June 18, 2005

"WHAT'S BEST FOR ME" (via Robert Schwartz):

School official’s son may transfer: Columbus board president braces for political fallout if teen goes to private school (Bill Bush, June 17, 2005, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH)

Stephanie Hightower could be pulling her son out of the Columbus school district to send him to a private school, the school-board president confirmed yesterday. [...]

"I have to start thinking about what’s best for me," she said. Though she has been rumored to be a potential candidate for Columbus mayor, she said she has no current plans to seek any other office. Walter Cates, an East Side political activist and a 1960 graduate of East High, said he understands that Hightower is trying to prepare her son for his future, but "clearly it’s an indictment" of the district’s high schools.

"I know damn well it doesn’t look good from a political standpoint, it doesn’t look good from a community standpoint," Cates said.

If Hightower’s son goes to a private school, the move would follow a pattern of parents rejecting the district when it comes time for their children to go to high school, according to a recent study.

Only 7 percent of potential eighth-graders leave Columbus schools for charter schools, but that number jumps to 18 percent by the 10 th grade, said Mark Real, president of KidsOhio, a children’s advocacy group. Numbers weren’t available to show how many students leave Columbus for private schools.

"To me, the lesson . . . is there needs to be better choices inside Columbus schools," Real said.

Pull the kid and run for mayor on a platform of universal vouchers.

Columbus spends $6631 per pupil annually, which is substantially more than a superior parochial school education would cost.

Posted by orrinj at June 18, 2005 8:16 AM

Things would change pretty quickly if our leaders had to put their money where their mouths are.

I don't have the figures in my head, but I recently read that a large percentage of public school teachers and administrators send their own kids to schools not in the iron grip of the teachers unions.

Posted by: erp at June 18, 2005 8:26 AM

erp is correct, of course. In our city it is unheard of for school people to suffer their own children to do time in mainstream public schools.

BTW, that $6631 figure looks way too low. Public schools quite often flim-flam their per-pupil costs by declaring only the cost of running the classroom, omitting their bloated administrative overhead, and even the "capital expenditures" entailed in keeping a roof over the classroom. The real figure might be double that. Ecrasez l'infame.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 18, 2005 9:21 AM


Even in Jacksonville Florida, a decent private school like Bolles costs $14500.

If Hightower feels her kid would be better off in private school, then she should send him there. Political consequences be damned. Your kids are not political pawns.

Posted by: bart at June 18, 2005 10:24 AM

Parochial schools don't.

Posted by: oj at June 18, 2005 11:49 AM

The Jacksonville Solomon Schechter(K-8 only) costs $7700/yr but it stinks. It doesn't even offer algebra.

Posted by: bart at June 18, 2005 12:00 PM

The story also pointed out that the Superintendant of the District and the Mayor had sent their children to private schools.

The back story that the article does not articulate is that all three are black.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 18, 2005 12:25 PM

Mr. Judd: Bart doesn't feel that a parochial school could possibly be a decent private school.

Posted by: Buttercup at June 18, 2005 12:47 PM

I spent 14 years in parochial schools, and they were lousy.

Repeating over and over that they are better does not make them so.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 18, 2005 12:53 PM

there's not a union in this country that has an iron grip on anything, save the dues of their members.

oj: parochial school kindergarten in my city runs 12,500 a year.

the people who run the show here in the greatest country to ever grace the planet have absolutely no interest in educating children.

they do have an interest in making sure kids get enough mercury and sugar into their brains and bodies so as to render them unable to pay attention to the squandering of their birthright, but that's a separate issue.

Posted by: lonbud at June 18, 2005 1:03 PM


Your bad education doesn't make them bad schools. It's that whole Harry-subjective deal again.

Posted by: oj at June 18, 2005 1:20 PM


No they don't.

Posted by: oj at June 18, 2005 1:21 PM


I spent 14 years in parochial schools, and they were excellent. Is that a sufficient rebuttal?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 18, 2005 2:33 PM


No. If Harry has a headache there's an epidemic of brain tumors.

