Long Term Trends in the Fight for Choice

Disco Stu trends

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Funny Matt should choose this morning to post thoughts about the future of charters and private school choice. My article on long-term trends in the fight for private school choice was just published by OCPA’s Perspectives. [Update: Oops, link added.]

The most important omen for the long term, though, is the war of ideas and moral legitimacy. Nobody takes the school unions and other guardians of the status quo seriously any more. The mask is off; everyone knows they’re all about the gravy train. Moreover, in milder forms like charter schools, the principle of choice has been almost universally accepted on both sides of the political aisle. How long can people go on supporting charters but opposing private choices, especially as it becomes clear charter schools don’t have enough freedom to reinvent education?

As Matt Ladner likes to say, these days the “cool kids” in education are the entrepreneurs who invent radically new kinds of schools. A few years ago, everyone was atwitter about the revolutionary potential of these “greenfield” experiments. Recently, though, the bloom is off the rose. People are beginning to realize that the world of tomorrow isn’t going to be so easy to build. Where will they turn for the tools they need to truly reinvent education? Universal choice is looking better and better.

Pop culture aficionados are invited to submit their judgment on the quality of my references to Doctor Who.

A shorter version of the article was published as an op-ed in the Edmond Sun.

4 Responses to Long Term Trends in the Fight for Choice

  1. matthewladner says:

    Awesome picture- disco record sales in the form of charter schools look to have room to run in the next decade. It’s really big that they are established and growing in states like CA, TX and NY. TX alone has as many K-12 students as the smallest 20 states combined.

    Here in AZ charters would crush private schools decades before getting anywhere close to displacing districts unless we do more on the private side.

  2. Greg Forster says:

    You’re right that breaking into the right states is key – sometimes I think even Chuck Norris couldn’t deliver a Texas voucher. But as Arizona’s experience shows, program design is also key. We got a lot of tax-credit scholarship programs enacted precisely because we designed them not to be a threat to dominant providers – including not only the public system and charters but even established private school systems, which are served well by rinky-dink scholarships that don’t provide sufficient support for entrepreneurs. That needs to change.

  3. Doctor Who references- no so good.
    I wonder if choice will be extended to those of us who don’t have children- will we be allowed to choose to send our portion to the school of our choice, or maybe, choose to keep our portion of taxes.
    After all, we chose not to have children.

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