Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

Stop the Bus

by Paul Jacob

Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has taken full control over his city's long suffering public schools. But he sends his own twin girls to a private school.

Does that make him a hypocrite? A bad mayor? Or, perhaps, just a good father?

Fenty is not alone. Many big city mayors educate their kids privately. A far greater percentage of public school teachers -- especially in urban areas -- send their own kids to private schools than does the general public. And a 2003 survey of members of Congress found that 41 percent of U.S. representatives and 46 percent of U.S. senators now send or have sent at least one of their children to a private school.

Granted, there is hypocrisy at work. Many of these folks stump for public schooling, opposing systems of private school choice. And yet, they choose to opt out of the system they allegedly shore up . . . from competition. The kind they themselves rely upon.

Years ago, during a campaign, Fenty pledged to send his kids to public schools. So, if voters want to hold that against him, they have every right to do so. My point is only that had Fenty -- or any politician or educator -- made the opposite decision, wouldn't that be even worse?

Mayor Fenty's choice boils down to this: Should he put the public schools ahead of his own children? Or should he put his children ahead of the public schools?

Which would you put first?

Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Sam Adams Alliance. Their website can be visited at www.samadamsalliance.org.