Private schools are indefensible - The Atlantic

Elite private schools are all about donor money. They are very good at teaching. They are better than public schools (even very wealthy public schools). They propagate generational inequality. They account disproportionately for the feeders into elite colleges. They are working on racial inequality, with some success, and recently some have applied increasingly woke methods. Parents don't like the wokeness and are grumbling anonymously. Ironic that fancy private schools with tons of money keep raising charitable contributions (tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, all tax-exempt) for their small numbers of students, while taking a leftist line on systemic racism/inequality.

'Whereas the math curriculum at most American high schools tops out at Calculus I, he reported, “multivariable calculus and linear algebra—subjects normally reserved for college sophomores or juniors—are widespread among moneyed high schools.” Andover offers organic chemistry, as do several other top private schools.


'Looking over the data for Princeton’s classes of 2015 through 2018 is bracing. The list of sending schools is dominated by highly selective magnet schools, public schools in wealthy areas, and famous prep schools: the Lawrenceville School, Exeter, Delbarton, Andover, Deerfield Academy. Among the top 25 feeders to Princeton, only three are public schools where 15 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

'If you went to Lawrenceville, a boarding school not far from Princeton and the university’s top sending school, your chances of going to Princeton were almost seven times greater than if you went to Stuyvesant High School, an ultra-selective public school in New York City and itself a top Princeton feeder, where 45 percent of the kids qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. But compared with an average American public school? You don’t want to know.


'According to the letter, in science class there have been “racist cop” reenactments, art class has focused on “decentering whiteness,” and health class has examined white supremacy. “Love of learning and teaching is now being abandoned in favor of an ‘anti-racist curriculum,’ ” the parents wrote. “Every class this year has had an obsessive focus on race and identity.”

'The tensions at Dalton are fascinating: Are there enough wealthy white parents willing to pay $54,000 a year to have their kid play the part of Racist Cop in science class (or—the final insult—to have him cast as Racist Cop No. 2)?


'The parent letter was gleefully mocked. But these aren’t parents in the public-school system; they are consumers of a luxury product. If they are unhappy, they won’t just write anonymous letters. They’ll let the school know the old-fashioned way: by cutting down on their donations. Money is how rich people express their deepest feelings.'