For this reason, I’m not asking you to enroll your kids at Petra Academy (though I wouldn’t be a good Headmaster unless I offered to talk with you if you’re interested). But I am asking you to consider why those who do should have the same opportunity and support to send their kids to Petra that you have to send your kids to your school.
Despite the efforts to prolong the myth, education is not neutral; as a classical Christian school, Petra’s certainly isn’t, and as a government school, neither is your school. With curriculum, faculty, administration, and families all in the mix, there can simply be no question that the education provided by a school – any school – is going to be biased; the question for every parent is, “What is that bias and is that what I want for my kids?” If it is, great, but if not, a parent should be free to explore other options.
Fine, politicians and pundits say, but they’re not going to pay for them. In fact, parents who “opt out” of the government school system (as if ever given the choice to “opt in”) still have to support the school they’re leaving with their taxes in addition to paying for whatever “other” education they want. The argument, of course, goes that tax payer money cannot be used to fund religious schools, but any belief system – even and especially the one that ostensibly espouses non-belief – is a faith system itself with traditions, tenets, and trust in something. Whatever the object of that trust – whether secular humanism’s reverence of man or scientism’s adoration of the objective – there is as much faith present in your school as there is in mine.
In a society like our ours that aspires to pluralism, this is fine; however, educational funding should not be offered to one family while withheld from another under the false dichotomy of religious or non-religious schooling. If the state and federal governments insist on collecting taxes for the purpose of education, then fund all the parents instead of only some of the schools. Let the parents – not the politicians – decide where their kids would best learn and make it easier for them to get there.
Did you know that, according to the American Federation for Children, 70 percent of Americans support school choice, with support even higher among growing demographic groups such as Hispanic voters (76%) and millennial voters (75%)? In addition, did you know that choice improves all schools? In “A Win-Win Solution,” published by EdChoice in 2016, 31 of 33 studies show that student outcomes in traditional public schools improve where school choice is introduced.
Why is this last statistic the case? Because no one school can meet all the needs of each and every student; Petra can’t, and your school can’t, either, as evidenced by the fact that we have families from your school who come to ours (and at times, vice versa). This is not anyone’s fault, but it is everyone’s problem, the solving of which requires more – not fewer – options for families.