I'm Proud to Be a Bad Person
By Art Carden
Perhaps you’ve read Allison Benedikt’s “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person” at Slate. We’re homeschooling our kids instead of sending them to the elementary school a few blocks away, so I guess that makes us “bad people.” The article doesn’t deserve the attention I’m about to give it, but a lot of people are talking about it and at least a few people are probably taking it seriously. So here it goes:
1. Exit, not merely Voice, is a way to make government-run schools more effective. Indeed, Kevin Grier makes this point (and directs us to this post by Alex Tabarrok): “exit makes voice effective. Or to put it another way, voice without exit is of limited use (think about complaining at the DMV).”
2. Ken White at Popehat offers the bit-by-bit dissection (HT: a commenter on Munger’s blog). A choice passage:
If you asked me to summarize my domestic political outlook, you could do worse than this: I want to minimize the ability of people like Alison Benedikt, who tend to encrust government, to tell me how to raise my family or live my life. I believe in free expression, free worship, free conscience, personal responsibility, the rule of law, strictly limited government (and the strict limitation of people with clipboards and people with guns and badges, thank you very much), and that the best society is one in which free people make free choices, not one in which you allow the Alison Benedikts of the world to make the best interests of your children subservient to the best interests of a collective imagined by a smug self-appointed elite.
2a. Benedikt argues that in the long run, she was fine in spite of a lousy government school education. White notes the problem with her logic:
I will note that some elementary logic classes might have helped her: if bad education is not so bad, why is it terrible that it persists, and why does its persistence act as a moral imperative for people to eschew the best interests of their children?
2b. Here’s a comment from Lizard at Popehat that’s also quite wise:
“Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.”
Sorry, I’m calling this one a troll. Nobody talks like an Ayn Rand villain in real life — no one is that honest.
3. My children are not your sacrificial animals. Jimmy Stewart nails this in Shenandoah. Again, my kids are not sacrificial animals, and I’m neglecting my duty as their father if I let people pretend they are.
4. There are a lot of ways to help the underprivileged beyond warehousing my kids in a government school for a few hours a day and then trying to overcome a series of collective action problems that stand between Right Now and more effective education. We’re working to develop resources not only for our kids, but for others.
Phase 1: Put your kids in government school and advocate for change.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Schools are Awesome.
HT: The Estimable Michael Munger.
EDITED 12:38 PM Central: The KPC post linked above was by Kevin Grier, not Munger. My mistake. I saw it on Munger’s Twitter feed.
EDITED 12:41 PM Central: Thanks to William Bruce for catching that it was Grier and not Munger.