Friday, January 31, 2014

"School Choice" Is Not only About Charters and Vouchers

Where are all the advocates of "school choice" when inner city parents and students organize in defense of their neighborhood schools threatened with closing, as they have done in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and now Newark? Somehow, they only mobilize when inner parents want charters or vouchers. They have no problem with Mayors and Governors shutting down public schools that have been community institutions for decades over the protests of principals, teachers, and parents, and even suspending principals for speaking out as Chris Christie's hand picked Superintendent Cami Anderson has done in Newark.

This is rank hypocrisy

If you are going to support "school choice" you should also support the right of parents to attend well funded local public schools which have had a historic relationship to the neighborhoods they are located in. But when your funding comes from hedge fund billionaires, the Waltons or Bill Gates, you are going to only support the kind of "choice" that fits their agenda of privatization and competition.

It is your right to be selective about which community voices you choose to promote.

But standing silent when equally legitimate community voices are suppressed, or even encouraging and participating in their suppression, as Michelle Rhee or New York State Education Commissioner John King have done, give the lie to your pretension to be exponents of the nation's great Civil Rights traditions.