More Shocking News: Parents Tend To Pull Their Kids Out of Oakland Public Schools

From the San Francisco Chronicle, last seen front-paging the "shocking" news that Obamacare and other government meddling has resulted in increased health care premiums, comes another above-the-fold stunner: Top Students Are Fleeing the Oakland public school system, often just before they are scheduled to enter middle school. Why? Whyyyy??

One of every four Oakland students - including 40 percent of its highest achievers - fled the district's public schools after finishing fifth grade in the spring, shunning the city's middle schools in favor of private, suburban or charter schools.

The exodus, which crosses all ethnicities and income levels, meant a loss of at least $6 million in state revenue. But perhaps more importantly, it shows the staggering brain drain that consistently leaves middle schools heavily weighted with struggling students.

It's a confounding problem for Oakland administrators: How can they improve the middle schools' test scores when the brightest students leave?

The Chron and everyone else tries to dress this controversy - if you can call it that - with furrow browed talk about how this touches on matters of race, class, and culture, along with (ahem) worries about safety*. But, we all know what's going on here. People are willing to go along with the idealistic communitarian theory of public school for when their kids are going to the neighborhood elementary school, but when it's time to start your real education in middle school, suddenly you start to care a whole lot more about what type of kids are going to be sitting next to yours. Liberals may believe some crazy things, but even they know that their kids' safety and education is more important than living up to some abstract ideal about public education in a system that simply can't manage to accomplish its one stated goal.

You'd think, by the way, that these folks' negative experience with public school education - where the choice is sending your kid to a mediocre school, or shelling out thousands of dollars to a private school - would maybe teach them a lesson about the possible outcome for, say, a government-run health care system. But, people just aren't trained to make those sorts of connections.

*that's liberal parent speak for "I don't want my kid to get beaten up by one of the downtrodden masses."

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