by Alan Bonsteel
One of the most devastating arguments made for the school choice wars has been the observation by researcher Denis Doyle that public school teachers have long sent their own children to private schools at higher rates than the general public. His analyses of the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Census Bureau data has shown that while about 11 percent of average U.S. families send their children to private schools, more than 14 percent of public school teachers do so. This is, of course, the moral equivalent of a doctor warning away his own family from the hospital in which he or she works.
Doyle retired this year, and the American Center for School Choice and California Parents for Educational Choice would like to see this project continued. That data is typically available about three years after the actual census, thus we need to be up and running by early 2013. Although either of us would be pleased to lead this research, we do not have the funding presently to do so. We would be glad to have another organization take this on, but most important is that the analysis is completed.
We are hoping to expand this study to include not just public school teachers, but also public school administrators, who, with their six-figure salaries, are highly likely to be sending their own kids to private schools at higher rates still.
Denis deserves some kind of medal for his brilliant and extremely important work, but we suspect that his greatest legacy will be simply that his friends and colleagues have seen the enormous value in what he did and will carry on the torch. Is there an organization out there that would either fund the project or take it on itself?