Posted by: oj at June 18, 2005 3:01 PM

16 yaers for me. I vote with Matt.

Posted by: jdkelly at June 18, 2005 3:12 PM

Preview is my friend. I won the seventh grade spelling bee,too, but that was along time back.

Posted by: jdkelly at June 18, 2005 3:15 PM

FYI ionbud, the teachers unions have every public school in the U.S. and I gather in the U.K. by the throat. They own the Democratic party and control the Departments of Education in Washington and all the state capitals as well as the local boards of education. Notice, I said the unions, not the individual teachers who are powerless.

My own three kids got through the public schools in suburban Connecticut before their complete breakdown and my grandchildren are in private schools which cost their parents almost $20,000 a year. If I had school age kids today and couldn't afford private school, I'd home school. No way would I send my kids to a public school.

I went to a Catholic grammar school run by the Sisters of Charity. They took a kid who couldn't speak a word of English and for eight years filled my head with reading, grammar, poetry, writing and 'rithmetic along with civics, geography, history and all the rest. High school and college were a breeze thanks to those sainted nuns and their no-nonsense teaching methods.

Granted that was over 50 years ago and I can't speak to what kind of an education a kid gets in today's parochial schools, but I would find it hard to believe they aren't far better than the moribund public schools.

Posted by: erp at June 18, 2005 4:40 PM

erp: so, just to be clear -it's the fault of teachers' unions that our moribund public schools are so pitiful?

silly me, i thought if you fail to fund an institution and pay the people who work there paupers' wages, that would actually do the choking.

there are all manner of alternatives to public education in this, the land of unlimited choice, and from what i can gather parochial school does prepare one well for higher education.

my personal feeling about the matter is that, in the absence of a real commitment to prioritize education at the federal, state, and local level, and to make the teaching profession a well-paid and respected one, the home school route is the way to go.

that, and all home schoolers should get tax credits for every dime they spend educating their kids.

Posted by: lonbud at June 19, 2005 1:55 AM


No, it's our own fault for letting public educators wreck the schools.

Posted by: oj at June 19, 2005 8:12 AM

We spend way too much on education.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 19, 2005 10:01 AM

we spend too much on everything--happens when you're rich.

Posted by: oj at June 19, 2005 10:06 AM


It was the politicians who wrecked the schools by acceding to parental demands, especially by members of certain ethnic minority groups that are at the bottom of the American economic ladder, that standards be eliminated. I can assure you that nobody on the Engineering, Science and Math faculties at CUNY wanted 'open admissions.'

We do spend too much on education but it isn't the teachers who get the cash. Most of the pelf goes to administrators and bureaucrats, a whole army of coordinators, counselors and other human detritus. And the biggest waste of money is 'special education' but then the pro-lifers here would object to how I would deal with that.

Posted by: bart at June 19, 2005 10:45 AM

Voters didn't ask that schools spend more money and raise property taxes. Unionsa run the schools. Break them and you can save public education, though there's no reason to bother.

Posted by: oj at June 19, 2005 10:50 AM

Well, let's put it this way: I sent my kids to our excellent public schools, and they all got much better educations than I did.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 19, 2005 4:07 PM

Ah, still don't believe Galileo?

Posted by: oj at June 19, 2005 5:39 PM

Had to unlearn that Borromeo was right, which is how we were taught.

I should write a book: 'Everything I Know I Learned after I Escaped the Sisters of Mercy'

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 19, 2005 11:15 PM


No one doubts that your current level of education is a function of your post-Church years.

Posted by: oj at June 19, 2005 11:18 PM

I can tell OJ's been waiting to use that line.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 20, 2005 3:42 AM

My son just finished his first year at a parochial school here in St. Louis. Tuition is approximately $3600 per year. When my daughter starts the incremental cost will be another $1000 per year. The education he is receiving is outstanding. As of the end of kindergarten he can read, he's learned some Spanish and Italian, intro astronomy,etc., not to mention the religious instuction. There is no comparision to the "free" city schools.

Posted by: Jim L at June 20, 2005 2:02 PM