Our friend and neighbor T----- was there and overheard K--'s charming comments. T----- doesn't usually go controversial, but she let slip that she has never, ever voted for a school levy anywhere. That's because she sends her kids to Catholic schools and therefore has never seen a need to support the public school system, wherever she has lived.
Of the two, I can more easily excuse K--'s viewpoint, offensive as it is. He's just a paranoid, fear-mongering eccentric. He's beyond help, a true Tea Bagger who opposes all forms of taxation. (At our homeowners association meeting, he once insisted that our modest annual fee was a "tax". Whatever, K--.)
T-----'s reasoning is more bothersome to me. It seems selfish. She's happy to live in Columbus so she can enjoy lower taxes than in most of the 'burbs, but refuses to support Columbus public schools at the ballot box, even though a quality public school system is a benefit to the entire community.
Paying parochial tuition is her choice, but in the property tax-based model we have, all adults pay one way or another (even renters pay indirectly) to support public education, and that includes T----- and K--, whether they like it or not.
Buster is a proud product of the public education system, from 1st grade through college, and I have plenty of company. I believe it's incumbent upon all of us to do all we can to maintain the best public schools possible. It's a "greater good" principle.
Here are a few other reasons to support public education:
- Having more educated and informed citizens is a good thing.
- Education helps reduce social costs like welfare, teenage parenthood, and prison.
- Public education doesn't turn away anyone. All are welcome.
- Its essential diversity promotes understanding and tolerance.
- If you think tax-supported public education is expensive, try ignorance!
- Public education is a necessary and worthwhile investment for some of our public funds.
- Without widely-available free public schools, then access to education devolves into a strictly financial proposition.