The hardest part is telling the parents who are going to send their kids to the local public school. There will be one less middle class kid in the school. I feel like I'm letting down the cause.
She goes on to talk about how having kids forces you to really face up to whether you can live according to your principles, using Jimmy Carter's and Bill Clinton's choices about how they educated their kids as an example. At the end, though, she draws what to her is an obvious conclusion about how one should react to the unequal access to good education in our society:
If you exercise a choice, and move to the suburbs or go to Dalton, then you have to help others have a similar choice. To avoid being a hypocrite, you have to adjust your politics to reflect your life. You can't send your kid to Dalton and oppose school vouchers for the poor. You have to support school choice for everyone.
I agree with the first part of her conclusion, in that my move to the affluent suburbs (Montgomery County in my case) in no way relieves me of my obligation to ensure that all children have access to a good school. Besides being a moral imperative it is also a matter of pure self-interest. These kids will be the productive members of society when I have finished working and I have a vested interest in seeing that they are well-educated.
But I could not disagree more strenuously with the second part, which is that I have to support vouchers. In the abstract, I support the idea of vouchers in that I support the idea that kids shouldn't be forced to go to bad schools by virtue of the circumstances of their birth. But there are many ways to have school choice besides pulling money out of public schools and funnelling it to the private ones. Even if I agreed with the principle of vouchers, though, I can't say that I have seen any evidence that they would work in the way that they are intended to. I think that the outcome of a voucher program would result in the affluent being even better off, a few lower-middle class students gaining access to private schools, and the majority of the poor being stuck in public schools that are even more underfunded. There is also the question of whether vouchers are merely a vehicle for union-busting and getting around the wall separating church and state, but I won't even go there.
We were one of the first countries to have universal access to publicly funded education. It is one of the things that allowed us to become a great nation. We should be looking for ways to make our public schools better rather than ways to tear them apart.