Letter to the Editor Submitted by Emily O’Connor, Oakhurst, CA.
If someone were to ask me if I support “parent’s rights” and “school choice” it would seem like a no brainer; I am a parent with multiple children who attend local schools— I like rights and choices. But if someone were to ask me to support the privatization of public schools, I would respond with an emphatic “no.” Maybe that is why advocates of privatization use veiled language; educating people is not their main concern.
As we all know, public education is funded by tax dollars. On the other hand, privatized schools are funded by tuition from individual families. “School choice” advocates would like to redirect the funds that the state pays for each student at a public school and turn them into vouchers: your tax dollars available for use at private schools and charter schools. But who really benefits from this privatization?
Those who are dependent on public school services like: public transportation, free lunch programs, after school programs and summer school, will not find these same services at most private schools. Single parents and families with two working-parents do not have someone dedicated to drive their children to and from school, sometimes multiple times a day; they do not have the extra funds needed to cover private school tuition costs that far exceed what a state voucher can pay for. On top of that, private schools rarely have programs for children with special needs.
What “rights” and “choices” do working class families actually have when public schools fail because of lack of funding? Communities like ours show up for each other and the most fundamental way that we can do that is through continued support of public education. I urge you to inform yourself about who the candidates are for your local school board. If their platform promises “school choice” and “parent’s rights” remember that it’s a no brainer— privatized education only serves the few.