Public Schools Are a Waste of Money.
On January 13, 2011, an article was published in a local Orland Park, Illinois newspaper, with the following title:
District 135 considering civil suit against district jumping parent.
Read it if you want, but you can probably guess what the article’s about from the title. Yep, a father wanted his kid to go to school in a district other than the one he lived in. The father lived in Blue Island, Illinois, and wanted his daughter to go to school in Orland Park. Both communities are suburbs of Chicago. The father falsified an affidavit as to his residence, which was eventually discovered, and he was sentenced to six months probation for lying. That the guy was stuck sending his kid to a school in Blue Island, whether he wanted to or not, isn’t the point of this post…although it certainly could be.
The newspaper article mentioned that the district was considering suing the man for tuition. I heard on the radio today that it did so. Of course, the public school in District 135 doesn’t charge “tuition,” per se. Like every other school district, it extracts the money at gunpoint in the form of local property taxes. Because of this, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out exactly how much each kid costs. Well, the article has it: $10,000.00. For one kid. In junior high. It’s difficult for me to express just how astonishingly high this “tuition” is; but let’s try.
A nearby private Christian school, Liberty Christian Academy, located in more affluent Arlington Heights, Illinois, charges $4,450.00 for a junior high student. And additional kids from the same family get a discount. More expensive private schools can approach $6-7,000/student for junior high. According to Liberty’s website, 90% of the graduating high school seniors go onto college.
There must be a reason for the difference in costs, right? What is the junior high student in District 135 getting for $10,000.00? Well, according to the 2009 National National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, not much (I can’t link the actual report…it’s a pdf). A little over two-thirds of the eighth grade students are considered either below or at the “basic” level of math and reading. Am I saying that District 135 provides a crappy education, or graduates minimally proficient junior high students? Not necessarily. There are lots of different tests used to evaluate the public schools, and it looks like District 135 is doing fine on some of them. Does scoring well on any of the tests matter? Who knows.
What I do know is this: the public education system in this country is a complete boondoggle that is totally unnecessary. It costs an absurd amount of money, and at the very least, doesn’t do any better than private schools in educating the youth. This is why the Department of Education should be defunded and a voucher system put into place on the local level so that parents can send their kids where they want. Honestly, can anyone explain to me the point of the public education system? $10,000 a student? In-state tuition at a lot of state universities doesn’t cost that much. And since the families aren’t paying $10,000 in property taxes, the rest comes from the government.
Some guy called into the liberal talk-radio show that I was listening to today, complaining about how the right was trying to kill public education and force everyone into a private school. He, obviously, was against this alleged plan. Why? Well, according to him, it’s because private school students were having to read Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche instead of Steinbeck. Well, as a life-time private school matriculator (k-law school), I can say that I’ve had to read Steinbeck, didn’t read Nietzsche until my political philosophy class in college, and read Rand only during free time. Of course, the caller also claimed that private schools only teach Creationism, as opposed to evolution. This is also not true…we just don’t buy into the “we all came from monkeys” theory. Of course, in a private school, if a parent has issues with the curriculum, they can actually get a hold of somebody on the school board. Good luck with that at a public school.
The public education system is an entitlement program that offers virtually no value, especially for the cost. Americans demand choice in everything else…why not with their education? I ask myself almost every day why the people of the United States have so little interest in disbanding this stupid system that literally forces families to send their kids to schools that are terrible. And then sues them if they try and send them somewhere else. I just don’t get it.