to suspect that there are probably many who actually believe that continuing to sacrifice generations of children on the altar of government schooling is “worth it, for the eventual common good.”
No, thank you. I, for one, will proudly wear my “bad person” badge with honor as I fulfill my God-given responsibility to do everything in my power to provide my children with the best education possible, starting with their discipleship as followers of Christ. And as more and more “bad people” are awakened to the dangers of things like the “common core,” we’ll be here to welcome them to the exodus from State schools, which is the only real hope for the education of future generations.
EDIT: Here’s someone else who’s also “Proud to Be a Bad Parent”, and more reasoned in his response to Benedikt’s article than I have been.