Opposition to charter schools is to the left what climate change denial is to the right, a fortress of unreason that shields ideology from contrary evidence. Everywhere, including in Massachusetts, home to some of the nation’s best charters, anti-charter zealots always, always have a “yes, but –” response for every study suggesting disadvantaged students benefit from these schools.
Charters are public schools, minus certain regulations and union rules. Yes, but they bleed money from cash-starved traditional schools. Actually, in Massachusetts, charters educate 4 percent of public school students and get 4 percent of public school funding. Yes, but they select only top students and weed out the bad apples. When The New York Times’s David Leonhardt put a fork in that turkey, pointing out that many charters take students via lottery, one reader responded yes, but they’re still selective, since charter students’ parents are proactive enough to enter the lottery. (Yes, and some parents are proactive enough to make their kids eat right and exercise, but no one grouses about vegetable farms or playgrounds.)
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