Arthur Camins: Why Democrats Should Oppose Charter Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Arthur Camins posted this thoughtful critique of the rush to replace democratically controlled public schools with privately managed charters and vouchers for private schools. He expects Republicans to embrace charters and vouchers, given their love of the marketplace. Camins is the director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J.

But he criticizes Democrats for failing to defend the public nature of a public institution.

He writes:

As policy framing rhetoric, the word choice is meant evoke the imagery of democracy and equity. Words are powerful, especially in framing and influencing political debates. Words can conjure positive or negative emotional responses. However, sometimes words clarify and sometimes they obscure underlying values. So it is with choice.

In our culture the “the right to choose” suggests an almost inalienable individual right, making for powerfully resonant political rhetoric. However, behind the easy-to-swallow…

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