Sunday, February 16, 2014

On Neo-George Wallaces Standing in the Schoolhouse Door, Keeping Children IN, rather than OUT

Addressing Newark's charter issue, a NJ Star-Ledger letter writer, Marie Corfield, said:

Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson has dug herself into a hole and now she’s looking for a creative way out. The explosion of charter schools, and the socioeconomic and developmental segregation they bring at the expense of traditional public schools, has finally caught up with her ("Newark’s big play on charter schools," Tom Moran column, Dec. 1).

As Moran explains, Newark, New Jersey's popular and burgeoning charter school sector has created a "problem"—allegedly unequal educational opportunities. Newark's schools superintendent is apparently under pressure to "do something" about it. This has brought the egalitarian nihilists out in force. 

In support of Corfield, a correspondent calling himself Busrider commented:

Marie Corfield is exactly right when she points out that charter schools bring socioeconomic and developmental segregation to Newark and any other place where they exist. But public school systems and public tax dollars should serve all of our children equally. While many people do support charter schools what has to be seen is that to do so is to reject equal opportunity for all children to get the education they need. What is happening in Newark is an educational tragedy for the great majority of Newark's children who attend public schools. It is beyond appalling that the coercive force of the law is being used to deny so many of Newark's children equal education.

Charter school openings in Newark (and elsewhere) have typically been met with demand from parents seeking to extract their children from the traditional public schools that massively outstrips the available student openings. You would think people would demand more charter over traditionals. Yet, here are the Marie Corfields and the Busriders standing, like a latter-day George Wallaces, in the schoolhouse door. Only instead of keeping children out, they seek to keep children trapped in failing schools. Shame on them!

I replied:

The whole government school system is based on coercion. If it's so good, why does it need taxation and compulsory education laws to maintain? Don't you think parents would voluntarily send their kids there, and voluntarily pay for it?

Parents choose charters because they're looking for a better education for their kids. Kudos to these parents. They're taxpayers, too. Instead of condemning charters, how about giving all parents the chance to opt out of traditional government schools. Forget government-coerced "equality of opportunity." How about recognizing the equal rights of parents to the legal opportunity to direct the course of their own children's education?

Related Reading:

Charter Schools – Good, but Not the Long-Term Answer

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