Well, according to a managing editor at Slate, Allison Benedikt (hmmm, what does that last name bring to mind . . .) they sure are! Why? Because they send their kids to a private school. Of course as a good little Slate editor, she never mentions the Obamas, but for the rest of you, “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person.” And why would this be? Because by not sending your children to public school you are undermining the quality of public schools! That’s why! As she puts it:

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)

So, how would this work exactly? It’s simple! Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.

Only in the never never land of the modern progressive mind will quality improve if you decrease competition. Just like it did in the old Soviet Union and it does today in Cuba and North Korea. After all, monopolies have every incentive to improve to attract customers, right? And over history they have proven to be willing to do whatever it takes to provide the customer exactly what they want, right? Notice Ms. Benedikt’s reference to single-payer health care; we know that the best health care in the world is found in Britain and Canada, right?

This is a great example of the post-modern liberal mind, but an even better example of the delusions of the collectivist approach to solving problems. Like the rest of her cohorts on the left, she is so convinced of the efficacy of the collective approach to education, and obviously much else, that even when it doesn’t work she’ll still believe it’s the best way to approach education. What really drives such a mind is egalitarianism, the desire to see everything equalized, because doggone it! It’s just not fair that some people have more than others. So if everyone gets an equally dismal education, so be it! At least those rich people, and middle class people struggling to put their kids in private schools, will know what it’s like for the poor.