RALEIGH – Freedom of choice in education is something conservatives have been fighting for quite a while, and with the election of Republican majorities in 2010 the door was cracked open for more charter schools across the state. Eight years later, the new budget adjustment bill in the General Assembly will feature provisions that allow cities and municipalities to use property tax revenues to fund charter schools.
“A tug-of-war between North Carolina’s second-largest school system and small towns interested in operating their own charter schools could create a model for critics of other urban districts to decentralize public education without the trouble of breaking districts up.
Four prosperous communities fed up with overcrowding in traditional schools run by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg system and their students getting bused elsewhere are seeking power from the General Assembly to create their own schools and give enrollment preference to residents.
Statewide there are more than 170 charter schools, which run independently from school systems but receive taxpayer funds. But none are run by a municipality.
“It really just gives parents a choice,” said Paul Bailey, the mayor of Matthews, one of the four towns, whose population has grown by over 15 percent this decade. “It gives them another option of how their kids can be educated.””
So, who is opposed to giving parents and children more choice about what types of education they receive? Democrats, of course.
The move could pave the way for other municipalities to break way from the malaise of their school districts, and that kind of open and competitive education model is anathema to Democrats that love their top-down approaches to education.
But it wouldn’t be a true Democrat opposition unless they threw racism and classism into the mix. Alas, that tired tactic is exactly what they’re pulling out to oppose this provision.
“The issue is draped in issues of race and income for the Charlotte area. A landmark 1971 U.S. Supreme Court ruling upheld Charlotte-Mecklenburg busing students to address racial disparities in schools. A mandatory busing order was lifted in the 1990s.
There are now over 25 charter schools in Mecklenburg County. The percentages of white residents in the four communities seeking charter school authority are above the percentage in Mecklenburg County overall.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg board said in a statement that schools that draw students largely from racially imbalanced communities will be “inherently segregated, too.”
Tony Lowe of Huntersville, who addressed his town’s board this month before it voted to ask to be added to the legislation, said a town-sponsored charter school would send the message “we are unfriendly to poor and marginalized people.””
When will good people of all races and economic circumstances stop being burdened by the ‘Diversity by Design’ education fallacy. Diversity for it’s own sake does not form a critical component to education, and forcing the issue and limiting education choices actually does more harm than good to the very factions the Left claims to represent.
This provision could go a long way toward breaking up the state and district monopolies on education options, and that’s exactly what the Left is afraid of.
‘Thou doth protest too much, methinks.’
Which means methinks this is probably a good experiment to conduct in educational choice.