The real parasite is the union monopolized public schools

To the Editor:

For the second time in recent memory, I have found myself in the unenviable position of defending one liberal from an attack by another. Most conservatives would probably chuckle to themselves and enjoy watching the spectacle but I take public education too seriously for that.

I’m referring to a recent letter in The Altamont Enterprise by Aaron Harrell in which he tells one whopper of a fish story about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desire to increase funding for charter schools. Mr. Harrell drew an analogy between lampreys sucking the blood out of a host fish, to charter schools sucking the funding out of public schools.

The first problem with this comparison is that charter schools are also public schools. The glaring difference between them is that the successful charter schools are not burdened with union politics. They are free to focus on the child and not on a top-heavy system.

If we were to take a broader view of education, one where public education as a whole would more appropriately be considered the host, the real parasite is unquestionably the union monopolized public schools. They have taxed New York’s parents to the point where fewer and fewer are able to afford to put their children in private or parochial schools — the shrinking portion of our public education host.

As a telling aside, just a little FYI, public-school teachers send their children to private schools more often than the rest of the general public.

Until charter schools came along, parents who exercised their right to choose their children’s school had to pay twice. They had to pay the tax imposed by the nearest public school simply because it was the most proximate to their home and they also had to pay for the “right” to send their children to a school of their choice. This has given an unfair advantage to wealthier parents who could afford to purchase their educational rights. 

Charter schools are just a baby step in the right direction. They are a liberal alternative to the conservative concept of full school choice for all. They bring the freedom of choice, albeit limited, to parents who cannot otherwise afford to buy it.

The big cities, all of which are Democrat strongholds, are not the only places where people can’t afford to buy their rights. There are plenty of people in rural and suburban communities who have been pinched by property tax rates that aren’t indexed to income.

Our antiquated system of determining a family’s school tax, based on the value of a home it most often purchased at the height of its earning potential, has no regard for the inevitable low points in that family’s income stream. Charter schools are a bridge across the lamprey-filled streams of income inequality.

David Crawmer
East Greenbush

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