Hillary Clinton’s campaign announcement video features multi-ethnic, straight and gay Americans starting new things. “My daughter is starting kindergarten next year, and so we’re moving, just so she can belong to a better school,” says a woman.
It’s nice she and her mate can afford to buy a house in a good school district, but what about all the ordinary Americans stuck with a so-so neighborhood school? Dropout Nation’s Rishawn Biddle calls this “zip code education.” Good public schools are free for those who can make a big enough mortgage payment.
Is the video a calculated nod to charter-hating teachers’ unions, a sign Clinton will reverse Obama’s education reform agenda? Or, as Jonathan Chait suspects, is moving for a better school a middle-class reality that Clinton’s advisors never thought to question?
It’s odd to see neighborhood-based education defined as liberal writes Chait in New York magazine.
Hoping to push Clinton to the left, the Nation posed 15 questions it wants the candidate to answer, notes Chait. Anti-reformer Diane Ravitch asked: “Secretary Clinton, would you please state where you stand on the expansion of privately managed charter schools, which drain funding from public schools that accept all children.”
Charters have to accept all applicants, holding a lottery if too many apply, writes Chait. Traditional public schools “accept all children whose parents can afford the property fee.”
In my city, like many cities, the most desirable neighborhood schools are located in expensive neighborhoods. . . One of the things you pay for when you buy an expensive home is the right to live in a school district where most of the children will come from highly educated two-parent families. Schools that are tied to residential property patterns will inevitably reflect the racially and socioeconomically segregated pattern of American housing.
Turning “public education into an adjunct of private property rights” is “a very strange value system for the left to embrace,” concludes Chait.
Another liberal, Kevin Chavous of American Federation for Children wants Clinton to support school choice.