Dillow wants to tax the privately educated more heavily. I think this is
a great idea. And in fact it’s not all that far from one idea which really has
been taken seriously in the UK: a higher rate of income tax for university graduates.
The UK department of education even put out a paper
in 2003 entitled "Why not a Pure Graduate Tax?".
The losers in this kind of scheme would be private schools: middle-class parents,
worried about imposing a larger-than-necessary tax burden on their children,
would be more inclined to send their middle-class kids to state schools, thereby
improving the quality of those state schools.
Areas with many private schools, pretty much by definition, tend to be wealthy
areas. If all those wealthy parents sent their kids to the local state schools,
those local state schools would be excellent. But because the wealthy parents
send their kids to private schools instead, the local state schools often turn
out in practice to be quite bad, which only increases the desire of parents
to send their kids to private school.
This is an inefficient use of resources, especially when you consider that
the parents sending their kids to private schools are already paying for their
local public schools. It’s slightly ridiculous that the likes of Harvard and
Princeton are spend a huge amount of effort trying to prevent themselves from
becoming rich-kid ghettoes, while their private counterparts among primary and
secondary schools positively sell themselves on their rich-kid-ghetto
credentials. Let’s try to level the playing field earlier on, instead of waiting
until those kids graduate from high school.