If there is one thing, or in this case, a collection of things which I utterly detest, it is private schools: they claim to be the go-to school for the “gifted” and “exceptional” kids of our nation, yet this is only a disguise to hide their target student body: rich, anti-American, privileged parents, who are willing to pay for a superior education for their child than what is redilly offered at a traditional public, online, or a one-on-one school. Of course, nobody who is actively attending a private school, whether it be a university or a prep academy, thinks to themselves on any given day, “wow, I sure am glad to support a system that favors the rich and keeps the poor uneducated and unable to pursue upward mobility; life is good.” Nobody is consciously aware that they are doing exactly what I just said. Nonetheless, through it is unbeknownst to them, they are actively ruining communities, hurting public good, and ruining equality on a nationwide scale.
Firstly, private schools ruin communities by creating a visible class divide between the rich and poor, which only swells economic inequality, which hurts both poor and rich families alike. Think of why private schools exist in the first place: paying upwards of $30k per year for your child’s education requires that private schools must prove that their students outperform their kin at public schools (Julie Halpert, What i f America Didn’t Have Public Schools ?, 2004). In other words, since education is a public good, then all that matters for scoring a good job and prosperous future is real and truthful learning; “if education is merely a positional good,” Jack Schneider, author of Why Private Schools Are Bad For Society asks, “are their credentials perceived as more valuable than credentials possessed by others?” Yes-- only if you want the useless distinction of attending a top university or institution, alongside evidence of qualifications for your career. Yet, though no employer will ever ask you “did you attend Harvard University?” during your job interview and will not look for it on your resume, some folks still believe it is worthwhile to spend a fortune on a nice title that makes their education appear superior. If only the richest children in communities can attend private schools because of their high tuition rates and prestigious name, then that puts middle class and poor Americans at a disadvantage in the long run, as private schools use their high tuition rates to purposefully horde resources and make their students appear more superior on paper than their counterparts.
Secondly, besides hurting communities and strengthening the economic divide between rich and poor Americans, private schools genuinely damage the good of the public, as they are anti-American and are the direct opposite of a virtuous and moral society. Indeed, it is true that some might argue that it is an individual right for someone to choose which school they can send their child to, they always fail to prove how an individuals interests (in this case) outweigh the greater interests of the general public and community. In America, while process is fueled on serving oneself and protecting one’s own personal interests, real progress is found on the thin line in between the two. In a theoretical experiment done by Julie Halpert in her 2018 article titled “What if America Didn’t Have Public Schools?”, she hypothesized which would be better for America: if every student had to attend private schools, versus public schools. In the first scenario, (an all-private-school one) the U.S. government paid strenuous amounts of money to ensure every American student could attend private schools; public good was destroyed in this option, as every individual private school desperately tried to make themselves so unique and unintelligible to the others, that it only resulted in unnecessary tension that wound up tearing communities apart. In the public school option, the opposite was true: the U.S. was able to boast a more robust, and high-performing educational atmosphere that included students of all backgrounds, whereas the latter would likely just make the best private schools only economically available to the richest students of America. Thus, since private schools are in their nature divisive and contrary to public good and community interests, the government should not support such institutions or sanction their existence in our country.
Lastly, on a nationwide scale, private schools are weakening the standard of American education as a whole, while destroying nationwide educational equality and quality overall. Indeed, the very fabric of private schools institution are inherently divisive and greedy, as they attract the best teachers and get the most private donations, whereas the increasingly low-paying job as a public school teacher has lowered the amount of good teachers at underserved schools. In Oklahoma, for example, there are upwards of 2,900 non accredited teachers trying to teach at underfunded public schools that have cut their entire school week from five days to four . This creates a significant barrier between the quality of education poor people can receive in America, versus the greedy hoarding of good teachers and quality resources for learning that private schools steal from the rest of America. If only the richest students can have the best resources, then it is inherently anti-American and hurts our educational standards nationwide, as the best and brightest from our poorest communities have less resources than the least intelligent and most laziest of the affluent in our countries.
In summary, private schools are inherently un-American because they are self-serving, not supporting the greater community of Americans, and they create a visible divide between the rich and the poor in America. Indeed, in our nation’s founding, only the richest could attend school and thus private schools represented a demographic of a small minority of particularly affluent people. Why then, knowing the selective and discriminatory roots of private school education, would one argue that the existence of public schools is fair? In American society, our leaders are constantly trying to find a democratic middle ground in between liberty and individual freedoms, and in this case, private schools are an aberration of the equality and liberty we hold dear in America. Sure, they are a technically a individual right, which means they should be outwardly illegal, as noted in the outcome of a 1925 Supreme Court case titled Pierce vs Society of Sisters , in which the Court decided that parents have the right to determine where their child will attend school. However, much like the laws and regulations surrounding gun ownership, drug usage, and other freedoms, private schools should be counterbalanced by increased funding in public schools so that there won’t be such a huge gap between the rich’s education, and the poor’s education. Only then, I promise you, will private schools be truly a virtuous American freedom, wherein both the interests of the community and the individual are met and supplied unbiasedly.
“Pierce v. Society of Sisters.” Wikipedia , Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Mar. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierce_v._Society_of_Sisters. “A Closer Look at Oklahoma's 4-Day School Week.” CBS News , CBS Interactive, www.cbsnews.com/news/a-closer-look-at-oklahomas-four-day-school-week/ . Eger, Andrea. “Teacher Shortage: Oklahoma Nearing 2,900 Non Accredited Teachers Working with Emergency Certification.” Tulsa World , 18 Dec. 2018, www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/education/teacher-shortage-oklahoma-nearing-nonaccredited-te achers-working-with-emergency-certification/article_423913ac-a14a-5033-883a-e455a030b3c8. html . Halpert, Julie. “What If America Didn't Have Public Schools?” The Atlantic , Atlantic Media Company, 4 Mar. 2018, www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/03/what-if-america-didnt-have-public-schools/552 308/ .