Caitlin Flanagan is one of the handful of voices in the media who write outside the bubble of wokeness and political correctness. Most of them are currently concentrated at The Atlantic, unless they’ve decamped for Substack. And the Atlantic is controlled by the Emerson Collective, a project of Steve Jobs’ widow. At some point the delicate balance that allows one of the top funders of social justice causes to fund a magazine which has the few remaining holdouts who question the impetus of social justice will collapse and Substack will grow further. Until it’s ‘wokened’ as well.
But while Caitlin Flanagan is usually one of the saner voices, her shrill attack on private schools seems driven by personal grudges. And while the wealthy top private schools like Dalton are easy targets, this particular angle of attack is a really dumb one for an ordinarily smart writer.
Parents at elite private schools sometimes grumble about taking nothing from public schools yet having to support them via their tax dollars. But the reverse proposition is a more compelling argument. Why should public-school parents—why should anyone—be expected to support private schools? Exeter has 1,100 students and a $1.3 billion endowment. Andover, which has 1,150 students, is on track to take in $400 million in its current capital campaign. And all of this cash, glorious cash, comes pouring into the countinghouse 100 percent tax-free.
The argument that people shouldn’t be forced to subsidize a corrupt, broken system that exists for the benefit of the corrupt teachers’ unions, busy telling their members to stop posting vacation photos because it undermines their argument that they’ll die if they’re forced to do their jobs is the better one.
Comparing school taxes, which in many places make up the bulk of property taxes, to tax deductions is a laughably stupid argument on its own.
It’s an even worse argument for a writer being paid by the Atlantic in which the Emerson Collective, a non-profit, holds a majority stake.
If taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing private schools, why should they be subsidizing The Atlantic?