My letters

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

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

To the editor:

While it may be true that New York State's funding formulas shortchange the City's public schools ("Brooklyn Calls on State for Education Dollars" and "Parents Press Golden to Help Change School Funding Formula," Flatbush Life, June 21), all the attention given to money hides the real cause of failure of the public schools. 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 how parents obtain education for their children versus buying a can of corn for their family. 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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