Kozol Attacks Effective Parents

Ongoing efforts to widen parental choice in selecting schools are often met with formidable resistance. The latest is from Jonathan Kozol in August Harpers Magazine.  Please see below my Letter to the Editor protesting Kozol’s attack on vouchers and school choice.




Dear Sir:

I was so disappointed to read the attack on effective parents by Jonathan Kozol (The Big Enchilada, Harpers, August 2007). He has worked with, and written sensitively about, families and schools for decades, yet now, in the debates about choice and vouchers, he decries the possibility of children of the ”more effective parents” getting into what he calls “boutique schools”. What if these parents are acting in the best interests of their children in seeking the best education for them–whether they are dyslexic, gifted, athletic or average?

Instead of bemoaning what effective parents can do, shouldn’t we all strive to have effective parents as the norm in our society? We should seek ways in which both parents and children can be enabled to be as effective as possible, and choosing schools which best fit educational needs is one way. In fact, choice should become family policy as a general principle.

Choicelessness, on the other hand, leads to mediocrity, inequity, hopelessness, despair, and shrinking of decision-making skills. Kozol does a grave disservice to society as a whole by disparaging effective parenting.


Tunya Audain, West Vancouver, Canada

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