Patriotism is a universal value that is not owned by any particular slice of the ideological spectrum. In fact, progressives would do well to reclaim this notion and call on Americans to ask themselves which policies are truly in keeping with American values. Case in point is this recent Huffington Post oped by Peter Greene in which he walks through his arguments for why school choice is un-American and why we are not “consumers” of public education.
School choice is taxation without representation.
When some cranky old fart (crankier and older than I am, anyway) wants to complain about having to pay taxes for schools when his kids aren’t even IN school any more, I have a standard answer. Schools are not a service for parents. The people who produced the student are not the only “customers” for the school.
The educated human who emerges from school will become a neighbor, an employee, a parent, a spouse, a voter, a (one hopes) involved citizen, a person whose job will contribute in some way to the life of the community. Everybody who will ever deal with her in any of those capacities shares the benefits of that education. They are all “customers” of public education. Whether they are relatives of the educatee or not is hardly the point.
We all have a stake in public education. We all pay taxes to support public education. And we all get to vote on who will manage the operation of our schools (well, unless we are in occupied territories like Philadelphia or Newark).
School choice throws all of that out the window.