My letters

Submitted letters to the editor and other parties. Only a few of these were published.

Monday, June 14, 2004

To the editor:

It is most instructive having Senator Velmanette Montgomery's letter about the public schools appear in the same issue as Shavana Abruzzo's article about the public schools (Flatbush Life, June 14). The senator, predictably, says more money is needed, while Shavana shows that creative solutions are needed, having nothing to do with money and going way beyond money. The senator should know that more money is not needed. The District of Columbia has the highest expenditure per pupil in the nation except New Jersey, and has the worst performance. It is not lack of money, but the monopoly characteristic of public education that makes the outcomes unsatisfactory.

Parents have a voice in the operation of the public schools, but voice has proved useless in improving them. Compare parents' choices in obtaining education for their children versus their choices in buying a can of corn. Parents have a huge variety of canned corn from which to choose, but no voice in how it should be produced. If they don't like one kind of corn, they buy a different kind. Imagine buying corn by being assigned to a government-run grocery store in your "grocery zone" that sells only one kind, and when you complain that you don't like the corn, to be told that the corn is bad because the store needs more money. No one would stand for that kind of arrangement for buying corn, but for educating their children it seems to be OK.

It is choice, not voice, that produces satisfactory outcomes. Many parents choose their children's school by living in a "good" public-school zone. Others, who cannot afford to do that, should be able to choose their children's school, too.

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