No harm in school choice

December 30, 2010

As a Baltimore city homeowner and taxpayer, I'm tired of spending a per pupil fortune and then ending up with the dismal results we do. Unlike Professor Howell Baum ("School choice is bad for us," Commentary, Dec. 30), I see no harm in school choice if it means most kids graduate, test scores rise and once again Baltimore has a productive work force.

I don't care about "societal interests" if they end up damaging education outcome. And what's so horrible about folks wanting to be with those who share similar values? Professor Baum is obviously a fan of social engineering. Parents have a right and, yes, a duty to do what's best for their children. This is nothing to sneer at, but something to embrace. Children whose families care about them are more important to society than children that have been turned into experimental lab animals.

And regarding this city's black/white divide, Professor Baum offers no solution. You can't integrate across the city line. Baltimore city and country are separate entities, so how can you integrate the two school systems? What needs to be done is to research the curricula and textbooks when Baltimore's schools were flourishing and discover what was done right. Also, it might be useful to study how schools were run and how problems were dealt with. Sorry if this sounds like reinventing the Jurassic Age, but Professor Baum might consider the idea. Allowing the status quo to continue is dangerous. Neither the city of Baltimore nor the country can afford that luxury.

Rosalind Nester, Baltimore

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