School Talk

Ok Mayor Pete, Now Do Parents

Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend who wants to be our next president, has something to say about freedom and the empowering of teachers.

I sure do hope he says the same thing about parents.

If “empowering teachers means freedom” as he claims, it sure does stand to reason that empowering parents also means freedom. The freedom to choose the best educational environment—the right school—for their child.

Freedom is power. And parents —especially poor ones—need and deserve it now.

What do you think?

One thought on “Ok Mayor Pete, Now Do Parents

  1. The freedom to choose the best educational environment—the right school—for their child.

    I find it interesting that we want to give total deference to parents in this area, but not in other public areas like fire/EMS, police, water, trash, public works, etc. Wait, my water system isn’t best for my family but I have to pay to “improve” it myself? I can lobby/advocate with my town for sure, but if I really like the neighboring town water, I have no mechanism to get that water. My town road paving is awful – I see another town that seems to have great roads. Why can’t they come do my street? Same with trash service?

    Yes, I hear the groans of it’s not comparable. Really? Water isn’t as important as education (try living without water for more than a day..)? It’s not efficient to pipe water everywhere – we can’t afford that. Huh, you mean like building parallel school systems that don’t lead to closing down the “bad” systems? I mean, if I could just kept my neighboring town’s water, wouldn’t that make my town’s water company improve its services? Oh but when my water fees don’t go to my local town, they have less to make those improvements since they have high fixed costs that can’t adjust just because a handful of customers leave (that the company still has to build capacity for just in case..)

    My town overall isn’t that bad – certainly there are places with lower quality municipal services (at least from what I can objectively and subjectively evaluate). Maybe those towns should get first crack at better services? Yet, my very well off neighbor gets to send their kids to a charter school, even though objectively (test scores) it doesn’t perform as well as the local school. It’s a “better fit” for their kids they tell me. Yes, but shouldn’t the less well off parents get first crack? Oh no, fairness demands everyone has a shot.

    Yet, it isn’t fair because the charter school doesn’t make it easy for those less well off parents..and my neighbor has three kids so the next two get in despite the fact just about every study says those kids would do equally as well in other environments..not so for our poor family.

    Right, whom am I to disagree with “fit” for any child other than my own? Yet, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t hold up RICAS scores and scream up and down – see, we have awful schools (some more awful than others) and in the same breath say “but parents should have the freedom to send their children to *wherever* they think best.”

    Even if the best makes those of us looking from the outside scratch are heads and go “yeah but they have only a 2 star rating and SAT/PSAT scores below our local school that has 5 stars?” Or another family whose children came to our local high school because “D1 athletics” was more important even though the CTE program that enabled the “choice” isn’t really what the child wants to study.

    School choice advocates would do well before pushing freedom to come to grips with the fact the the education market as it exists lacks some of the underlying market aspects to make “freedom” a universal “right” to impose on the market.

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