A LYSer submits the following:
It can be argued that a significant number of charter schools are not truly open enrollment campuses. This fact is more than just academic, what this means is that on a daily basis many charters violate the ban against “separate but equal.” Schools like KIPP maintain a facade of open enrollment, but they maintain soft (but real) requirements of continued attendance of the child and regular participation by the parent. Such requirements would be deemed unconstitutional for a traditional public school. Charters get to do this because they operate “outside the bureaucratic entanglement of government bodies.” That sounds reasonable and even innovative. However, if advocates of charter schools are saying that the reason traditional public schools can’t effectively operate is due to unnecessary bureaucracy, the simple fix is to decrease the bureaucratic entanglements placed upon traditional public schools, not to create an entirely separate school system. What is conveniently forgotten is that many of these “bureaucratic entanglements” are the manifestation of civil and constitutional rights. And there is the rub, civil and constitutional rights bind states, but not parents. By putting the onus of “separate but equal” on the backs of parents via the vehicle of “school choice” (charters and vouchers), those pesky civil and constitutional rights are nicely sidestepped. On the issue of vouchers, they are a method to include parochial and private schools on the “school choice” bus. The logical conclusion of this “school choice” agenda is to once again create a “separate but equal” school system. But in this enlightened era, parents now drive segregation and discrimination, through a mechanism created by the state. A slick and tidy sidestep, don’t you think?
The “school choice” agenda should be admired for its duplicitous simplicity.
Step one: Convince the country that public schools are “failing.”
Step two: Demand “school choice” to save students from “failing” schools.
Step three: Recreate separate but equal, through parent demand.
Fifty years ago, the battle for equality and civil rights in our schools made a significant leap forward. Now I watch as those victories are being systematically dismantled on a daily basis.
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