Re: the right to purse excellence

Cathy Pauline Lachapelle (aelin@leland.Stanford.EDU)
Thu, 1 May 1997 23:03:34 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 1 May 1997, Dale R. Reed wrote:

> Cathy Pauline Lachapelle wrote:
> <snip>
> > --What about poor kids living in the middle of cities -- how will they get
> > to good schools, if their parents can't get them there? <snip>
> > --Cathy (new to this list: hello!)
> Well hello to you too Cathy. Welcome to the discussion.
> All I want to add to this subject is in America I think we should
> "design" are educational system for the winners. I think we should
> assume that all children are rich in some way, that all are gifted, that
> all their parents are competent and caring and...

I don't quite understand what you're getting at here -- of course all
children are worthwhile. That's exactly what I'm trying to say -- that
instead of just implementing vouchers as if they'll fix everything, we
should take some care to think about equality of access and opportunity.
Just because all parents are competent and caring (at least we should
assume so) doesn't mean they all have the same time and resources to
devote to thinking about and arranging their kids' educations. Especially
when most highly urbanized areas (those with the lowest tax base, and the
lowest income distributions) have the lowest starting point. To summarize
my point: we would not be starting with a clean slate. Our highly
polarized income distribution across our population ensures that.

> Then if the majority of people in our republic want to maintain a
> welfare system including welfare schools for the few that don't meet our
> assumptions, fine. But we would expect all good citizens to try to
> keep themselves and their children off the welfare rolls. We would
> expect everyone to educate themselves and their children just as most of
> us now clothe and feed and house ourselves. Dale

Well, I have to agree that this should be an ideal. But in a
split-personality state where we tell people to stay off welfare at the
same time we try to maintain a 7 to 8% unemployment rate (the federal
reserve bank's goal), I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect the ideal.