Instead of defending the decision to keep the cap on charter schools, Rob Schofield can (curiously) only point out what he sees as right-wing hypocrisy, writing in this post on charter schools:
If there’s one thing the free market fundamentalists are occasionally good at, it’s yelling about government programs that don’t do what they’re supposed to do. While there are plenty of progressive groups that also devote a lot of time to challenging illegal or poor quality government programs (think of the ACLU lawsuits against domestic spying, or, closer to home, the N.C. Justice Center’s many cases against the health and human services establishment), it’s the right that makes attacking government programs their bread and butter.
In light of this, it’s been fascinating over the last few days to watch this group spring to the defense of one of their most cherished government programs after the indictments leveled by a centrist group like NCCPPR. Rather than, for instance, grapple with the hard and undeniable fact that charters are, by any standard, distressingly segregated by race, all the market fundamentalists can do is play the role of apologists and sentence parsers.
After twice employing the silly "free market fundamentalist" tag, we don’t get any substantive justification for why progressives want to treat charter schools as rising and falling together — even if Schofield is correct in his (regurgitated from the NCCPPR) assessment–even though that would be like giving all children in a class a failing grade because 5 of them didn’t make the grade.
So it seems the sum of the ‘progressive’ agenda is to defend every ill-conceived Democratic decision despite the wishes of thousands of NC parents; despite better and fairer methodological bases for evaluating charter schools; and despite the failure to turn that critical lens on the failing public schools. And to do so by simply repeating the conclusions of a methodologically weak report? Well that just proves that progressives aren’t interested in progress at all, but defending the status quo. (Since they’re so clearly enamored of this ‘fundamentalist’ thing, maybe we should find them a cute label. How about "Big Government Fetishists?" or "Know-Better Elitists?")
True free market fundamentalists (read: people who actually understand the fundamentals of markets) wouldn’t bend over backwards to defend some feeble compromise like charter schools unless we saw no possibility of wrestling another inch of our childrens’ future away from Know-Better Elitists like public school monopolists in NC and their handmaidens at the NC Policy Watch. But the truth is, a future in which parents have true choice for their children is a long way off and currently politically unviable. So we’ve been reduced to fighting trench warfare on the issue of charters. Of course we’d luuuuuuuv to see economic forces correct the horrible public school monolith and turn it into a vibrant, competitive and innovative industry. But instead we have to ask permission from those who control the resources of our childrens’ education. And that, I’m afraid, requires what can seem to some like a contradiction.