NYT Readers Respond to Heather Gautney’s Critique of "School Choice"

ST Collective Member Heather Gautney recently published a letter to the editor in The New York Times critiquing the ideology of “choice” that underwrites the privatization of education and “[exacerbates] the problem of ‘apartheid’ schooling.”

Click here to read the debate.

From her initial letter:

“School choice” does not really involve choice for many American children. It’s a privilege that enables some parents to opt their children out of public schools. These trends pose a no-win ethical dilemma for parents, especially those in big cities: Do we personally invest in our public schools by sending our kids to them, even if that means walking through metal detectors to get to class, coping with high teacher turnover, and having only limited access to academic and extracurricular resources? Or should we provide the best opportunities our privilege can buy, at the expense of things like diversity and social justice that we all claim to value? …

Education is a microcosm of a host of problems linked to social inequality. In the United States, “public” has come to signify the bottom of the barrel. But it should denote our concerted best, what we can achieve when we put our minds — and our wallets — together.

Many readers have submitted responses to the initial letter, and Gautney has since chimeed in with a final note.

Read the thread in its entirely on The New York Times’ website.


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Heather Gautney