Charter school opponents are on the wrong side of history

Today is Good Friday, the day on which Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is a solemn commemoration and it’s also a legal holiday around much of the world.  According to the gospels, Jesus was betrayed by Judas on the night of the Last Supper, commemorated on Holy Thursday. The morning following Christ’s arrest, he was brought before Annas, a powerful Jewish cleric. Annas condemned Jesus for blasphemy for refusing to repudiate Annas’ words that He was the Son of God. From there, Jesus was sent to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the province, who put Jesus to death.

When the Romans killed Jesus, they must have felt pretty good about themselves.  “Well, that’s that, problem solved,” Pontius must have said to himself after Jesus was crucified.  “That’s the end of Christianity.  Paganism will triumph for all of time.”  What he and the other protectors of the status quo didn’t realize at the time is that history was not on their side.  Jesus had a core following who not only believed strongly they were on the right side of history, but that they had the moral high ground based on a belief in justice.  Jesus and his followers were advocates for the downtrodden and the voiceless of his time. And they won because the indefensible can’t be defended for eternity.

What does Good Friday have to do with charter schools and school choice, you might ask?  History is littered with examples where defenders of the status quo fight to prevent the inevitable. 

In education, we see teachers’ union and their allies engaged in vicious campaigns to prevent parents and kids from exercising school choice – the same type of choice union officials and districts bureaucrats exercise for their own kids.  Let’s be frank: their kids aren’t attending the same failing schools they insist other parents’ kid remain in.  They are hypocritical.

If traditional public schools perform well, new charter schools wouldn’t be needed and would actually fail to attract enough parents (customers) to stay afloat.  But when school districts perform poorly, and at the same time expect to keep families and kids from exercising choice, it’s morally unjust and indefensible.  

We saw how poorly state and government-run monopolies performed in the former Eastern Bloc where private competition was outlawed. People risked life and limb to escape that system.  History was not on the side of command and control economies taht keep people/consumers captive.  Yet, in education, we’re supposed to accept a similar system in which poor families are required to consume one educational product — provided solely by the government.  Protectionism of failed enterprises merely delays the inevitable. 

Like Pontious Pilate, unions and their friends can try with all their might and power to prevent school choice.  But they are on the wrong side of history.  So long as failing government-run schools continue to deliver a faulty and ineffective product at a high cost to taxpayers, the status quo will not stand.  History will judge these people harshly.

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