I clearly understand the adverse effect that the proposed tuition tax credit might have on D.C. public schools. What disturbs me even more is that many of the people who so strongly oppose the tuition tax credit are the very ones who have ripened the climate for such an initiative by enrolling their own children in private schools. They claim to be avid supporters of D.C. public schools by opposing the initiative.
School Superintendent Floretta McKenzie reportedly said that a vote for the tuition credit would be a vote of no-confidence in her administration. But that vote of no- confidence has already been expressed. Parents' abandonment of the D.C. public schools has had a more adverse impact than the proposed tuition tax credit could ever have. Consider the "cost" of the stigmatized reputation of the schools, partly caused by the non-enrollment of the kids of Mr. and Mrs. Prominent Middle Class.
Many teachers and administrators also send their children to private schools or live in the suburbs so that their children may attend the assumed "better" suburban schools. Some educators with D.C. residences have even gone so far as to pay out- of-state tuition to enroll their children in suburban public schools. Personally, I have always felt very uncomfortable as a passenger in an airplane with a pilot who refuses to allow his family to ride in that plane!
The public should not be swayed by those officials, newspaper columnists and other influential personalities with their children in private schools who tell us they would rather refuse the $1,200 tax credit and, thus, "pay twice for their children's education--all for the benefit of those less fortunate who have to attend public schools." The amount of money, per tax credit, is insignificant compared with what these individuals would bring to the public schools through the enrollment of their children. Some suggest that we can first improve the schools academically, without the middle class, and then --after that goal is accomplished-- "model" students in the private schools will return to the public schools.
Wrong! Whether it is a school, business operation, athletic sports team or any type organization, you first have to recruit "good people" before the organization can become a great one. The public school enrollment of children from families of city leaders, media writers, trend setters and the middle-class in general can make a difference.