Perhaps it’s age, but when I hear the phrase “you are a bad person” I see children taunting each other in a schoolyard.
Apparently, it’s meant to be a crushing moral judgment. To me it feels puerile.
Anyway, if you send your children to private school, Allison Benedikt thinks you are a bad person. You are especially bad if you live in a place like New York City and do not send your children to one of the city’s many substandard public schools.
Why does that make you a bad person? Forgetting about Benedikt’s reasoning, which barely merits the name, she seems especially torqued that she and her husband cannot afford to send their children to private schools. Thus, they have made a virtue out of necessity. And if you do not do the same, you are a bad person.
Of course, New York City has some excellent public schools. But, only those who live in the right neighborhoods can avail themselves of these schools. Otherwise, if you cannot afford to live in the right neighborhood and cannot afford private schools, then the logical solution is to move out of the city.
There is no shame in not being able to bring up three children in New York. For those who do not live in the Big Apple, three children in private school will cost you over $100,000 in after-tax dollars. Buying an apartment that is big enough for a family of five will likely cost you millions.
People who want the best for their children do not rail against the system; they move out of the city.
Sending a child to private school is not a crime. You are not a bad person if you do everything in your power to procure the best education for your child.
Depriving your child of the best education by putting them in a dysfunctional school where learning is impossible is grossly irresponsible and morally reprehensible. Doing so makes you a less than good parent.
If so many good liberal and progressive New Yorkers refuse to send their children to New York’s public schools, the real reason is that they refuse to sacrifice their children for a cause. Anyone who proposes this sanitized version of human sacrifice is a bad person.
Examine Benedikt’s argument:
But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.
Apparently, she does not believe in giving your child the best. You ought merely to give him what he needs.
You want the best for your child, but your child doesn’t need it.
Doesn’t that remind you of the old dictum: “From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.”
Benedikt seems to believe that a few more wealthy students—the number of children in private schools is around 10%-- would naturally improve bad city schools. If not today and if not tomorrow, then perhaps within a few generations.
What makes her think that a few generations of mediocre education will improve anything.
The 10% is a very small group. Will these childrenlead the charge toward excellence or will they be dragged down by an atmosphere that makes it impossible to learn.
And why does Benedikt believe that wealthy parents will be able to take over the public school system? It is more likely that they will move to places where their children can get the best education. Besides, the school system is controlled by the teachers unions and bureaucrats.
As it happened, Benedikt herself went to a bad public school. For reasons that escape me she is proud of the fact that she did not receive much of an education. If anything, her musings on the public school system demonstrate that she does not know how to think.
Here she describes her own education:
I went K–12 to a terrible public school. My high school didn’t offer AP classes, and in four years, I only had to read one book. There wasn’t even soccer. This is not a humblebrag! I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.
We are all happy that Benedikt is doing fine. But, since when is education a survival issue? What parent believes that the best a child can do in school is survive?
Benedikt explains what she learned:
Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.
Since she obviously learned nothing from public schools, she does not want to blame her classmates or her parents. She wants to blame the wealthy families who did not provide their children with the experience of getting drunk with kids from the trailer park.
If everyone went to public school it is far more likely that, in 25 years there would be no more AP calculus. And, while we are waiting for Benedikt’s Paradise to descend upon us, how will America’s deprived students survive in the world market? Will they be able to compete or will they become a bunch of slugs.
Benedikt might be doing fine, but many children today are not. Perhaps the solution is to make public schools more like private schools… as in charter schools. But, the bureaucrats and the unions will never accept that.
Unfortunately, if you are as poorly educated as Benedikt is, you are likely to fall under the influence of a man who tells you what to think.
If you do a Google search for Allison Benedikt you will get a slightly different perspective on what she calls a bad person. You see, Benedikt grew up Jewish. Then she married a man named John Cook who, by her testimony, hates Jews. At the least, he hates Israel, everything it stands for and everything it has ever accomplished. His hatred is so visceral that he constantly harangues his wife and anyone else in earshot with venomous tirades against Israel.
Apparently, Benedikt does not think that this makes him a bad person! She married him. Since she received an inferior education she cannot stand up to her husband. He has browbeat her into thinking as he does.
To add spice to the story, Benedikt’s sister lives in Israel and has become an Israeli.
Here Benedikt describes how her “Jew-hating fiancé" helped her to change her mind:
John and I move to Chicago; my sister moves from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and marries that "friend" who she visited during my junior year abroad. She becomes an Israeli citizen. I stop believing anything my parents or Abe Foxman say about Israel. John and I get engaged. I change my home page from the New York Times to Haaretz, whose columnists seem to agree more with my Jew-hating fiancé than with my community-leading parents. John and I get married. We are now a united front against the organized Jewish community, and I find myself saying and thinking things that I'm not even sure I believe because I'm not really sure what I believe. Still, my sister lives in this place I'm railing against.
As you might imagine, a fanatic like Cook does not know how to behave in the company of Israelis. He feels no need to practice good manners when facing such devils:
Once in Tel Aviv, John confronts my sister and her husband on their "morally bankrupt decision" to live in Israel.
Benedikt consoles herself with the thought that many of her other leftist Jewish friends are also down on Israel:
Most of my Jewish friends are disgusted with Israel. It seems my trajectory is not at all unique.
Does this make Allison Benedikt a bad person? Is her “Jew-hating” husband a bad person?