Nothing fair about public education
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 13, 2005

Craig J. Cantoni

We will pay about $190,000 in public education taxes over our lifetimes.
By the time our son, Chris, graduates from high school in four years, Kim and I will have spent about $85,000 on math tutoring, music lessons, placement test coaching, sports camps, a mission to Mexico, charitable donations on his behalf, and 12 years of Catholic tuition.

Wealthy Scottsdale parents spend even more, including summer trips to Europe for their kids to study art, music and foreign language. Poor parents can't afford such spending. Is this fair?

To answer the question, let's look at Josť, a fictional son of poor Mexican immigrants.

Josť is an incoming freshman at Coronado High School in south Scottsdale. Because the Scottsdale Unified School District spends $13,000 per pupil in annual capital and operating costs, Josť's 12 years of public education will have cost taxpayers $156,000 by the time he graduates, not counting free lunches, the extra cost of bilingual education, the special tutoring that he receives in math and English under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and sports programs at the local Boys & Girls Club, which is funded through the generosity of private donors.

In a real sense, Kim and I will pay for Josť's education. That's because we will pay about $190,000 in public education taxes over our lifetimes and not receive a penny of public education in return. Is this fair?

Chris might be the first Cantoni with the financial means and academic record to attend an Ivy League school, should we want him to be indoctrinated in the dogma taught at such schools, including leftist notions about multiculturalism and fairness.

Starting with his poor immigrant great-grandparents, it will have taken four generations to get Chris to that point. Each generation scrimped and saved, knowing that by investing in their kids, the succeeding generation would do better than the preceding one.

It's a typical immigrant story but with a different ending than in the past. In the past, a fourth-generation kid like Chris would apply at a university and get accepted or rejected based on merit. Today, a fourth-generation kid like Chris will apply at a university and find that a second-generation kid like Josť has received extra admission points based on his race.

An author and consultant, Craig J. Cantoni has published a new book, "Breaking From the Herd." He can be reached at