“I’m Sally Common. My spouse, Bill, and I began married life in a cozy apartment on the east side of Chicapoulus. When the kids came along, we counted our beans and headed north to suburban Refugia. Its worked out fine. We feel more at home here in our not-so-fancy-but-okay house. The neighbors are cool and seem to care about basic things. The teenagers have fun without hurting anybody, even as they wait for the present school mess to get straightened out.
We’ve helped organize a first grade “pod” for little Louie. Of course, it’s all temporary; the public school here was, and will be, fine again. We hear a lot of stuff about school choice, but we’ve already made ours. Of course, we’re Democrats and support the public schools for everybody, and especially the poor.”
Sally and Bill are Democrats, just like me, and that explains their rejecting school choice for the common folk. Really? You say we are the party of the poor; hence, we hold that they must go to public school. Is this a sequitur? Is there something peculiar here?
I suppose it all depends. Maybe the children of struggling parents are better off if we just keep mom and dad completely out of the process. Is that our idea? Is the decision about young Mary Lou more wisely left in the hands of professional state officials instead of her indigent parents?
That could be plausible to some minds if every child and parent were to be examined by experts to determine whether the decision could safely be left in their hands. It would be plausible but hideous. Happily, that system is too expensive to become real.
Instead, the child – stranger to this new world – will show up at her anointed school, say a fretful farewell to her parents, then experience … whatever. This fateful decision about a vulnerable child will have been made by whom? Nobody.
I suppose one could say this child’s fate was already determined by those 19th century designers of this seizure of the child by a force majeure. They lived in fear of those immigrant families, mostly poor, with their un-American ideas of religion and the good life.
These elites decided that unless you can afford to buy your child’s way out, here is where he or she goes to school. Period!
Of course, we can hardly blame the origin and staying power of these inner-city “public” schools on us Democrats alone. A variety of changing political and social realities were to inspire our nation’s invitation to the comfortable parent to separate their child from the struggling mob. I suppose it was inevitable that the teacher union brass eventually would lend its hand to this educational conscription of our poor, and with it, their physical and political separation from the middle class.
Is there hope that my political party will ever begin to represent and honor the poor family by subsidizing its choice of school? The current educational turmoil could imaginably work to deliver the lower-income parent. How will we Democrats react a decade hence when the Supreme Court decides that the “Blaine” amendments in the constitutions of half our states violate the first and fourteenth amendments?
Such a decision will empower and invite state legislators to subsidize the choice of private schools by lower-income parents. We can guess the reaction of the union bosses. But just how will my political party respond?