About 11% of all parents — nationwide, rural and urban — send their children to private schools. The numbers are much higher in urban areas. One study found that in Philadelphia a staggering 44% of public school teachers send their own kids to private schools.
In Cincinnati and Chicago, 41% and 39% of public school teachers pay for a private school education for their children. In Rochester, N.Y., it’s 38%, in Baltimore 35%, in San Francisco 34% and in New York-northeastern New Jersey 33%.
In Los Angeles nearly 25% of public school teachers send their kids to private school versus 16% of Angelenos who do so.
The 2004 study by the Fordham Institute said its findings “are apt to be embarrassing for teacher unions, considering those organizations’ political animus toward assisting families to select among schools. But these results do not surprise most practicing teachers to whom we speak.”
“The data have shown the same basic pattern since we first happened upon them two decades ago: Urban public school teachers are more apt to send their own children to private schools than is the general public. One might say this shows how conservative teachers are. They continue doing what they’ve always done. Or it might indicate that they have long been discerning connoisseurs of education …
“The middle class will tolerate a lot — disorder, decay and dismay, an unwholesome environment, petty crime, potholes, chicanery and rudeness. One thing, however, that middle class parents will not tolerate is bad schools for their children. To escape them, they will pay out-of-pocket or vote with their feet. That is what discerning teachers do.”
What about members of Congress? Where do they send their own children? A 2007 Heritage Foundation study found that 37% of representatives and 45% of senators with school-age children sent their own kids to private school.
Of the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus with school-age children, 38% sent them to private school. Of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus with school-age children, 52% sent them to private school.
The ex-mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, was asked why he didn’t have his own kids in public school despite his strong advocacy of public education. Villaraigosa, whose wife was a public school teacher, said:
“I’m doing like every parent does. I’m going to put my kids in the best school I can. My kids were in a neighborhood public school until just this year. We’ve decided to put them in a Catholic school. We’ve done that because we want our kids to have the best education they can.
“If I can get that education in a public school, I’ll do it, but I won’t sacrifice (emphasis added) my children any more than I could ask you to do the same.”
When he got elected president, Barack Obama and his wife made a big display of looking into Washington, D.C., public schools for his two daughters to attend. But the Obamas chose Sidwell Friends, the elite private school whose alums include Chelsea Clinton.
Obama’s own mother sent her then-10-year-old to live with her parents — so he could attend Punahou Academy, the most exclusive prep school in Honolulu. In fact, from Punahou to Occidental (a private college in Los Angeles) to Columbia (where he completed college) to Harvard Law, Obama is a product of private education.
So how does this square with Obama’s opposition to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that offered a voucher for the children of participating parents? It doesn’t.
The best way to help all children – especially poor and minority children – get ahead in life is by giving their parent(s) vouchers and letting them choose public or private schools. But Democrats can’t do that – they want their supporters in the teacher unions to have a captive audience. That way, come election time, the Democrats can count on an army of big-government supporters. It’s very important to understand that Democrats don’t want what’s best for children. They don’t want them to have a choice. They don’t want them to have a quality education. They want to bribe public school teachers to help them get elected.