Vouchers are bad for most
I have two adult children that I love more than anything in the world and always have. They went to Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools and received an imperfect but great education. I worshiped some of their teachers, tolerated others, thought some administrators knew what they were doing and didn’t care for others. All in all, CH-UH schools and my family were a good fit. I never thought about sending them to a different system.
Irksome to me, back in the day, were folks who sent their kids to private schools but insisted on denigrating the public school system. I often wished they’d have tried the public school system before they gave up on it, but if that wasn’t going to happen, I just wanted them to treat us respectfully. I wanted them to make their school choices for their kids without explaining what was wrong with the system I was sending my kids to. Sometimes that happened and often it did not.
The situation is so different now. I just want people who are choosing to send their kids to private schools to pay for it themselves. If those folks want to talk down the public schools that they have pretty much no experience with, so be it. But do not expect me to pay for their private school choice. Private education is just that, private. It is not open to everyone, it is not under government scrutiny, it is often religious, it is often divisive not inclusive.
My hat is off to some of the following private schools that understand that they are private and do not accept vouchers: Urban Oak, Ruffing Montessori, Hathaway Brown, Laurel, University School and Hawken.
If we must have a system in Ohio that supports private education, then there are some changes that must be made. First, the State of Ohio should foot the bill, not the local community. Second, schools accepting government money must serve any and all children who want to attend. They should not be able to pick and choose. Third, there needs to be monitoring of those schools. Are the schools abiding by the state’s rules and regulations? If the child has an IEP (Individualized Education Program), is it being implemented properly? Are all subjects that the state requires being taught, and is the same testing and reporting of the testing taking place?
Every parent has both the right and obligation to make the best choices that they are able to for their children. Sometimes parents must sacrifice to make the choices they see as best. I, too, as a member of a community, need to sacrifice for the public good. I need to support and pay for public institutions open to all. I should not be required to pay for schools open to some.
Robin Koslen is a public school advocate.