N&O: Education reformers must fall in line

Do not read the latest News & Observer communiqué on education reform in North Carolina.  I will save you time by summarizing it for you:

Education reformers – give up.

The editors of the N&O contend, “[T]here’s a grating edge to many of the “education reform” proposals we’ve seen lately. They seem to take aim at, rather than to build on, the public school system.”  You see, it is all about building the system.  When education reformers (like me) argue that public education should empower children and parents, we threaten the system, apparently with a “grating edge.”

How do editors propose that education reformers help the system?  They write,

How might the education reformers, to give them credit for that motivation, really help? One way would be to offer charter school proposals genuinely designed to work with – and not be at odds with – local school districts. That was charters’ original purpose, and it is one well worth reviving.

First, let me point out that the hostility toward charter school proposals comes from the school districts themselves.  Districts eschew collaboration with charter schools.  It is not the other way around.  (State education officials are guilty of this, as well.)

Second, charter schools have several “original” purposes.  Charter schools are more than just laboratories.  Indeed, the first of six purposes listed in the charter school law is “improve student learning.”  That is their primary goal or, one might say, their “original” purpose.  It is a purpose that does not require district school collaboration.

The Borg-like editors of the N&O have a quest to build a public school empire in North Carolina.  The rest of us will continue to focus on the educational needs of individual children and families…sometimes with a grating edge.

Terry Stoops / Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies

Terry Stoops is the Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the progra...

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