The Case For Banning Private Education.
We should aim for a complete education overhaul here in the United States.
While the pandemic has left a lasting impact on lives all across the United States and the world at large, if nothing else it has served as a stark reminder of just how drastic the wedge between the elite class and virtually everyone else has become in recent years. At a moment when tens of millions still find themselves without work, charging the cost of existence to credit cards and unable to afford food on the table let alone rent payments, it’s been near impossible not to notice how the richest among us have seen drastic increases to their wealth due to the exact circumstances that have caused economic devastation for the masses. As we navigate through these unprecedented times and the once unlikely ideas of universal basic income and Medicare for All become part of mainstream discourse, why not think bigger elsewhere, too?
While we imagine free public college for all and student debt cancellation, why not imagine the banning of private education altogether?
It’s been done before. In Finland, their Ministry of Education and Culture came to the conclusion that charging tuition for basic education is barred by the Finnish constitution. As a result all children go to school on equal footing with education functionally designed to be the great equalizer that it is, and Finland is evidently considered number one in terms of High School completion rate.
If Finland can manage to find the resources to invest in equalizing education for their young people, why can’t the United States? Is it really a stretch to imagine a scenario where the money America’s wealthy invest in tuition fees and buying their children’s way into elite institutions was put towards public education for all instead?
Whether they’re Republican or Democrat, politicians love to discuss how important education is, and how children deserve the best quality education in order to set them on the right course for a bright future. The inherent nature of private education is to ensure a certain class of people are given every opportunity that a good education can offer, keeping the very best of resources for themselves at the expense of education for the rest. Whether it be the dilapidated buildings, crowded classrooms, or the fact that school funding tied to property taxes makes that education inequality inevitable, communities all over the nation have experienced first hand what it’s like to have the basic right of education treated as a commodity.
When it comes to systemic inequality, inequity in education is arguably at the core of preserving inequality in virtually every other aspect of society. When a child is guaranteed a better education than another because of their zip code, how can we argue otherwise? A child with no alternative but to attend a severely defunded, crowded public school is not on the same footing as a child whose parents are able to afford tens of thousands in tuition to send them to a prestigious private school that is able to offer a student the very best.
Private education is yet another tool for the rich to keep the resources in their hands, creating a two tiered system that affects futures of children all across the country before they’re even old enough to realize it. With America in a moment where it is forced to reimagine our current system, why not reimagine education as well? It is in the best interest of society to foster quality education for all of our children, not just the ones whose parents can afford it.