Allison Benedikt caused quite a stir in her recent blog piece from Slate’s blog site entitled If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person.
Clearly, Benedikt’s article is intentionally provocative, written for little more than to incite anger and generate traffic for the hard left website, which is why I’m not linking to it here.
Still her accusations that parents who withhold their children from public school are morally inferior, while obscenely illogical, certainly provides a window into the worldview of the progressive mind – where children belong to the state and should be sacrificed for the greater good.
Benedikt begins her self-titled Manifesto with these words:
You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.
Wow…what does that make this homeschooling mom of seven…evil incarnate?
I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.
Ah..there’s that “common good” meme. I can tell Ms. Benedikt is channeling a little MSNBC Melissa Harris Perry who earlier this year admonished parents for their failure to “recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”
And don’t you just love how the “I’m just judgmental” rolls right off her tongue…always the tolerant left.
While Benedikt may have been trying – with not-so-great subtlety – to be deliberately inflammatory, it is worth noting that her column has gained a lot of traction …and sadly a lot of support.
Which is why I have a few questions for Ms. Benedikt and her supporters:
1) Why do you think that it’s mine or any other parent’s duty to elevate an “essential institution” – the endearing way you describe the public school system – above my child’s individual needs? Think long and hard before you answer.
Now, I understand that we are living in the age of Obamacare, where death panels reign supreme and children with special needs are expendable, all for the sake of the common good of course. But I can’t help but notice that your liberal icon in the White House sends his children to a private school. Oops! Can it be? Do I smell liberal hypocrisy?
2) What about choice? Come on, Ms. Benedikt. As a progressive, we all know how much you must LOVE choice, especially when it comes to the choice to kill children in the womb. All across the country, states are engaging in school voucher programs opening doors for those children in the “nearby housing complex” from those “crappy schools” to receive an individualized education.
Don’t you just love the choice these families are given? Or perhaps you fall on the side of Attorney General Eric Holder who has recently brought a law suit against the state of Louisiana to halt their proven school voucher program? This might be a good time to point out that Eric Holder also sends his children to private school…bad, bad Eric Holder.
3) Finally, you point out that because we as parents don’t want to participate in the public school system, that we are by virtue against public schools. Or as you write in your article our property tax investment and lip-service just don’t measure up to “real flesh-and-blood offspring investment.”
Thank you for providing this teachable moment to help demonstrate the stark difference between a progressive and free-thinking conservative. While I choose to keep my children from hearkening the doors of our local school, I would never for one second judge you because you don’t. In fact, I wouldn’t even presume to know what’s best for your family. You on the other hand – as a dyed-in-the-wool statist – presume to know what’s best for me and my children.
Clearly Ms. Benedikt has never set foot into a run-down inner city school. They are infested with violence, overrun with drugs and riddled with gangs. She refers to them as “crappy schools” but many parents refer to them as “war zones”.
For some of these students, just surviving their walk to school in the morning is a feat. Yet Benedikt tries to shame parents into sending their children to these kill zones on no other basis than it benefits the common good?
Ms. Benedikt sums up her argument with these words:
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…Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public school.
Ironically, in pointing out the short comings of her education, Ms. Benedikt makes a very strong case for parents to keep their children in private school. She knows nothing of classic literature…is ignorant on the dates of the Civil War…and has no art appreciation? Yay! Sign my kids up for that program.
I’m sorry Ms. Benedikt if my unwillingness to compromise my children’s education and welfare for the sake of the common good makes me a bad person.
But I’m fairly certain that when they are your age, Allison, they will excel in the ability to write persuasively, think logically, and even chat it up about O Captain My Captain* (that’s Walt Whitman, in case you were wondering).