A Tale of Two School Systems
March 21, 2013
Amid legislative hand-wringing over the proposed expansion of Wisconsin’s school choice program comes an illustration of why choice is eagerly embraced by families who have access to it, and why it’s so badly needed by so many more.
Last week, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and allied groups attracted adverse attention for injecting atonement for “white privilege” into the classroom routine. If the term is unfamiliar, white privilege is roughly defined as the thing that frustrates non-white students trying to achieve success by working hard and following the rules.
We’re guessing talk-radio criticism of the white privilege agenda hit a nerve, because on the DPI-sponsored CREATE Wisconsin website, links to a three-day April conference on the subject still appeared this past weekend, but the details went missing.
Simultaneously, in a less race-obsessed setting, Milwaukee students who can’t possibly be accused of benefiting from “white privilege” have once again demonstrated the liberating effects of school choice. All of this year’s graduates from Hope Christian High School—ALL of them—have been accepted for higher education at various post-secondary institutions.
The white privilege agenda is just one more exhibit in an endless parade of distractions from the real business of public education. Some are simply time-wasters and otherwise comparatively benign; others are actively corrosive. Their common characteristic—and their irresistible appeal for defenders of educational mediocrity—is that they’re so much easier than the job schools are supposed to do.
But if privilege is reserved for a select group and more equal distribution of opportunity is seriously desired as the antidote, there can hardly be a better way to serve that goal than by broadly expanding school choice and allowing more kids to escape bureaucratized schools pursuing everything except their real mission.