Correspondent pft1234 challenged the following quotes from my comments:
- "But they are a step in the right direction, as they give taxpaying parents some control over how their tax dollars are spent,"
- "Charter schools, being tax-funded, are not a free market"
- "educators should be free to continue opening new charters until that demand is met."
- "monopolistic status quo"
Click here and scroll down to the first reply just below my original comments to read pft1234’s rebuttal comments. I commented:
The first quote leaves out “by virtue of the choice [parents make] between traditional public schools and the more entrepreneurial charter schools.” It’s true that school boards directly control the spending of tax dollars. But since tax dollars follow the child into a charter school that accepts him, the parents in effect do have some control over their tax dollars, albeit in an indirect fashion.
A free market means the absence of physical coercion. That’s what the “free” in free market means. Charters are funded by force of taxation, are licensed by government, are forcibly regulated by government officials, and, as noted, the elected board members—government officials—control the money. Private ownership alone is not the essence of a free market. Private ownership coupled with the freedom to act and voluntarily contract with consumers without coercive government interference or the need to get permission from a commissioner is the essence of a free market. Charters do not represent a free market approach to education. Nonetheless, giving parents the option to choose a charter school over their child’s assigned school does mimic a free market element. As I said, charters are in no way free market. But the measure of competition they afford is a positive step.
An institution that collects its revenue by force of taxation—i.e., at gunpoint—and continues to collect even if the parent chooses a private alternative, is a monopolistic institution. An institution that regulates the competition, and from whom the competition must get permission, is a monopolistic institution. True, the public government schools are not technically a monopoly, since parents can choose a private school. But since few families can afford to pay double for the “privilege” of pulling their child out of the public system—once in public school taxes, and again in private tuition fees—the public establishment is in effect a monopolistic institution, even if their are parental choices within that system. The public system exists only by virtue of taxation and compulsory attendance laws. That is monopoly behavior.
And by the way, if charter operators are not educators, and yet manage to do a better job than the traditional public schools run by educators, what does that tell you about the “educators” running the traditionals? For an answer, look to the flood of parents waiting to get their kids into the “inexperienced,” non-educator run charters.
Backlash Against NJ's Charter School Expansion