Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Kersten column follow-up

Posted by Craig Westover | 10:17 AM |  

This letter to the Strib misses the point as certainly the Katherine Kersten column she criticizes did.
Kersten doesn't get it

Would Katherine Kersten kindly give it up? Enough with the comparisons between private schools and public schools ("Public schools could take a page from this playbook," Dec. 5). Her transparent hammering for vouchers is demeaning to every person with even an eighth-grade education.

For the last time, private schools and public schools have two separate missions. As a public school, we are an all-comer -- the saints, the sinners, the fragile angels.

We are all called to be teachers. Last time I looked around the faculty lounge, not one of us was getting rich in this profession. Hooray for Ascension, hooray for every school out there living up to its mission. Katherine, come walk the halls and visit our classrooms -- find out why it costs more in a public school forum. In other words, go back to school and shift your paradigm.

Private schools and public schools do not have two separate missions, at least they shouldn’t. The mission is educating children that will be productive citizens, in whatever way those children choose to be productive. There may be different ways of getting there, but in the end, the only reason to spend tax dollars on education is that we wind up with productive citizens.

Public schools claim to take all students, but as I noted in this column on another private school, Al-Amal, taking all students is not the same as educating all students. No points for taking kids that the system is incapable of educating.

Hammering on vouchers may seem to be demeaning to every person with an eighth grade education, (just co-incidence that is the current equivalent of a public high school 12th grade basic skills test?), but those a little more educated understand that vouchers enable even low-income families to seek out the better performing schools and create the motivation for improvement in underperforming schools.

Kersten’s wrong in thinking one can overlay the Ascension model on public education or that doing so would be necessarily good. Marsh is wrong in thinking that “taking all comers” is an excuse for not educating them while racking up high costs.

Category: Education, School Choice