Of all the injustices in contemporary American society, perhaps the most grotesque is the system that ties education to neighborhoods that are segregated by race and class. One of the things a young couple buys along with a home is access to its school district, the value of which is incorporated into the sale price. It is universally understood that enjoying high-quality public schools is a perk of affluence, and being consigned to bad schools is one of the penalties for being poor.
It is strange that this brutal system is largely met with passive acceptance. It is even stranger that, to the extent the system is the object of public controversy, criticism is generally aimed at one of the sources of amelioration for its victims: charter schools. (My wife is an education-policy analyst who believes in charters enough to have gone to work for one.) Charter schools largely serve children whose only other option is a bad neighborhood school. Somehow this fact has become a central indictment against them.
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