(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
HT to Jon Gabriel for alerting us to an interview on Morning Joe in which Josh Earnest addressed President Obama’s hand-wringing over the non-existent crisis of kids going to private schools. See the video here. Joe basically asks Earnest why the President would be critical of people for sending their kids to private schools when, er, he is a private school graduate and sends his daughters to private schools.
EARNEST: His point is that even if you send your kids to private school, we all have an interest in making sure we have good high quality public schools available to everybody. It’s not that far from the White House that we do have some of the best public schools in the country over in Fairfax County, Virginia.
That is an example. That is also a more wealthy than average county in the country. That is an example of a society of a community that has invested in a common good for the benefit of their community and that’s the kind of thing that we need to see all across the country. Whether that is something as simple as investing in our national parks or local parks or public schools or making sure that every single American has access to quality health insurance.
Ok, so if I am following Earnest here, the President supports public funding for K-12 along with 99% of the rest of us. I have not noticed any movement out to exempt people who send their kids to private schools from paying state and local taxes for the rest of their lives. Did Guam pass a law like that while I wasn’t looking, with it poised to spread across the country like wildfire? Did I miss that somehow?
Schools can’t run without money. It however strikes me as incredible to suggest, as the President did, that the magic high-impact dollars would be on the way to save poor children if only we could overcome our “cynicism” inspired by
decades of increased spending with precious little to show for it nefarious right-wingers.
People have honest and deeply felt disagreements about how much we should be spending on public education. If you want to champion the interest of poor children in the K-12 system, you must be willing to ruthlessly pursue efforts to extract the maximum possible amount of value from each dollar invested. Bill Clinton was fond of a certain Einstein quote about the definition of insanity, and it certainly applies here.