Today, a former APS teacher responded to Elisabeth Keen’s recent opinion piece on education and spending at APS. He said that comparing per pupil spending at The Academy and APS is not “apples to apples.” I tend to agree with him.
The Academy is one of the most expensive private schools in the nation and it has a large endowment including private donations and land. It also is selective in which students are allowed to enter. So, yes, the two are clearly different.
But, the Academy is not the only private school in the City. As Keen noted, there are other, much less-costly schools in town. Like the Academy, those schools also have graduation rates upwards of 90%. And, that is the biggest non apples-to-apples comparison of all: graduation rates and learning.
The private options succeed where APS fails, so comparing the two is really not fair. Of course, the Rio Grande Foundation and others have proposed initiatives that would allow kids currently trapped in failing public schools to attend private schools, but the education establishment has opposed them. As a writer from LULAC noted in a recent column, there are bills introduced in the session, but they face stiff opposition.
So, if and when kids in APS are allowed the choice of attending private schools, I think they’ll perform very well. If APS and their supporters are so confident that they are delivering a good product at a reasonable cost, they shouldn’t be worried about a little competition, should they?