March 3, 2013

Regarding the Feb. 25 Metro story “D.C. school choice creates a niche”:

As a retired public school educator and a parent, I was particularly troubled by two quotes.

Defending the fact that E.V. Downey’s fee-based assistance for parents attempting to navigate the D.C. school-choice maze may be out of financial reach for some families, the president of the pro-charter Center for Education Reform stated that “poor people get that information from the people they go to church with, the people they work with.”

Fair enough. But I’m left wondering why if word-of-mouth guidance is good enough for “poor people,” that data source is not sufficient for Ms. Downey’s clients.

More disturbing, the article pointed out that Ms. Downey “steers parents away from schools that focus on teaching poor children” because those schools “wouldn’t feel like a very good fit” for a middle-class family.

Really ?

I am not naive enough to think that attitudes about “very good fit” for a middle-class family don’t exist. Obviously mistaken, I just assumed that most of us would practice enough discretion not to make those statements out loud.

Bill Craig, Richmond