Remember when AT&T had a monopoly on the phone business? Remember when you paid ten bucks for a 3 minute long distance call? (today I can talk or text all day on my bare bones phone plan if I want to) Remember when you couldn't own your own phone......and had to shell out monthly to rent one of Ma Bell's phones?
What a transformation in communications, huh? Well the American education system is slowly being dragged, kicking and screaming, into a new 21st century model. One that gives parents greater freedom with their choices of where their children go to school.
This week Arizona is celebrating the 25th anniversary founding of charter schools, this despite massive opposition from the teacher's unions and Arizona Democrats. Fortunately charter school foes are losing the battle. Today hundreds of thousands of Arizona kids enjoy open enrollment in public schools. Parents are now free to send their kid to any school in any district, as long as you can get them transported to that campus. Lousy schools are now suffering and funding is drying up for those schools offering sub-par educations and the performing schools are being rewarded with higher enrollments/more funding. On the charter school front the results have been more dramatic. Parents are now finding their kids scoring higher on both national and Arizona Merit achievement tests. And over in the public school nirvana of California their own Stanford University measured charter school performance across 43 states. The found charter school kids scored higher on achievement tests, experienced greater success in entering college, and scored better paying jobs when they graduated.
While I still believe that K-16 education will someday be administered via a home computer (brick and mortar schools have just become too expensive), it is heartening to see the teacher's union monopoly finally going the way of Ma Bell. Parents should never have to bow down to the ogre of an education monopoly that leaves their kids illiterate, educationally capable only of flipping burgers and marching for a "livable wage".
Three cheers to charter schools. Three cheers for Arizona who not only encourage charter schools but backs it up with tax write-offs to folks who wish to donate to those charter schools.
No one wants a Ma Bell type of monopoly when it comes to their child's education. (Yes, many of our liberal neighbors send their kids to charter schools, even as they campaign against them.)