Yes, some charter schools, especially those run by non-profit foundations, are excellent and ought to be acknowledged for that excellence.
But to declare that this week is National Charter Schools Week, as the Obama administration has done, not only ignores the often dismal performance of corporate charter schools—the sham that they provide any sort of meaningful alternative to poorly performing public schools—but it also affirms the Far Right propaganda that all public education is failing students, that it is a public institution that has been undermined primarily by teachers unions.
Everything that follows had been provided on the Department of Education’s website to help parents and students across America celebrate “our” charter schools:
Someone has even created a special logo and a special poster to mark the week:
As those of you who are regular readers of this blog know, I have been a persistent and sometimes scathing critic of the Far Right’s ideology, policies, and politics. More specifically, I have pointedly criticized their often vicious and blatantly racist caricaturing of President Obama.
But, ironically, progressives have found much to criticize in many of the policies pursued by the Obama administration, which seem very deliberately designed to demonstrate that he is not a progressive: the excessive use of drones as weapons, the expansion of surveillance agencies and activities, the very aggressive deportation of undocumented immigrants, the promotion of fracking, and, last but not least, the persistent, generally implicit, but sometimes direct denigration of public education. All of these dubious policies, taken together, seem to beg the question of whether being a centrist amounts simply to holding a hodgepodge collection of some conservative and some progressive positions on the issues of the day.
I don’t know if the cumulative effect of this seeming aversion to many progressive positions is turning many young people away from the Democratic party. But I do know that it is exasperating the hell out of at least one balding fat guy.