Education

Bloomberg Wrongly Cites 'Wealth Inequality' to Vilify School Choice

The fact is, statist policies are eating away at the middle class — including, incidentally, private school tuition.

Jordan Candler · Jul. 20, 2017

Bloomberg this week published a new article fostering the Left’s “private school is evil” canard. The author cuts to the chase in the first sentence, where he bemoans, “These days, private school really is just for rich kids.” Citing National Bureau of Economic Research data, the author reports a significant decline among middle-income participation in private schools over the last 50 years, whereas the participation rate among high-income families is essentially flat. This, the author surmises, “could come to perpetuate the nation’s growing wealth divide.”

While the article doesn’t specifically mention school choice, there’s clearly a grudge. The irony, of course, is that conservatives have long advocated for school choice — for example, by vastly expanding school vouchers. This would provide opportunities for more lower and middle class children to attend private schooling. The Bloomberg report rationally points out that “the average tuition at nonsectarian private elementary schools ― where the percentage of students from high-income families has risen substantially ― surged from $4,120 in 1979 to $22,611 in 2011.” Yet this misses a key point: Government per-pupil spending has skyrocketed as well, with quite literally nothing to show for it.

More school choice would create more competition, which naturally helps to keep rising tuition rates in check with the added benefit of boosting performance. That’s more than we can say of public schools. The fact is, statist policies are eating away at the middle class. And to Bloomberg’s point, statism affects the entire economy — including, incidentally, private school tuition. This more than anything is contributing to the so-called wealth gap. Leftists pretend it’s the other way around. And if bolstering this narrative means exploiting “wealth inequality” — a scapegoat used with virtually every topic — to demonize school choice, so be it. For them, it’s a win-win.

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