The Cost of A Better Education

I watched the school bus go by this morning. 6:15 am, to be precise. Roughly two hours before the school day starts, that is. And the first kid on the route? He’d probably already been on that bus for a while.

At this point, you’re probably envisioning me living someplace at the end of a dirt road, with nothing but cornfields for neighbors.

Well, I’m not living in New York City.

But I’m not rural, either. I’m about half a block from a grade school, a mile from the middle school, and… just about three from a high school. When I was a kid, I could literally leave this house when I heard the first bell, and be in my seat before the second bell rang.

The kids on that bus? Well, the vast majority of them are in-town kids, and they’re being bussed to other towns to attend schools their parents believe are better.

I don’t have an opinion of my own–don’t have kids, haven’t been in a school in years–but I do know a lot of the parents, and I doubt they put their kids on a bus for four to six hours a day and pay out-of-district tuition just for shits and giggles.

There are lots of kids in similar situations. People sending their kids to private schools, parochial schools. People standing in line for hours to get their kid into the charter-school lottery. And homeschooling to the left of us, homeschooling to the right of us.

How do you get your kid the best possible education?

And the headlines in the national news?

How to keep kids safe in school.

How to attract better teachers.

How do you get everybody‘s kid the best possible education?

How far do you go to get there? Four hours on a bus? Six? Boarding school, maybe.

Do you drain the school by your house of educated, involved parents because your kid is better off in that private school you can afford, or being homeschooled by Dr. Mom and Lawyer dad?

Do you start your own school district, when doing so becomes cheaper than paying city taxes on thousands of acres of farmland?

What are the resources that would make you put your kid on that bus?


  1. Reply

    We committed to DC public schools for our kids and never regretted it. I completely agree with your point about draining the schools. Schools need people who are not only involved, but have the resources and knowledge to work the system. Start with that, and the need for kids to ride a bus for hours will be greatly diminished. Invest in more buses so routes are shorter. My husband spent a lot to time on the subway riding to Music and Art, but he was in high school, and it offered a special program. He could have walked to his local high school, James Madison, whose alums include Justice Ginsburg.

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