Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

It’s about power

That’s the title of JLF head John Hood’s column on Friday about why the Left opposes school choice. The key point:

What is the real reason why modern leftists oppose school choice? Because they take their lead on the issue from teacher unions, who see the expansion of chartered public schools, private schools, and other educational options as a competitive threat. Keep in mind that most teachers do not belong to the North Carolina Association of Educators or similar organizations. Very few charter school teachers do. No private school teachers do, as far as I know. And even most teachers in district-run public schools are not NCAE members.

The concepts of differentiation and competition run counter to the union mentality. But they are critical to the way virtually all other professions function. Attorneys compete with other attorneys and receive compensation that varies by practice, location, and performance. Physicians and nurses compete with other providers, either as independent practices or as members of hospital networks. Engineers compete with other engineers for jobs, contracts, and pay.

Even in the public sector, competition is usually welcomed. We typically want sole-source contracts to be rare exceptions, not the rule. We take great pains to encourage multiple bidders for performing public services.

Providing a spectrum of educational choices — district-run public schools, charter schools, private schools, and other options — is a commonsense policy with plenty of precedent in America and around the world. That the Left opposes it is disappointing, but hardly puzzling.

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February 2016
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