The Corner

Melissa Harris-Perry Leans Forward into . . . Private-School Tuition Bills

Before Islamofascist bombs lethally disrupted last week’s Boston Marathon, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry was under fire for an on-air “Lean Forward” promotion that seemed to call for the collective ownership of the means of parenting. As she asserted:

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. “Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility.” We haven’t had a very collective notion of “These are our children.” So part of it is that we have to break through our kind of private idea that “Kids belong to their parents” or “Kids belong to their families,” and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility, and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.

The raw collectivism of Harris-Perry’s words would be leavened, somewhat, were they consistent with her deeds. Unfortunately, Harris-Perry’s pronouncements are so outlandish that not even she lives by them.

Melissa Harris-Perry clings to the “kind of private idea” that her kid belongs to her parents — namely herself and her housing-activist husband, James Perry, the child’s stepfather: They don’t send their daughter to a government school. Harris-Perry’s “private notion of children,” at least regarding her own offspring, steered her daughter into a private educational institution.

Harris-Perry’s 10-year-old daughter attends New Orleans’s Louise S. McGehee School, my friend Randy Boudreaux, a Crescent City free-market activist, informs me. Harris-Perry has not kept this secret. This fact was publicized in an October 2011 New Orleans Times-Picayune profile about the TV personality and Tulane University professor. The charming little girl appeared on MSNBC last December 9 to help her mother interview gymnast Gabrielle Douglas, who won two gold medals at last summer’s London Olympics.

Between two of her daughter’s questions to Douglas, Harris-Perry commented that her daughter ”goes to an all-girls school.” (McGehee’s total absence of gender diversity seems not to bother Harris-Perry, who is also the founding director of Tulane’s Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race and Politics in the South.)

McGehee’s website showcased this mother-daughter cablecast, as did the school’s Facebook page.

A McGehee education does not come cheaply. According to Jesuit High School’s survey of selected Catholic and private campuses in greater New Orleans, McGehee is the area’s second most expensive such institution. For the 2012–2013 academic year, its $17,480 in tuition and $1,450 in fees total $18,930. Only one school on the list, Isidore Newman, outpaces McGehee, with $19,749 in tuition and $1,059 in fees, reaching the $20,808 mark.

America is a somewhat free country — for now. If Harris-Perry believes Parker can get the best education at the exclusive Louise S. McGehee School, marvelous. However, since she sends Parker to the Big Easy’s second-priciest private school, Melissa Harris-Perry deserves gales of dismissive laughter next time she declares that “kids belong to whole communities.”

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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