Sharon Kirsch, co-founder of Save Our Schools in Arizona (a group that vehemently opposes school choice) was recently outed for sending her children to a charter school.
Buried in an AZ Central article about a number of topics relating to school choice and education in Arizona, it's reported that “...Kirsch, who sends her children to a charter school, agreed with Robinson. She said she's fortunate to be able to drive her children 25 miles to school each day, but knows that wouldn't be an option for many families.”
School choice is apparently okay for Kirsch, but not for the other families in her state. According to the Save our Schools’ website, the founders were “heartsick and angry” when a school voucher bill passed the Arizona legislature. The voucher bill expanded the same choice of schools that Kirsch and other middle-to-upper income families already had to families of lesser means.
Moreover, Save our Schools criticized the voucher bill claiming it would “redirect Arizona’s tax dollars away from already underfunded public schools and into private pockets.”
Charter schools, though technically designated as public schools, are run by private organizations and individuals. Kirsch, in her critique that the Arizona voucher bill would supposedly siphon “hundreds of millions” of dollars away from public schools with “almost zero accountability” ironically participates in the system she is criticizing. While there's a difference between the private schools that accept vouchers and the charter schools attended by Kirsch's children, Kirsch still believes choice is fine for her but not for Arizona families that want vouchers.
Kirsch joins a long line of those who speak out against school choice yet exercise it for their own children.
Only one child of a sitting president (Jimmy Carter’s daughter) attended a D.C. public school, despite many government officials opposing private education and school choice. Celebrity Matt Damon, though he made a film called "Backpack Full of Cash" about the so-called “privatization” of public education, sends his girls to highly competitive private schools.
Finally, a study found that 39 percent of Chicago Public School Teachers – a vocal anti-school choice teachers’ union – send their children to private schools.
All politicians, pundits, celebrities, and citizens who oppose school choice must ask themselves if they have already exercised it. They have done so if they moved into a certain neighborhood for quality public schools or decided to enroll their children in a charter or private school – why deny other families the same chance?
Kate Hardiman is a contributor to Red Alert Politics. She is pursuing a master's in education from Notre Dame University and teaches English and religion at a high school in Chicago.