"Benedikt’s entire argument is that non-participants in an organization ruin it by their non-participation. It’s not the actual participants who are to blame for the institution’s failures – not the teachers, not the administrators, and not the policy-makers — but the people who avoid the failure that should be blamed....
Before we deconstruct the idiocies in that argument, let’s test that theory. The worst-performing school districts tend to be those in densely-populated urban cores, where teachers routinely complain not of half-empty classrooms but of student-teacher ratios that are way too high. If Benedikt’s theory holds water, then those districts — where school choice is verboten and economic opportunities to provide alternatives are nearly as rare — should be models for educational improvement. Over the last 50 years, which direction have these schools taken? According to every measure, it’s not the path of excellence.
Even more fundamentally, Benedikt argues that parents should have the welfare of the public sector as a higher ideal than that of their own children. So what if they get a lousy education? Kids fifty years from now might get a better one if parents today would only sacrifice their children’s future on the altar of the Public School Gods, whose beneficence can only be derived through complete sacrifice! And speaking of the common good, exactly how does producing a few generations of mediocre-educated children improve the communities and the country as a whole? The only way this strategy makes any sense is we aim for a future that looks a lot like the film Idiocracy."
What is it with leftist "progressives" and doubling down on abject stupidity? That the public schools are failing is basically reason to pull as many children out of them as possible. Tear them down and start a new system, preferably one in which there is some balance-of-power between parents and teachers (but not unions, which in this case are worse than worthless). Making the failure into an "education" monopoly (or, more accurately, a publicly-owned education cartel) will not result in their bettering their product (in this case, education), nor for that matter will it result in better conditions for the teachers. A vibrant (and accessible) private/charter/homeschool system which exists as an alternative to the failing public schools is a boon to those parents who do care about their children's education.