Public Teachers Send Their Own Children to Private Schools

It says a whole lot about a product when employees refuse to use it.
Private Elementary School Kids Holding Hands

If a cook or waiter never ate their restaurant’s food, I would have some questions. What do they know about what happens behind the kitchen doors that I don’t? They see the food being made and obviously they don’t like what they see.

Well, a disproportionate number of public school teachers have seen behind their school’s doors and decided that their school’s product is not right for their own children. Across the country, roughly 10% of students attend a private school while American public school teachers enroll their children at nearly twice that rate, 21.5%. In some cities, it is nearly four times the average rate.

That is quite the vote of confidence. They see the curriculum, the behavior, the policies, the bureaucracy, the instruction, the state of the buildings, and much more, and have decided en masse to send their own kids elsewhere.

A more recent survey paints a similar picture. Roughly 20% of public school teachers have sent their own children to private schools. Three out of ten have utilized some alternative schooling option – charter, private, or home.

While unions and teacher protests vocally champion the abstract concept of public education, real teachers have voted with their feet. Their revealed preference so to speak is for school choice.

I myself am such a teacher. I taught in public schools for a number of years but my daughter will not attend one. I saw more physical violence and verbal abuse in these buildings than some people see in a lifetime. Students there did not learn how to live and exist in a pluralistic democracy. They learned conflict. Curricula subtly advanced a progressive worldview. Some teachers were exceptional. Others, not so much.

It is seemingly the cultural norm for political opponents of school choice to enroll their own children in private schools. This trend is blatant hypocrisy.

But I don’t think the same of public school teachers that make this choice. There’s nothing inherently unethical about an employee at one company using a product of another obviously. Nor would it be concerning if a handful of employees did so. But it certainly says a whole lot about that product if a large chunk of employees choose to not use the product that they themselves create.

We have something of an obsession with the insider look and the opinion of the experts. Political consultants make a career out of publishing tell-all books of their time in this or that administration. Teachers have this insider look, the expert perspective of public schooling.

What does it say, then, that 4 out of 10 Chicago public school teachers will pay money so their children don’t have to attend a school in the district in which they teach?

Daniel Buck
Daniel Buck is a teacher, editor in chief of the Chalkboard Review, and a senior visiting fellow at the Fordham Institute. His writing can be found at National Review Online, City Journal, and the New York Post.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chalkboard Review team.

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