Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm in Forbes's billionaires issue--NOT!

My wife handed me the latest issue of Forbes, which is the annual "Billionaires Issue".  Her comment (tongue firmly in cheek): "I hope you're in this." (Per my last email about Valerie Strauss's silliness.)

I'm often asked why I spend so much time on this issue.  It's certainly not because I have any direct self-interest – no, contrary to claims of the union kooks in the blogosphere, I'm not profiting from my involvement in charter schools (in fact, I shudder to think of how much it's cost me), and I have little personal experience with the public school system because I'm doubly lucky: my parents saw that I wasn't being challenged in public schools, sacrificed (they're teachers/education administrators), and my last year in public school was 6th grade; and now, with my own children, I'm one of the lucky few who can afford to buy my children's way out of the NYC public system, which despite Mayor Bloomberg's and Chancellor Klein's herculean efforts, there are probably fewer than two dozen schools (out of nearly 1,500) to which I'd send my kids.


So what does motivate me?  OUTRAGE!  I've been doing this for 21+ years, so you'd think that by now I've heard and seen it all, but noooo.  In fact, almost every day, I read and hear stories that shock and infuriate me.


What I'm fighting for is really simple: I just want every kid in America to have the same educational opportunities I had and that my children have.  The richest nation in the history of the world should be able to do this.

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