Private Vs. Public: The Great National School War Heats Up

One side might be gaining the upper hand. Private Vs. Public: The Great National School War Heats Up Giphy

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Traditional public schools have faced mounting criticism over curriculum and other issues, leading to a rise in efforts to provide parents with vouchers allowing them to send their kids to private schools.

Meanwhile, teachers' unions are advocating for more taxpayer funding to go to public schools in order to fill labor shortages and provide the best education possible.

Here’s where things stand

Journalist Cara Fitzpatrick has been covering the issue for a while and recently sat down for an interview with Vox to discuss the current trends and where she thinks education will go from here.

In a number of conservative-leaning states, lawmakers are carrying out a “school choice” strategy that largely revolves around vouchers. And while many of these efforts have been struck down in court, Fitzpatrick believes that the tide might be turning.

Over the course of the past several decades, school choice proponents have been able to chisel away at legal roadblocks — most notably the separation of church and state, since many private schools are religious in nature.

Given the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, Fitzpatrick thinks the issue is ripe for exploitation by voucher supporters.

She wrote the book on it

Although she attempted to shy away from the cultural powder keg surrounding the topic, Fitzpatrick wrote a book about the debate that proclaimed conservatives are on the way to winning the war.

As pundits and politicians share their concerns about the current education system, a growing number of Americans are expressing similar misgivings. While the author acknowledged that it “can be a little intimidating” to go through all the studies on the matter, she said that’s not the real point.

“What I believe and I wanted the book to show is that this debate in America is really more about values than about outcomes,” Fitzpatrick said.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee September 7th, 2023
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