Conservatives champion it. Liberals loathe it. But both sides have distorted the cause, and students are paying the price.
More broadly, liberal groups stand as the biggest obstacle to the expansion of charter schools, even as minority parents line up for the chance to send their children to charters and the best schools of choice achieve results on behalf of poor children that are unmatched by nearby regular public schools. Anyone visiting a good charter school built in a high-poverty neighborhood–and if you live or work in Washington, D.C., there’s probably one within walking distance–will find people who have literally dedicated their lives to improving the well-being of the disadvantaged. Denouncing them from the left as con artists or agents of educational apartheid brings nothing but shame to progressive education policy
.So the challenge during School Choice Week, as well as the other 51 weeks of the year, is to do more than just promote school choice, an idea that, whether they realize it or not, pretty much everyone already supports. The far tougher problem is to create a set of political conditions that make meaningful school choice possible for a much larger number of students than receive it today.