Actor Matt Damon is a strong supporter of America's public schools. Just two years ago, the star spoke passionately about the importance of public schools at a Washington DC "Save our Schools" rally. In fact, the actor is so impressed with public school teachers that he has demanded they receive a pay raise. That passion and conviction, however, does not apply to Damon's own children, who will not be enrolled into the Los Angeles public school system.
I know people who follow Breitbart aren't too sharp, so I'll blog slowly:
In an interview with the Guardian published Saturday, Damon revealed that he had just moved to Los Angeles from New York, but that he didn't "have a choice" when it came to putting his four daughters into private schools. The multi-millionaire did say that it was "a major moral dilemma" and then made the bizarre excuse that the public schools aren't "progressive" enough.
Matt Damon wants public schools that pay teachers well and treat them with respect, don't over-test students, are well-resourced, have small class sizes, employ a rich curriculum, and foster a love of learning. There was a time in America when many public schools did most, if not all, of these things (if not for all students). In California, this time was just before right-wing maniacs starting using referenda to gut the state of needed revenue, sucking one of the greatest education systems in the world down into the muck.
Since Damon wants these things for all children, it naturally follows he wants them for his own children. He can't get them in Los Angeles these days, partly because of the wingnuts, and partly because extremely wealthy people have taken over that city's education policies, making them, indeed, far less "progressive."
It is not hypocritical, then, that Matt Damon would spend his own money to send his children to schools that share his (and I would assume his wife's) values. It in no way diminishes his argument that public schools must stop heading down their current path. If anything, Damon would be a hypocrite if he didn't send his children to schools that adhered to his education philosophies.
We went over this last year with Leonie Haimson: she advocates for small class sizes in the public schools. She can't get them for her own kid, so she's sending him to a private school. That isn't hypocritical in the slightest; it's completely consistent.
What's hypocritical is for Chris Christie to say that public schools spend too much, and then send his own kids to private schools that spend a fortune. What's hypocritical is for Barack Obama to bribe states into using top-down, test-based teacher evaluation systems while sending his own kids to schools that do not engage in that practice. What's hypocritical is for Bill Gates or Merryl Tisch to create a culture of test-based accountability when their own children go to schools that eschew that very culture. What's hypocritical is for Michelle Rhee and Kevin Huffman to push policies that deprive schools of necessary resources while sending their child to a private school that is more than adequately resourced.
That's hypocrisy, my libertarian friends. Get the difference?
No, we don't.