Stalwart public schooling defender Diane Ravitch does not like what she saw in School Inc., a three-part documentary series created by former Cato education analyst Andrew Coulson. Of course, she is welcome to disagree with it. But her main complaint—that PBS dared show the documentary in the first place—is concerning from a public debate perspective, while her more substantive critiques of School Inc. illustrate precisely why we need to let all voices engage in debates, not just those with whom we agree.
While 55 percent of those surveyed say parents in their communities had enough school options, roughly 4 in 10 feel “the country in general would benefit from more choice,” The AP reported. Asked about the expansion of public charter schools, 47 percent said they were in favor of more charters and 30 percent said they felt neutral about it. Twenty-three percent, meanwhile, expressed opposition.
As enrollment in Atlanta charter schools grows, a new group is working to help parents navigate “school choice.” Too many parents, especially African American parents, don’t understand that their children don’t have to attend the traditional Atlanta public school in their neighborhood, says David Mitchell, an Atlanta banker and brother of Atlanta city council president and mayoral candidate Ceasar Mitchell.
U.S. News & World Report just released its rankings of the nation’s top high schools and the best in each state. In Michigan, the top three schools were public charter schools. Yet Democratic legislators proposed wiping them out.
New York City GOP mayoral candidate Paul Massey is unveiling an education plan that would champion school choice and bring back some Bloomberg-era policies — including reinstating A-to-F report cards to grade public schools. The Massey plan calls for lifting the cap on charter schools and providing charters equal funding with traditional public schools.
Dick Zimmer, a former New Jersey Republican congressman, writes that DeVos’ main opposition comes from local and national teachers’ unions who are against school vouchers. Zimmer supports school choice.
The case for charter schools is often made by showcasing charter schools that are doing a good job of meeting the needs of low-income, minority students—usually in urban districts. Opponents often respond by pointing to regular public schools whose performance is no less impressive. There are, of course, good schools of both types, but that fact does not have much bearing on the debate as to whether the expansion of charter schools is good public policy.