Craig Dunham’s “Open letter to the skeptics of school choice” (Jan. 24) is welcome for its conciliatory tone. But it suggests that the main argument against using taxes to support private schools is government support of a particular religion. This oversimplification ignores at least two other equally large problems with publicly funding private schools.

The first is that everyone pays into public education not to educate their own children, but to educate everyone else’s. This is why I, with no children, pay school taxes—which by Mr. Dunham’s argument I shouldn’t have to.

Public education exists because everyone is using it. The alternative is living in a society full of staggeringly stupid people.

The same is true of taxes spent on streets. Whether or not I own a car, I pay for street maintenance. Everyone benefits from streets that bring food they like safely to stores they like, and let ambulances and fire trucks move quickly in emergencies.

Nobody doesn’t use streets. And nobody doesn’t use public schools, including families of children in private schools. Since we all use public schools, we should all be paying for them, regardless of what else individuals choose to spend on education.

Which brings us to the second argument Mr. Dunham’s piece walks by. Public education guarantees every child 13 years’ schooling no matter their means. Parents frequently spend beyond taxes on additional opportunities (clubs, sports, travel). That’s “paying twice” for education. But paying twice is a private choice, because taxes already cover access to required classes and qualified teachers.

Private education is similarly best understood not as “in place of” public education, but as spending more for the private privilege of enhancing an already-sufficient education.

What would be wrong is paying for private privilege with public money.

Doug Downs