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Why Care About Other People’s Children


Why Care About Other People’s Children

Steven Singer

As a vocal critic of charter and voucher schools, one of the most frequent questions I get from readers is this:

“Why should I care about other people’s children?”

One reader put it this way:

“Why should my child’s education and safety have to suffer because of difficult and violent students? …it isn’t my responsibility to pay for a miscreant’s education.”


A beautiful, cogent article from Steven Singer, gently exposing the entire concept of Public School Privatization for the insidious blight that it is.

Every attempt at Privatizing a Public Service is against the Public Good.

If only his article was in everyone’s morning paper, but our Free Press has been Privatized, as well.


People really ask you that? I was going to reply, just hand them a book by John Stuart Mill or John Rawls, then I realized your thesis, unlike theirs, is based on the premise that children are morally superior to adults (they haven’t done anything to elicit the anger of the world, yet, although you contradict that idea later.)


At the end of Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’, he asks some people what questions they would like to ask Americans. They asked essentially one question: “Here, people make a point of taking care of each other. Why are you so mean, so cruel to each other?”


We can do for all society’s children without unduly sacrificing our own.

And if we can, why wouldn’t we? - Steven Singer

How can people who understand the above accept an economic system which, to a great extent, perpetuates conditions leading to the pre-mature deaths of about 6 million children, under the age of 5, a year?

From the World Health Organization:

  • Nearly 9 million children under the age of five die every year, according to 2007 figures.
  • Around 70% of these early child deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or
    treated with access to simple, affordable interventions.
  • Leading causes of death in under-five children are pneumonia, diarrhoea and health problems during the first month of life.
  • Over one third of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition.
  • Children in developing countries are ten times more likely to die before the age of five than children in developed countries.

Source: http://www.who.int/pmnch/media/press_materials/fs/fs_mdg4_childmortality/en/


Excellent point.

American Corporate Politicians, carrying the Cross and Wrapped in the Flag, ( Atheists are virtually blackballed from ever holding Political Office, here ), perfectly illustrate Bertrand Russell’s observation that “Moralists love Religion, as it allows them to be Cruel with a Clear Conscience.”

Although Jimmy Carter has, already, pointed out the hypocrisy of those politicians who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.

And, as has been much discussed since the demise of Roger Ailes, Corporate News relies on instilling Fear of One Another, on the Populace, in order to Divide and Conquer.


When I visit local schools, I see a fair amount of unruly kids. This author romanticizes children into one group. Children are people and some more pleasant than others. They are somewhat egocentric and a whole different generation of humans growing up on technology and egoism. If you speak to these kids the staff or parents is suspicious. It is like a prison entering some schools. So, the author’s opinion on other people’s children is not wholly accepted.

Educating these kids is not cheap. In my state it is 18k per year per pupil. I would believe people who want to have children in a grossly overpopulated world would chip in a bit for their education in public schools. How about $100/month per kid. This makes having children a more thoughtful process as there will be financial costs to educating your child. The public school system with bus rides and meals included is not what the basic education promised by our constitution. I do believe that education should be subsidized but parents should put some money into the system from their own pocket since they are the users of the system. Of course, asking parents for even $100/year per kid to contribute will most likely bring howls of outrage from the peanut gallery!


How much is it in your state to keep them in juvie detention and prison, and pay for public defenders and court costs? Or to fund Medicaid because the under-education they received only leads to a poverty wage job with no benefits?

How valuable is it to you to live in a community without a permanent underclass?

Because we will pay, one way or another. But one way we pay for a place we might actually prefer to live in.


“Why should I care about other people’s children?”

Only in the breathtakingly morally decrepit USA would such a rhetorical question be uttered. And people in every other country in the world - every one - would be shocked that such a question would even warrant the effort Mr. Singer expended in writing a rebuttal. Such a psychopathic remark would simply be dismissed with a shake of the head.


I never had any kids at all and in the school tax on my house alone is about $2800 per year. I consider it money well-spent.


Giving a shit

So we don’t become it


Could you provide some background, please.

  1. Where do you live?
  2. In what capacity do you visit schools?
  3. Can you provide your source for the US$18,000 cost per student per year?

Where I live (Calgary, AB) the average cost of educating a child in public school K-12 is approximately Can$8,800 per pupil per year, half of the figure you quote (not taking the awful 75% exchange rate into account).

My granddaughter attends an inner-city public school (grade 2) and I visit her school regularly. There are a few boisterous kids in her year, but certainly no “unruly” kids. My granddaughter is ethnic Chinese and her best friend is from India. One other regular playmate is from Quebec and another girl is German-Canadian. There are several Muslim girls in another grade 2 class.

Her grandmother was a public school educator for several decades and she assures me that the education my granddaughter receives is excellent.

US$18,000 per year per child? Are you sure?



blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Alaska. 18,500 per pupil per year. US national average is 12,000 per pupil per year. I visit the schools as a swim coach and health care professional.
The native kids are decently mannered in my experience. It is the rural white kids that are concerning.



I found this interesting site: http://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spending-per-pupil-data.html

Amazing numbers!