My Charter School in Canada

Image result for my girlfriend who lives in canadaImage result for my girlfriend who lives in canada

Matt Ladner and Max Eden have observed that the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) as well as the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) give their highest ratings to states that barely have any charter schools.  As Max noted of the NAPCS rating: “Half the states in the top ten have fewer than 10 charter schools.” He added: “three of your top 10 states have produced 20 schools in 20 years.”

It’s bad enough that there is no evidence to support the criteria that NAPCS and NACSA use to rate state charter laws, but it’s intolerable that their ratings seem to praise policies that are associated with slowing the spread of charter schools — the exact opposite of what these groups are supposed to be advocating for.

It’s nice that Robin Lake is noticing that charter growth has stalled and that Portfolio Management is beginning to block more charter schools in Denver, but somehow neither she nor Paul Hill, nor any of the other charter intelligentsia, seem to be able to connect the dots and trace the problem to the types of burdensome regulatory schemes that they all prefer.  These folks back burdensome regulations with the claim that they help promote charter quality and forestall political problems, even though there is no evidence that they accomplish either of these goals.  But the evidence is becoming quite clear that what these burdensome regulatory schemes accomplish is the creation of very few charter schools and even fewer led by minority members of local communities.

It’s as if the charter intelligentsia thinks that the best charter school is the one that isn’t there.  This reminds me of the Girlfriend in Canada trope.  The best girlfriend (charter school) is the one who isn’t there.  She’s really great and I wish you could meet her, but she lives far away. Avenue Q captured this trope nicely, so I’ve modified the lyrics a bit:

I wish you could go to my charter school
My charter school that’s placed in Canada
The scores couldn’t be higher, I swear I’m not a liar
My charter school that’s placed in Canada
Its leadership is Ivy League, too bad they’re all lily-white
Competitors are not in sight, no one can put up a fight
They test kids every single day, just to make sure that everything’s okay
It’s a pity the school’s so far away in Canada
Last year we reported the highest grad rate
Too bad it’s because we chose to inflate
It’s so sad, that doesn’t mean we’re not great
Our discipline’s progressive and our politics transgressive
I wish you could go to my charter school
But you can’t because it’s in Canada
I know I’m persistent, even if it’s non-existent
That’s why I favor district schools… er, I mean charter schools
Darn, I really want district schools to create more charter schools
It’s the best charter school, my wonderful charter school
Yes, I have a charter school that’s placed in Canada
And I can’t wait to give kids more choices

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