Yes, Life is not fair... and a job of democratic society, (not government!) is to help redress inequities.
i too moved to the area i live, so my children could walk to their school.. In NYC any child can go to any NYC school, provided there is room.
preference is give to local kids, but any spare seats are up for grabs by anyone.
so, some kids who live in queens, take the LI RR every morning with Mommy, and go to school a few blocks from where she works..
This makes is very easy for her to attend open school meeting, school plays, and to get to school quickly, should one of her children become ill.
School kids make up a big part of the "rush hour" commute.
its easy for us, (we tend here to be educated, and middle class-- we do all have computers or access to them) but many parents aren't.
Their income isn't sufficient to buy/rent a place to live with a nice schools (good school districts tend to have higher property values-)
There jobs often come with less (or no!) than 1 weeks paid vacation --so getting to school for activities is not easy.
In NY --and else where-- language is a barrier..parents often don't speak english, or know cultural expectations.. and (it border on racist to say) but not all cultures value education -- many do, but not all.. or they value other things more...
So a family gathering might be more important than school-- even if it on a Tuesday night.. and kids might be at a party till 10 or 11 pm.
Or a new dress or suit for a religious rite might be more important than paper, workbooks, or pencils.. so a child might not have the basic tools to do simple homework.
Or being a wife and mother might be seen as the ultimate goal for a girl-- so what does education matter?
schools teach more than the 3 R's, they also teach cultural values.. (and that is a can of worms in US, that standardized testing reflects middle class, norther european cultural values, more than other cultural values.)
Are there things wrong with some of these cultural values? yes.. but for the most part they include valuing educations, the arts (more is taught about european art than world art... but its a start), industry (and yes, this can have negative environmental effects), representative government -- more or less democratic.. (again, not always perfectly, but generally democratic) Altruism is values as well ( in some cultures, adopting children is unthinkable.. parent won't release them for adoption, and it doesn't matter cause others would never think to adopt) Civic pride is also valued
(de Toqueville made fun of it, but every little town in US has some claim to fame!)-- and towns people have organizations like the Elks, or Rotary clubs that support children's activities like little league, or they support charities, or they buy equipment for volunteer fire departments.
Other societies value family over civic/political -- Families live in enclaves, and keep everything in the family.
Carnegie (and the Rockefellers, and the Harringtons, and the Morgan's, and the Vanderbilt's, and Gugenhiems, and , and) have given billions to people of US; museums, libraries, concert halls, universities, hospitals, etc. Societies that do not value civic/political life do not generally do this..
are they bad? no, but are they what i want for my country? no. because if family are valued and political life is not, there isn't going to be anyone to run a democratic government.. and we won't have one!
so, to some degree, it doesn't matter that family A values family life... there kids still need to go to school
and family B, that want to spend their money on religious rites, go ahead.. but your child need to have the basics.. and need to attend school
and family C, guess what? we are going to educate your daughters, and your sons.. equally.
and by the way, we do also value family life, and we do value religious life, and we do values mothers and children!
Public schools are propaganda! they teach the American (or English or Ozzie, or what ever) way of life!
a failure of a public school is not just a problem for a child-- it a problem for all of us! and since they do have that public/governmental functions, governments should pay for them.. and the money should go to making sure kids share these values!
(i think of my self as a liberal.. but every once in a while, there is this streak-- that sounds down right conserative!-- beyond conservative!)