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Engaged Parents Are the Target Group of Privatizers

October 30, 2018

As noted in several earlier posts, one of the subtle but corrosive consequences of choice is that  the children of engaged parents flee their public schools leaving “other children” behind. This flight of engaged parents undercuts the idea that “OUR children” are in public education together. In affluent communities, virtually every parent is engaged, which makes it impossible for reformers to gain a toe hold. In less affluent communities or cities many parents have bigger concerns than where their child will go to school… they worry about where their child will sleep or where their next meal is coming from… and finding the time to study the “choices” for their child is an impossibility. As I observe my daughters in Brooklyn navigating the system in place as a result of Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to offer “choice” as a means of keeping middle class parents in public schools it is evident that a single parent who holds down more than one job or works the 50-60 hours required to hold down a professional job would find it impossible to study the “choices” available to parents.

And here’s the bottom line: the parents who ARE engaged in those less affluent communities and cities are the target group of privatizers…. and when the engaged parents abandon the public schools it exacerbates the divide between rich and poor and makes it increasingly difficult to secure more funding for the kinds of wraparound services necessary to provide a level playing field for the children of less engaged parents. The only way for this vicious circle to break is for taxpayers who value equity to band together to insist that every child have the same opportunity to learn as the children of engaged and/or affluent parents.

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