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Beating the public school system

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes about how the school choice issue was front and center for her struggling single mom before it was a big deal nationally. Her mom basically lied to get her daughter into a better school instead of the one the state picked out for the girl. Excerpt:

I write this so many years later because right now, the school choice debate is leaving out people like my mother: parents who embrace choice because they believe they have no other choice. It is a conversation that happens largely among highly educated people in fancy conference rooms and on lofty campaign platforms, in highbrow publications and among rarefied circles.

… I wonder now what my mother would have made of today’s school choice discussion and the passions it stirs on all sides. (She passed away not long after I finished elementary school.) I think she would have been surprised to see so many of her fellow self-identifying liberals, usually so sympathetic to cash-strapped parents, fighting to keep her from exercising the choice she felt was her right as a taxpayer and her duty as a mother.

For my part, I find it remarkable that many who support the status quo with such ardor vigorously exercise their own choice by sending their children to expensive private institutions gated off from public school hoi polloi. But I know my mother also would have found it surprising that people who otherwise think little about poor kids today embrace vouchers with the kind of ideological fervor those on the other side once reserved for the gold standard.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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