Opponents of school choice sometimes dismiss the shortcomings of public schools by saying something like “Well unlike private schools, public schools must accept all comers.” Never mind that many private schools, particularly Catholic ones, do take all comers. Is it true that public schools must deal with a wide range of students, many with difficulties?
In some cases, that’s true. But sometimes public schools have demographics that would rival those of elite private schools. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute has a new report on what it calls “private public schools,” or public schools that enroll very few poor students. About 1.7 million children attend such schools (admittedly, only 3.4 percent of all public school students) attend such schools, but in some metropolitan areas, the institute notes, 1 in 6 students (and 1 in 4 white students) attend such schools.
The report analyzes enrollments in the country’s 25 largest metropolitan areas. As far as Kansas is concerned, the institute says there are 31 such schools, enrolling