A World Without Private Schools

Posted by Nikhil Swaminathan

schoolmoney-784848Celebrated charter school founder Steve Barr likes to envision an education system where private schools are illegal. "What would happen if Bill Gates had to send his kids to public school?" he asks in lectures. "He'd go to McKinsey and demand that they turn this stuff around!"Well, according to an article in USA Today, we may be getting a glimpse into just what might happened if private schools went extinct. The impetus: The recession--which is forcing many private school-favoring parents to send their kids to public school for financial reasons.These parents, who are used to being treated as customers by private school administrations, are providing a template for engagement with their children's education that, while other parents may not follow, may end up benefitting kids other than their own."Those of us who have seen other options are not as likely to accept the P.R.," says an Evanston, Illinois, mother who was interviewed for the piece. "They'll tell me, 'It can't be done, it can't be done,' and I don't understand why it can't be done, because the private schools managed to do it."If parent-teacher organizations are strengthened and accountability within the classroom is being demanded, it seems like this trend of one-time private school parents having to send their kids to public school will be a net-positive. A proof of what Barr  has been espousing all along (as in the video below from PopTech).The catch: What will happen to all these students (and more importantly, their parents) when the economy recovers?Photo via