Education and hypocrisy: Adam Swift makes his case in the Guardian:

Recent years have certainly seen a substantial increase in the number of parents choosing independent schools for their children. I don't know how many of them have principled objections to private schools, but I'm sure that many are leaving the state sector reluctantly, driven away by what they regard as its inadequacy. The more opt out, the worse those schools get, the more opt out... Individuals can be helpless in the face of this kind of self-reinforcing process. But does this make those who go private while disapproving of private schools guilty of hypocrisy?
Guilty, perhaps, but not necessarily hypocritical. Hypocrisy, by the dictionary definition, is "the practice of falsely presenting an appearance of virtue or falsely professing a belief to which one's own character or conduct does not conform". All you need do to avoid hypocrisy, then, is not profess beliefs you do not really hold. In which case, the issue is clear: does the fact that you send your children to a private school show that you don't really believe such schools should be abolished?

Swift shows that parents tell all kinds of stories to justify--or rather, to rationalize--acting in ways that are inconsistent with their moral beliefs. But he also points out that consistency is not enough. You can have consistently false beliefs. "What matters is not just whether beliefs are consistent, but whether they are justified, whether they are the right beliefs to hold." When we evaluate parental decisions, we want to know whether their decisions are principled. But we also want to know whether their decisions are based on false beliefs--whether moral or empirical. The issue is not simply whether any given parent is a hypocrite, but whether parents who have the right moral and factual beliefs are hypocrites. Swift thinks that, under certain circumstances, parents may be justified in sending their kids private--even if they think that private schools should be abolished. But that doesn't relieve them of the political responsibility of pursuing the right educational policies.

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