Public school teachers and Democrat politicians send their own kids to private schools

Black commentator Larry Elder writes about it in Investors Business Daily.


About 11% of all parents — nationwide, rural and urban — send their children to private schools. The numbers are much higher in urban areas. One study found that in Philadelphia a staggering 44% of public school teachers send their own kids to private schools.

In Cincinnati and Chicago, 41% and 39% of public school teachers pay for a private school education for their children. In Rochester, N.Y., it’s 38%, in Baltimore 35%, in San Francisco 34% and in New York-northeastern New Jersey 33%.

In Los Angeles nearly 25% of public school teachers send their kids to private school versus 16% of Angelenos who do so.

The 2004 study by the Fordham Institute said its findings “are apt to be embarrassing for teacher unions, considering those organizations’ political animus toward assisting families to select among schools. But these results do not surprise most practicing teachers to whom we speak.”

“The data have shown the same basic pattern since we first happened upon them two decades ago: Urban public school teachers are more apt to send their own children to private schools than is the general public. One might say this shows how conservative teachers are. They continue doing what they’ve always done. Or it might indicate that they have long been discerning connoisseurs of education …

“The middle class will tolerate a lot — disorder, decay and dismay, an unwholesome environment, petty crime, potholes, chicanery and rudeness. One thing, however, that middle class parents will not tolerate is bad schools for their children. To escape them, they will pay out-of-pocket or vote with their feet. That is what discerning teachers do.”

What about members of Congress? Where do they send their own children? A 2007 Heritage Foundation study found that 37% of representatives and 45% of senators with school-age children sent their own kids to private school.

Of the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus with school-age children, 38% sent them to private school. Of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus with school-age children, 52% sent them to private school.

The ex-mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, was asked why he didn’t have his own kids in public school despite his strong advocacy of public education. Villaraigosa, whose wife was a public school teacher, said:

“I’m doing like every parent does. I’m going to put my kids in the best school I can. My kids were in a neighborhood public school until just this year. We’ve decided to put them in a Catholic school. We’ve done that because we want our kids to have the best education they can.

“If I can get that education in a public school, I’ll do it, but I won’t sacrifice (emphasis added) my children any more than I could ask you to do the same.”

When he got elected president, Barack Obama and his wife made a big display of looking into Washington, D.C., public schools for his two daughters to attend. But the Obamas chose Sidwell Friends, the elite private school whose alums include Chelsea Clinton.

Obama’s own mother sent her then-10-year-old to live with her parents — so he could attend Punahou Academy, the most exclusive prep school in Honolulu. In fact, from Punahou to Occidental (a private college in Los Angeles) to Columbia (where he completed college) to Harvard Law, Obama is a product of private education.

So how does this square with Obama’s opposition to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that offered a voucher for the children of participating parents? It doesn’t.

The best way to help all children – especially poor and minority children – get ahead in life is by giving their parent(s) vouchers and letting them choose public or private schools. But Democrats can’t do that – they want their supporters in the teacher unions to have a captive audience. That way, come election time, the Democrats can count on an army of big-government supporters. It’s very important to understand that Democrats don’t want what’s best for children. They don’t want them to have a choice. They don’t want them to have a quality education. They want to bribe public school teachers to help them get elected.

10 thoughts on “Public school teachers and Democrat politicians send their own kids to private schools”

  1. In Australia too, the heads of unions—who, in public, tend to express loud support for public schools—tend to prefer private schools for their own children, even if they have to steal from their members do so. See the case of Michael Williamson, who pleaded guilty to defrauding his union, the Health Services Union (comprising some of the lowest paid workers in the hospitals, with the filthiest jobs) of over $1,000,000:


  2. Yep, used to be a public school teacher and I’m not sending my kids there. We are homeschooling, but private school might be in our future.


    1. The more people homeschool or private school their children, the sooner the godless government schools will fail. Vouchers will help achieve this as well.

      While many suburb and rural public schools are vastly superior to those in urban areas, they are still an inferior choice for those who care deeply about their children’s education and more importantly, about their worldview development. Although private school tuition can be a stretch for many people, some of these schools offer need-based scholarships, and homeschooling is always an option for those willing to put in the hard work – and give up the trinkets.

      And homeschooling is legal in all 50 states now – thanks to the efforts of the Home School Legal Defense Association, amongst others.


  3. While I understand and agree with where you are coming from, there is one glaring flaw here that is bothering me. You are not comparing apples to apples with your choice of statistics.

    On average, teachers and similar professions are middle class and above, Assuming that higher income bias you toward sending your kids toward private schools, then it makes sense that based on that alone, more teachers, congress members, etc. would send their kids to private schools than the average, because the poor, who simply cannot afford private schools, weigh down the average. It would be more honest and/or accurate to compare teachers/congressmen/etc with kids in private schools to people in the same income range. I suspect there would still be a gap, but your choice of comparisons overstates the gap IMHO.


    1. Private schools cost less than DC public schools and perform far better than DC public schools. The problem is not money. The problem is unions. Teacher unions make public education inferior. No amount of money solves teacher unions.


      1. I don’t disagree that the teacher’s union are a problem or that vouchers are a good alternative to a failing public school system, but conflating multiple causes of private school enrollment together and ascribing it to a single cause is very deceptive. I don’t agree with using lies, half-truths, and deception to support any ideology. We have a moral duty to the truth.


    2. Roger, I do see where you are coming from – in terms of the equivalent cost to the parents only (not the taxpayer), and the discouraging effect that this has for the poor to homeschool or private school their kids. I think your analysis makes an even better case for school vouchers, which would solve many of these issues. Furthermore, I am in agreement with your statement that teachers are middle class and above, despite the fact that so many teachers claim they are underpaid, but reasonable analyses show otherwise.

      That is why I think that vouchers and especially the destruction of teachers’ unions (as WK has pointed out numerous times)would go a long way toward improving the system, especially for the poor and minority population. But, liberals are not for choice in this case or for choice in healthcare decisions: they are only for choice when it comes to “moms” dismembering their babies for convenience. (Not for choice for the baby, of course.)


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