The folks at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute are struggling to come to terms with the New York testing disaster. They certainly will not retreat from their deep faith in standardized testing, and they insist that there must be more parent choice, even though parents are sick of the excessive testing and most continue to choose their neighborhood school, if they still have one.

This is my favorite line:

“Reform critics like Diane Ravitch often question why we don’t push reforms that would create a “Sidwell Friends” for every student. Putting aside where we would find the extra $1.6 trillion it would take to make that possible, there is a simpler answer: some of us don’t want Sidwell Friends. And just because some believe the elite culture of the top 1 percent is what’s best for all children, doesn’t mean all parents share that belief.”

I can’t say where that $1.6 trillion number comes from. I went to ordinary public schools that did not face annual budget crisis, that did not squander millions on standardized testing, that provided arts programming and daily physical education and foreign languages, that did not fire teachers if students got low test scores. But people who did not go to ordinary public schools may not know that.

What I want to challenge here is the assertion that “some of us don’t want” what the best private schools have to offer.

Who wouldn’t want what Sidwell offers? Or Exeter? Or Lakeside Academy in Seattle?

Who wouldn’t want classes of 12-15 instead of 35-40?

Who wouldn’t want a beautiful campus?

Who wouldn’t want experienced, respected teachers?

Who wouldn’t want a rich curriculum with science labs, history projects, drama and music, and lots of sports every day?

Who wouldn’t want to go to a school that never gave standardized tests and didn’t judge teachers by students test scores?

Maybe there are such people. I have never met them. Maybe they work at Fordham or the Gates Foundation, but I doubt it.