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Opponent Makes Best Case for School Choice

As someone who frequently writes and covers school and choice related issues in Indiana, I find it interesting and ironic when opponents of reform and vouchers make better arguments for healthy competition than I do.

A friend of mine is a teacher in a traditional public school.  He is a good guy and has the best interests of his students at heart, like any good teacher.   The City of Indianapolis recently created several new charter schools to fit the needs of various student populations.

My friend, we’ll call him Ben, tweeted that this was a bad idea because there were too many charters and not enough oversight.  He also made the argument that he would gladly match up the programs at his school against any charter school.  And that ladies and gentlemen, was the best point anyone could make for choice and competition.

I told Ben that I have no doubt that there are programs at his school parents would like, just like there are programs at charters, private, virtual and even home school settings that parents would enjoy.  They should just have the choice to make that decision.

And all charters and choice do is give parents more options to find the best education for their kids.   And who wouldn’t want that?

Ben then went on to complain about charters “taking” money from traditional schools.  I remind him that would be like McDonald’s complaining about Burger King taking their customers.  No one owns anything.   And instead of whining about choice, schools like Ben’s should spend more time looking at why people are seeking other options and rectify that problem.

I told Ben if the programs at his school are that good, I have no doubt it compete with all the other alternatives out there.  And that’s what choice is all about, giving parents options so they can choose the best schools and their kids can get the best education.

Thank, Ben.  I could not have said this better myself.

  • WendyS

    My favorite line here is the author comparing students to hamburgers. The author shows the true colors of school reformers: it has never been about the student – its about the profit.

    Finally, the author has never taken an economics course, or paid attention in the class, because economics and success are more complex than “choice and competition”.

    True school reformers work within the system to make their schools better. “School reformers”, like the author, are about grabbing as much cash as possible while trampling over the students on their way to the bank.

  • Dave

    History’s replete with slaves working “within the system.”

  • G Square

    The “author” was obviously pointing out that, just like other businesses, schools should have the best offerings to stay in business. For a long time, the public school system was almost the only game in town. The teachers and their union got used to enjoying a monopoly and all the money that goes with it. As always, a monopoly allows laziness and lack of innovation to creep into even the best of companies. Now that other companies have seen the failures of the present educational system, they see opportunity for competition. I’ve learned in my business that the easy thing to do is say “Hey, those guys stole my customer.”. The proper response is to figure out how they lured your customer away and how can you improve your offerings to win them back. It never ceases to amaze me that schools (collections of teachers and administrators) feel that they should be immune to competition, that somehow it is their right to have all students, all money, and all resources, even though their product has been substandard and in decline for decades.

  • rightactions

    WendyS is the one who chooses to compare students to products. The author she criticises, in contrast, believes education is supposed to be the product and students, along with their parents, the consumers. It’s all obvious to anyone able to follow the author’s analogy.

    Only a gummint skool teecher treats students like hamburger. WendyS fits the profile.

  • Mayor Goldsmith

    We have school choice..you can send your kids to any school you want. Just don’t expect me to pay for your religious views.School Supt.s make get big pay outs and CEO’s of charters get them as well while the teachers get “peanuts.” Indiana is the new Mississippi when it comes to public eduction.