Thursday, October 06, 2011
Rhode Island Catholic
In his recent letter to the editor, Deacon John Needham said that the common goal of education should be a literate populace. I couldn’t agree more.
An educated populace is the key to the preservation of liberty.
This is why Deacon Needham should support private school vouchers and charter schools, not oppose them. Both private schools and charter schools, like traditional public schools, educate citizens and thus ensure the preservation of our democracy. Moreover, they allow children and families the ability to find a suitable education alternative when the traditional system just isn’t working for whatever reason.
Like so many others, I believe Deacon Needham equates our desire for public education with public, state-run schools. They are two very separate ideas. We agree as a society to fund the education of all of our children, but that is very different than the operating of a government-run school. In fact, we are the only industrialized democracy that links the two so closely. Other countries have no problem with public funds going to private schools because they understand that focus should not be on where the child goes to school but that the child gets educated.
Looking at it this way, it becomes clear that any public funds spent on a child’s education, in whatever setting, furthers our mutual goal of an educated citizenry. The public school doesn’t deserve the money simply because it exists; the child deserves the money so that they can attend whatever school – public, private or charter – that best serves their educational needs.
President and CEO,
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice