An Open Letter to Allison Benedikt, Author of “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You are a Bad Person.”

private school girlI recently shared an article from Slate.com on Facebook that a friend had shared on her wall. From the title, I immediately thought it was a satire piece. Then I began reading. I kept waiting for the punchline. Because, surely this was a joke, right? It never came.

Before I could even begin to detail the number of ridiculous arguments made in Ms. Allison Benedikt’s pretentious post, a friend did just that. I asked if I could share her letter to the author with you. I think she sums things up  pretty well. Saving me the trouble.

Before we get to the letter, I want to say that of course, I’m not so sure that the Slate.com article and it’s provocatively ignorant title weren’t put out there as link-bait. So, by linking to them here and giving them an audience, I realize I may be giving them exactly what they want. Or, maybe it is satire. I’m not entirely sure. And, I don’t care. You know why? As it turns out, there are people who AGREE WITH ALLISON! Even if not completely in her methods, they agree with her in theory! I was dismayed to discover this in the responses on my Facebook post. You’ll also see them in the comments on the post itself.

People, we are so much closer to a socialist/communist agenda taking hold in this great country of ours than you may think.

Okay. On with the letter…

Dear Allison Benedikt,
I am a very, very bad person. I ask you to please forgive me when, as a parent, I believe my responsibility to my children involves more than just an teensy-weentsy bit higher level of hope and aspiration for them than simply “surviving” a “lame education.”

Allow me to explain my ghastly position:
I am by no means a rich person (although, I could be soon if my potential client signs off on the recent proposal; you know, from the business I “didn’t build”), nor am I a rich person that has found a way to game the system (damn, those pesky rich folks, always finding their place in this diverse world).
Our local public school is “just fine” and I’m sure my boys would, just as you did, turn out “just fine” if they attended. But you see, I’m not ready to immerse them in a public school improvement experiment that could “take generations” when everything that my husband and I desire for them is already provided at a nearby Catholic school.

Each month, in addition to rigorous academics (instead of putting together puzzle pieces where options include snapping together a mommy with a mommy to learn all about diversity in families), students learn about and practice that month’s chosen virtue. This month’s virtue is loyalty. In past months they have learned about patience, responsibility, charity, compassion (you know, charity & compassion- so when someone’s family is ‘different’ than yours, you learn to respond in virtue, instead of having that ‘difference’ forced down your throat as something you must accept as a cultural norm) & more. In December, students present a Christmas Program, not a holiday program. Oh, and in keeping with practicing those crazy virtues, the students participate in several service projects. Projects like collecting & distributing goods for the local food shelf. And decorating doors and singing Christmas carols for nursing home residents. And raking leaves for those unable to do so. And collecting items like shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, chap stick & more for buddy boxes for those in need at Our Savior’s Housing.

Instead of my boys wondering what that girl is trying to say with ‘Juicy’ emblazoned across her butt, and ‘Flirt’ sparkling across her tight tee shirt, they pay no mind to everyone in the same dang pants, white oxfords & plaid jumpers. Weird how the focus is on academics with these kids & the school consistently is in the +90% in every subject! That’s even including all the black & brown kids (that was snark, by the way)! Yes, we have them! And for the record, because of a generous financial aid program, the poor kids, whose parents want more for them- well, they can come here too! Oh, and I almost forgot! Right after they all say a decade of the rosary in morning assembly, they recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Because they can, and they are taught the importance of love of country. Astounding, right?!

One last note: we own a 2002 Dodge Durango, with just over 110,000 miles. We plan to drive it until it doesn’t drive anymore. When someone spun into us on a snowy freeway in December and totaled our 2002 minivan, we opted for a swanky 2007 Town & Country. By Swanky, I mean the only thing automatic is the windows. Not even leather seats! Gasp! My ten year old lamented this recently. He asked why we couldn’t get the car with leather seats, automatic doors & the dvd player that drops down. I told him that of course we could, but then that would mean he and his brother would no longer be able to attend their school because we wouldn’t be able to afford it. This may sound crazy, but we are already trying to teach them that in this world, you don’t simply get everything you ‘want’- something along the lines of, as Paulo Coelho (he’s a poet and writer, for the record) says, “Discipline is just choosing between what you want NOW, and what you want MOST.” If only our liberal friends could adhere…oh, never mind. This might make me a very bad person, but please don’t ask me to keep buying a Yugo in the hopes that Yugo will get the hint & eventually make a better car. I’d rather buy a different car to let the makers of Yugo know they might do well to aspire to better. That’s how we roll around here.

So, with all our obvious “connections, to power and money and innovation” we are choosing to send our boys to a private school. I thank God (yup, I said God) that we have that option. Some advice to you for when you have children (because clearly, you don’t): When and if you have the opportunity to choose between your children simply surviving something lame, or thriving in an environment meant to encourage them to want more for themselves and the world at large, I encourage you to take a risk and choose the latter.

Sincerely,
Joey Wegner
A Very Bad Person Raising (hopefully) Very Bad Boys

P.S. I’m not usually so long-winded, but your short-sightedness really pissed me off.

So, what do you think? Is Allison Benedickt for real? Do you agree with her? If so, why?

 Photo credit: Picture Youth

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Comments

  1. 1

    KimL says

    How about that I want a say in where the money is going when I fundraise for the school? How about I want traditional values taught? How about that I want my children to learn about GOD at school? And for the record, my two older girls went to the public school in the area for a year and they have the BEST of everything. The best facility, technology, etc. Maybe the subpar curriculum and education in the public schools has something to do with not being able to control or have enough of a say in how the school is run because of #1 Government getting in the way and dictating crappy sub-par standards to ‘level the playing field’ and #2 the teachers union with tenured teachers that don’t have to worry about their job. How big of a pain in the a@# is it if you have a crappy teacher at the public school? Will your principal or superintendant even listen? I know the principal at the public school the girls attended would get defensive if you brought any concern to his attention about one of ‘his’ teachers. Thank you Joey Wegner for responding. I loved your open letter.

    • 2

      says

      Allison’s argument doesn’t even make sense considering the public school system gets everyone’s money anyway whether they go to public school or not, so how does taking away the option to pay even more to go to private school change anything?

  2. 3

    says

    Well said you.
    You have none of our British reserve. And very good that you don’t.
    Some people in this strange world of ours need to be spoken to directly and in no uncertain terms. All of which you seem to have pulled off admiarably.
    All the best,
    AP

  3. 5

    bob ledner says

    The article was an Onion type of piece. It was meant to be sarcastic. Google other pieces she has written.

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