By now you've heard about the story of the Turpins, the California couple that kept thirteen children held captive in the basement, some in shackles, all horrifyingly undernourished. Several of the children are, at this point, actually adults, having lived like this for years.
How could such a thing happen? Read this paragraph from further down the page in the New York Times coverage of the story:
California records show that Mr. Turpin had received state approval to run a private school, the Sandcastle Day School, at the family’s home, a one-story stucco house in a subdivision built in recent years. The school enrolled six students this year, in grades six through 12, and Mr. Turpin was listed as the principal.
And as of this afternoon, the "school" is still listed on the state's directory! (h/t Wendy Hirschegger)
This is a worst-case scenario, and I would not attempt to paint other private schools with the Turpin brush because, please God, this is a rare and terrible outlier.
But it is also a reminder of just how bad things can conceivably get when your state exercises no oversight over non-public schools. Does abuse happen in public schools? Sure. Do most private schools operate without horrifying abuse of this sort? Sure. But it's hard to imagine something remotely like this happening in a public school, subject to considerable oversight. And it's hard to imagine how a state like California, where private and charter schools are allowed to function with little or more state oversight, could have caught this.
This is why focusing only on the interests of the family and dismantling public institutions is a bad idea-- because some families are horrible, and if there are no government institutions watching out for the rights of the children, those rights will be buried in a home-built dungeon. This is why a stance of "We don't want to impose any government rules or oversight on private education providers" is an unacceptable stance.
Monsters thrive in the dark and shrink in the sun. Expecting monsters to illuminate themselves is simply abandoning their victims, and that is not okay.