Would you eat at a restaurant that the cooks and wait staff avoided themselves? Wouldn’t that tell you everything you needed to know about the quality of the food they were serving? Likewise, as public school teachers send their own children to private schools at about TWICE the rate of the general public, and at an even HIGHER rate in our urban centers, doesn’t that tell us more about the quality of our schools than a huge stack of glossy, bureaucrat-generated reports about test scores?
A survey conducted by EducationNext in 2015 found that 20% of public school teachers had sent their own children to private schools at some point compared to 13% of non-teachers. Those figures don’t include public school teachers who live in another county or district to avoid the schools where they teach.
In 2004, an even more comprehensive national study by the Fordham Institute revealed even more disturbing figures. According to that survey, more than 1 in 5 public school teachers sent their children to private schools, which is consistent with the EducationNext study. Nationally, 11% of non-teachers made that same choice. But the Fordham Institute dug more deeply into the choices being made by parents and teachers in our large urban centers.
In Philadelphia, for example, 44 percent of the PUBLIC SCHOOL teachers put their children in private schools; in Cincinnati, it was 41 percent, and Chicago (39 percent) and Rochester, N.Y. (38 percent), also have high figures. In the San Francisco-Oakland area, 34 percent of public school teachers enrolled their children in private schools, and in New York City, it was 33 percent.
What about Nashville? The Fordham Institute discovered that 7.2% of Nashville families chose private education for their children compared to 28.6% of public school teachers. Public school teachers were avoiding their own schools at FOUR TIMES the rate of the general public! Again, that didn’t include the number of teachers who chose to live in Nashville’s suburbs to avoid the Nashville public schools where they taught and where they saw the education product being produced.
A detailed and current survey of where Nashville public school teachers send, or have sent, their own children to school is long overdue. Not because teachers should be condemned for making the best choice for their kids, but for allowing the Tennessee Eduction Association’s union lobbyists and anti-choice politicians to deny those same opportunities to families that can’t afford the same option they have exercised.
And while we are at it, let’s take a look at the figures related to elected officials, Education Administration and TEA employees, and other vocal opponents of parental choice to reveal their hypocrisy. Their refusal to answer the question will be the answer.
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Steve Gill is the Political Editor of The Tennessee Star.