Abandoning public education will be considered unthinkable 50 years from now

Adia Harvey Wingfield, professor of sociology in Arts & Sciences

 

For many parents, when it comes to their children’s educational opportunities, they want only the best. American parents are often driven by the belief that educational advantages will allow children to accomplish ambitious goals. Thus, parents’ educational decisions are deceptively simple — do whatever it takes to get children into the best school available.

But in 50 years, we’ll look back at how a declining public sector has led to a dizzying array of increasingly out-of-reach options — whether that’s private schools, charter schools, or “good” public schools in inaccessible expensive areas — and consider it unthinkable. We’ll be living in a much more demographically diverse country, likely reconsidering what choosing “the best” looks like and thinking more about how all too often, uncritical definitions of what’s best reproduce racial and economic inequality. In this light, it will be necessary to reinvest in public education so that it becomes more of a democratizing force and less a mechanism for maintaining inequality.

Read the full piece in Vox.

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