Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Public Schools For Everyone's Kids Except Public Teachers'

I'd sure love to hear the CTA's/NEA's explanation and justification for this:
In his latest weekly column, economist and GMU professor Walter E. Williams presents these facts about where various groups of parents send their own children – private or public schools:

General public: Nationally, 11% of all parents enroll their children in private schools, and 89% of American students attend public schools.

Public School Teachers: Nationally, more than 20% of public school teachers with school-age children enroll them in private schools, or almost twice the 11% rate for the general public.


PeggyU said...

Does "private school" include home schooling, or is this just poorly worded? The way it is written, it has to, since it seems to say that 89% of American students attend public schools + another 11% of all parents enroll their children in private schools, for a total of 100%.

Darren said...

I don't know what the %age of homeschoolers is.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Some years back a local newspaper ran a similar story about Detroit Public school district teachers. As I recall the percentage of teachers with kids who had them packed off to private schools was somewhere in the thirty percent range.

Giving some thought to the story now, I wonder what percentage of the remainder went to DPS magnet schools? Not that they were anything to write home about but they were a considerable step up from many of the district high schools.

PeggyU said...

I believe I read it was somewhere around 2%. I got that from the Department of Education website, which is shut down now on account of the standoff in Washington. No great loss, though.

Anonymous said...

Darren: "I'd sure love to hear the CTA's/NEA's explanation and justification for this..."

Well, I'm not from either the CTA or NEA, but this stat isn't new. Public school teachers have been sending their kids to non-public schools for a while and I did look into this myself a number of years ago. I can provide an explanation (but not a justification).

So ... the short version is that:
(a) the more income someone has, the more likely that someone is to send their kids to private school, and
(b) public school teachers have a higher than average income than the US population as a whole.

(a) shouldn't be very surprising.
(b) shouldn't be very surprising when one remembers that your typical public school teacher has at least a BA degree and the average American adult has less education than that.

The upshot is/was that public school teachers tended to send their kids to private school at roughly the rate you would expect from the US as a whole based on household income.

This doesn't change the fact that it *LOOKS* pretty bad :-)

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...


Wikipedia says 88% public 9% private and 3% homeschooling. The DoE web site with the raw data is down right now, but there was a very recent DoE (or census?) report that put homeschooling at closer to 4% than 3%.

So, the 11% probably includes homeschooler and is probably low. 12% or 12.5% for both private and homeschooled kids would be more correct.

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

Public school teachers may send their kids to private schools at a rate commensurate with their pay, but that doesn't explain why their unions don't want people to do that (and neither does it explain why teachers don't value the schools they teach in).

On the other hand, my guess is you already knew that and were just trying to draw attention away from the obvious hypocrisy.

momod4 said...

Even when teachers' kids attend public schools, teachers are disproportionately likely (compared to non-teacher parents) to be able to have their kids transferred to (1) a better school than assigned, (2)a special or magnet program/school and/or (3) the school where the parent teaches. In latter case, teachers- unlike parents- are usually able to select specific teacher(s). I've seen it in action many times, over decades and in different districts/states/counties.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Nice try Mark but teachers send their kids to private schools because no parent is better positioned to appreciate how dreadful those schools are then the teachers who are employed therein.

A study by Foredham some years back gives an idea of just how little faith teachers have in the public education system when it comes to their own kids -

That study was released in 2004. Almost ten years later the number of charter schools has expanded considerable so it'd be interesting to see what percentage of those teachers line up to try to get their kids into charters.

Anonymous said...

Turn it on it's head: teachers who send their kids to private schools prefer to work at public schools for the superior pay and benefits afforded to them in union shops.

They prefer private schools for their kids, but would never work in such terrible conditions, themselves.

Darren said...

I doubt the conditions are horrible; on the contrary, you *never* hear about a "teacher shortage" in private schools.

Ellen K said...

Ten years ago, I had no problem sending my three now grown children to public schools. Now, I have serious reservations and have told my son that he needs to make plans for his now three year old little boy to be in a good private school. My recommendation was a Catholic school. Catholic schools still largely represent a traditional educational alternative. While Christian schools are growing in number, there are far too many that slap the word Christian on there as a marketing afterthought. Within walking distance of my high school are two Christian schools both of which offer marginal curriculum in return for high tuition. Other private schools vary as to their mission statements. The sad thing is, somewhere deep inside I still believe that a free public education is the cornerstone of our culture. The concept that anyone could rise to the level of their abilities was one that we have treasured in the recent past. It would appear now that we no longer live in a merit based culture and that every advance will require a litmus test in order to be considered valid. I can retire in a little over four years. In a way, I hate leaving because I honestly don't think there are others who will work as hard or care as much about students beyond the classroom. On the other hand, mandates from draconian special ed reporting and inclusion to the stilted and distracted learning pushed upon teachers by administrations far removed from the classroom are driving teachers out. I know five such teachers that will retire this year. These are key teachers and department leaders. More will leave in the years to come. While somewhere there are young teachers humming "Circle of Life" having mentored student teachers for awhile now, I can tell you we are heading for a big fall.

Darren said...

I've said it forever: universal public education is sacred, public schools are not.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Oh anon, you try so hard and for so little reward.

Whichever way you slice it the people who know public education, literally from the inside out, prefer in significantly higher percentage then the public in general to decline the blessings of the institution that provides them a paycheck. More simply, the public education system sucks and teachers with kids know it and are willing to put a price tag on their knowledge.

W.R. Chandler said...

I can guaran-damn-tee you that I would NEVER let my two children attend the middle school at which I teach.