D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is energetic and motivated, and State Superintendent of Education Deborah Gist offers helpful answers to work e-mails at 10 p.m. on Sundays. These are dedicated leaders, and as long as there are government-operated schools in Washington, we're lucky to have them at the helm. But we are squandering their talent by asking them to manage a bureaucracy so Byzantine it would give Rube Goldberg an aneurysm.Total per pupil expenditures, according to Coulson, is $24,600. See more on his calculations here.
The purpose of public education is to ensure universal access to good schools, to prepare children for success in private life and participation in public life, and, we hope, to build tolerant, harmonious communities.
Empowering every parent with a choice of independent schools would advance all those goals. Does anyone worry that Chelsea Clinton will become a threat to society because she attended a private school? Was Barack Obama unprepared for public life because of his time in a Catholic school?
The District should give every child the educational opportunities now enjoyed only by the elite.