Private School Choice

June 2, 2000

While the debate over private school and educational vouchers continues, a recent report from the Heritage Foundation does raise certain questions about the opponents of school choice. One of the arguments against school choice is that it will destroy America's educational system. If we give people the choice of schools, they will end up destroying the public school system.

But notice that the opponents of school choice will choose it for their kids when given the opportunity. Over the years, commentators have pointed to the fact that President Clinton and Vice President Gore have sent their kids to private school even while opposing school choice.

The latest survey by the Heritage Foundation goes further. They surveyed members of Congress and found quite a disparity between public pronouncements and private choices. For example, private school is the choice of 14 percent of Americans, but 50 percent of U.S. Senators who answered the Heritage survey send their kids to private schools. And 34 percent of members of the House of Representatives send their children.

Only 8 percent of Hispanic Americans can send their children to private school, yet 44 percent of the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus answering the Heritage survey send their kids to private school. Black Americans send their children to private school also at a rate of about 8 percent. By contrast, 32 percent of the Congressional Black Caucus choose private schools for their children.

Now I'm not condemning the members of Congress for choosing private school. I've lived in the Washington, D.C. area and would probably choose the same option for my children if given the chance. But isn't it a bit hypocritical to be so opposed to giving other parents a chance to choose private schools when you exercise that option for your kids?

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.