Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, was a skeptic of vouchers until she considered how it could help her son succeed in school. In an op-ed published by U.S. News and World Report, Lake writes,
But my husband and I started adding up the money being spent on our son, between the various aides, teachers and central office staff. If the district had given us half of what they were spending, we would have been able to afford a good private school that would work well for our son.
This exercise was theoretical – the district wasn’t going to give us money, not without a lawsuit. But it made me realize that I could no longer oppose vouchers on principle. If I would have gladly accepted one, how could I oppose others getting the same opportunity?
Now I represent a view that is probably more common than you think: a public school supporter who feels strongly that we shouldn’t reject vouchers out of hand.
When it is your children who are ill-served by the district school system, the instinct to protect your child is more important than ideological purity.
While I take issue with a few of Lake’s points, I am pleased that she is open to the idea of vouchers and is not afraid to say so. I wonder, however, how many of her colleagues will be receptive to her change of heart.