(Guest post by Greg Forster)
Sometimes first impressions turn out to be right. Back when the Obama administration started making noises about using the big new geyser of fedreal funds to reward innovative states – before anyone was even talking about “Race to the Top” – I saw right through the whole sham. Kabuki, I called it.
Then I began to have doubts. Bloomberg and Klein were fighting hard for charters, using RttT as leverage. Schwarzenegger got legislation in California repealing their charter cap. It began to look like RttT, while it would have some negative impacts, would also have some positive impacts. That would mean, whatever it was, it wasn’t kabuki.
I recant! I repent!
Delaware and Tennessee have some of the nation’s weaker charter laws. Whatever benefit there might have been for the charter movement in the first round of RttT came from tricking people into thinking the administration was serious about supporting charters. I admit I was fooled myself. But now that the dime has dropped, the charter cause has been seriously damaged in the long term. No state will stick its neck out for charters now that they know the administration views charters as less important than union support. Even the symbolic victory of having a president who at least puts on a show of embracing charter schools, choice and competition, etc. won’t survive this kind of collision with reality.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call kabuki.
So, Jay . . . how long do I need to wear sackcloth?