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Letters | Boston looks to find path to best schools

Grappling with school assignment is sign of a system that works

In his March 10 Op-ed column “Liberate schools from government,” Jeff Jacoby criticized the Boston public school system, arguing that government ought to get out of the business of educating students. As evidence, he offered the experience of the Soviet Union, noting that “Soviet citizens learned the hard way what to expect when government runs the farms.” He goes on to argue for the “separation of school and state.”

Jacoby neglects the fact that the Soviet Union was an empire run by an unelected, centralized authority, the Politburo. Soviet citizens had no ability to influence the decisions of their government. Of course, we live in a democracy, with the ability to influence government policies through the electoral process. Jacoby’s argument is based upon this flawed comparison.

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The very fact that Boston is attempting to satisfy all of the various constituencies, thus responding to its citizens, is the reason why the current school assignment system is complicated.

That there are some problems in public schools does not mean that the great experiment in American public education is a failure. Private education, too, has its limitations and problems. Public and private schools in general provide an important, bedrock service to our democracy. We need excellence in both in order to enable our young people to receive an education to prepare them for the future.

Robert E. Rosenthal

South Easton

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