Monday, April 4, 2016

Charter Schools and their Reactionary Enemies--Part 1

The New Jersey Star-Ledger is a fan of charter schools, especially in big cities where the worst of the traditional public schools are. In Halting charter growth isn't the answer, the Star-Ledger wrote:

[Many Newark children’s] parents are banging on the gates to get into top charters like KIPP and North Star Academy, and to say no to any further expansion would lock them out for good.

Parents lined up on charter waiting lists, thousands deep, are speaking loud and clear: They want these high-performing schools, and they want more of them. The only thing standing in the way is the need for new space.

I left these comments:

When you cut through all of the noise and rationalizations, this fact emerges: Parents desperate for something better are voluntarily choosing charter schools because they believe their chosen charters provide a better education for their kids. Reactionary defenders of the education establishment are seeking to block these parents to protect their monopolistic status quo.

Charter schools, being tax-funded, are not a free market. But they are a step in the right direction, as they give taxpaying parents some control over how their tax dollars are spent, by virtue of the choice between traditional public schools and the more entrepreneurial charter schools. The charter waiting lists represent market demand, and educators should be free to continue opening new charters until that demand is met.

Let’s recognize these anti-charter reactionaries for what they are; modern-day George Wallaces. Whereas the original George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door to keep black kids out, today’s Wallaces can be seen standing in the schoolhouse door, not to keep any kids out, but to keep all but the kids with the most well-to-do parents trapped in schools that their parents judge to be inferior or even detrimental. The moral standing of today’s George Wallaces is just as bad as the original’s.


In subsequent posts, I’ll answer some replies to my comments.

Related Reading:

A Newark, NJ Mother Demonstrates the Educational Power of Parental School Choice

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