Charter schools aren’t the future of public education, writes Andrew Coulson on Cato@Liberty. Bureaucratic, union-dominated public schools are the future of charters.
The pattern in publicly funded education, both domestically and internationally, has always been one of increasing regulation over time, and of the triumph of producer interests over the interests of parents and children. Public schools in the late 1800s had considerably more autonomy than do most modern charter schools. Over time, public schools have come under the sway of centralized bureaucracies dominated by employee unions.
The American Federation of Teachers has signed collective bargaining agreements for charter school teachers in New York City and Chicago, Coulson notes. If more charters unionize, they’ll lose their flexibility.
Meanwhile, federal education secretary Arne Duncan has been calling for more government “accountability” (read: “regulation”) for charters, singing from the union’s hymnal.
. . . If you want to know what charter schools will look like in a generation or so, just look at the public school status quo.
Let parents decide, writes John Stossel, co-anchor of ABC’s 20/20 on his new blog.
Education secretary Arne Duncan told the New York Times that he will tell the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools “to become more active in weeding out bad apples.”
This is foolish top-down government-think. National Alliance bureaucrats weeding out bad schools will fail as government bureaucrats failed. Real accountability comes from customers. If we attached the money to the kids (government spend big: $10,000 per student is the American average–$200,000 per classroom), and let them take it to ANY school, we’d have a real market. That would bring us better schools just as its brought us better cars, computers, movies, phones, etc.
Sure, some charter schools are lousy. But failure is part of innovation. Parents will quickly figure out if their kids’ school is lousy, and if they are allowed other choices, they’ll pull their kids out. The weak schools will die from lack of customers. The best schools will grow, and help more kids.
By contrast, weak PUBLIC schools NEVER die. They wreck children’s lives decade after decade.
I think re-regulation is a risk, but not a certainty. The charter movement is trying to support the growth of high-quality charter schools and strengthen accountability for performance.