Friday, August 30, 2013


So yesterday I came across this article, which reads like something I might post here, and I promptly posted it to my facebook page where it proceeded to generate more heated discussion than probably anything I've ever posted before. Understand that I choose my facebook friends very carefully - only people I am actually friends with - so typically my liberal-firecracker rants are met with resounding cheers. This was different. People were skeptical. They were defensive, and even offended. They felt attacked because, unbeknownst to me, some of them actually send their children to private schools.

They said things like, "I know you're not really this judgmental." Well, guess what, yes I am. I am judging you for believing that your child deserves better than most of the rest of the children in the country just because you can afford it. I am judging you for your willful failure to understand that your choice in this has an impact beyond your immediate family, and that you are responsible for that impact whether you like it or not. And I am judging you because you are not a self-interested jerk and you are plenty smart and the only reason you don't see this as a problem is that you won't look it in the face. I get it. You're scared for your kid. Know what? Me too. But it's not about our kids. It's about all kids.

Public school is like public health - your choices ripple out beyond you. When you don't get your kid vaccinated, you put everyone else's kids at risk, and that is selfish and unfair. When you don't send your kid to public school, you erode that system and weaken it for everyone else's kids, and that is also selfish and unfair. Do I know that the public school system is broken? Hell yes, I know. I went through it. I'm putting my kids through it. Sometimes it's not pretty - read almost any post on this site and you can see that. I fight the big battles (testing, arts education) and, if I have any energy left, I fight the medium ones too (recess, homework). I'm too exhausted to fight the small ones (behavior charts, school lunches), and you know what? It would be great to have some backup.

So yeah. I'm judging. I'm judging because you're wrong and it really, really matters. Engagement, not disengagement, is the answer.