D.C. charter ban

The board of education in Washington, D.C. is considering a moratorium on new charter school while the superintendent develops a master plan for the district.

Members said they would use the master plan to assess whether a proposed charter school would fit the system’s overall needs. The plan would determine, for example, whether more vocational, special education or other specialty schools were needed.

Charters aren’t supposed to fit the needs of “the system.” If they can recruit enough students, that’s a sign they’re providing something parents want. D.C. charters are finding it easy to compete for students with the district’s schools.

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  1. And that just about sums it up…”the needs of the system” are what matters to these people.

    The name of the system should be “Moloch.”

  2. Doug Sundseth says:

    The “need[] of the system”, as defined by the system, is cash for union officers and members. This is either orthogonal or antithetical to the “need of the customers”.

    We have set up a system of perverse incentives for schools. If a school performs badly, clearly it needs more money. Thus, the way to get more money is to perform badly.

    It is exactly these incentives that have been changed with charter schools. Some charter schools will fail in great, flaming disasters, but better that than the great, flaming, and continuing disasters that are bad traditional schools.

    Real businesses go through hard patches that require them to either discern what actually works or collapse. It’s time we put our schools through a few hard patches and allowed the incompetent ones to collapse too.

  3. What consistently confounds me it that the people who run things like school systems constantly rail against “irrational” beliefs, like those of the religious, and then put faith in themselves, or people like them, to be able to determine what thousands of individuals need more accurately than those individuals. That is certainly an irrational belief, since it relies on the faith that a person (or small group) is fantastically more intelligent than thousands of people.

  4. What’s irrational about self-interest or the current public education system? Given the fact of human self-interest and the uncertainty and manipulable nature of the electoral process the current state of the public education system is inevitable.