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Do Parents Have a Moral Obligation to Send Their Kids to the Local Public School?

Take the poll and leave your comments.

It’s the end of April when many soon-to-be parents have already made their school choice for this fall.

For many, deciding between and  for their child was a big part of the grueling process, and a political one, too. A recent article on www.babble.com by Rhiana Maidenberg has left some Menlo Park parents wondering about their school choice, bringing up questions like:

• Is it a moral obligation as a parent to send your kids to public school?

• Is being a part of the public system really going to fix it?

• Will I sacrifice my child’s education to be the one to make things better at the local public school?

• Will the private school be socially and economically diverse enough to help my child grow to be a well-rounded world citizen?

In the article Maidenberg explains why she’s sending her kids to public school despite the public system’s flaws such as budget cuts, large class sizes, minimal resources to support the influx of English Language Learners, and the standardized testing of the No Child Left Behind mandates, which are intended to narrow the achievement gap but has subjected children to an endless regimen of test-preparation drills instead.

Maidenberg says she’s making the choice “to be a part of the greater system, hoping to see a trend of more families with the time and means to invest in public schools actually doing so — because if we don’t take the time to make quality public education a possibility for all children, who will?”

The moral obligation idea is altruistic and lovely in its concept of personal sacrifice for the collective common good — that we have a moral obligation to educate all children — not just our own. But is supporting a public institution, which for some parents has failed to impress them, at the cost of their children's education beyond the call of duty?

Here at Menlo Park Patch, we want to hear from you about this.

We know parents want a quality education for children, and many private and public school parents would both agree that there is a great and pressing need to invest in the public school system.

But why do some parents opt out and choose a private school? Are those parents “immoral” or un-politically correct for not sending their children to the local public school? Is going to a private school instead of the local public school a disservice to the community? Do parents have a moral obligation to send their kids to the local public school?

Please take the poll below and tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

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Roberta April 28, 2012 at 03:35 PM
What a divisive article. My children went to private schools because of the religious element and family history with these institutions. Also, every family that sends their children to private school also pays taxes that support our public schools in addition to the tuition that they pay to the private school of their choice. If all families sent their children to public schools, there would be even less money to support public schools. I am a fervent and vocal supporter of both options. I support fundraisers for any school. Their was not a moral/immoral element to my choice.
Albert Rubio April 28, 2012 at 10:57 PM
So called 'Public Education' is one of the most misunderstood and politicized topics. * 'Public' is a euphamism for 'Government', hence it is correct to call it 'Government Education' * If you have a Gov School, you have a Gov Curriculum. This is antithetical to free thought and learning in free society. * The Gov School System is a Socialized System. This means that the state employs and owns the means of production. * Because it is socialized by the state, it is idealogically driven by particular political ideas and the self interest of members employed by the system. * because Government makes schooling compulsory, and such schools APPEAR as free when compared to private schools, this makes state schools a virtual monopoly. * A legally socialized monopoly is protected from the competition it would otherwise face in the market. * Without market competition, the public is forever burdened with high costs and sub standard performance. * The system is paid for by obligatory taxation. this means non users subsidize everyone else while having the additional costs of educating their own children. * If schools were part of the voluntary market instead, society would save the political overhead in time and money currently wasted, and be able to freely decide how best meet each educational need in quality, qauntity and cost. * It is in the nature of Compulsory Government Schooling to continually expand its monopoly position in society.
Albert Rubio May 01, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Free Download, Education: Free and Compulsory by Murray N. Rothbard http://mises.org/document/2689 What is it about today's school system that so many find unsatisfactory? Why have so many generations of reformers failed to improve the educational system, and, indeed, caused it to degenerate further and further into an ever declining level of mediocrity? Rothbard identifies the feature that dooms it to fail: at every level, from financing to attendance, the system relies on compulsion instead of voluntary consent. Certain consequences follow. The curriculum is politicized to reflect the ideological priorities of the party in power. Standards are continually dumbed down to accommodate the least common denominator. The brightest children are not permitted to achieve their potential, and the mid-level learners become little more than cogs in a machine. The teachers themselves are hamstrung by a political apparatus that watches their every move. Rothbard explores the history of compulsory schooling to show that none of this is accidental. The state has long used compulsory schooling, backed by egalitarian ideology, as a means of citizen control. In contrast, a market-based system of schools would adhere to a purely voluntary ethic, financed with private funds, and administered entirely by private enterprise. If education reform is ever to bring about fundamental change, it will have to begin with a complete rethinking of public schooling that Rothbard offers here.
Albert Rubio May 01, 2012 at 06:12 AM
My views to the questions posed in the article: • Is it a moral obligation as a parent to send your kids to public school? This would be a Socialist morality only. The results do not recommend this morality during its century long experiment. Note that the complaints in 1950 still mirror those of today. Life Magazine Oct 16, 1950, special education issue: http://books.google.com/books?id=CEwEAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false • Is being a part of the public system really going to fix it? This resembles shallow wishful thinking in disregard of any analysis of the issues. • Will I sacrifice my child’s education to be the one to make things better at the local public school? likely yes. Most parents fortunately make practical decisions in the interest of their children. Supporters of Government compulsory schools, in contrast, are willing to sacrifice the education of generations of other peoples children for their ideological beliefs. • Will the private school be socially and economically diverse enough to help my child grow to be a well-rounded world citizen? Specialized voluntary schools exposed to competition are likely to produce much better results at less cost. By extracting high taxes and piling on bond debt and interest, the burden increases for people who are barely able to afford alternatives. Increasing tax burdens forces more people into the government school system, making it a growing compulsory monopoly.

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