Bruno: The Mistaken Logic of "Other Peoples' Children"
It has become popular among critics to argue that many education reformers are pushing for changes they would never subject their own children to because they do not really care whether "other peoples' children" receive quality educational opportunities.
The underlying logic of that argument has always puzzled me because it seems plausible that different kids have different educational needs and that the children of prominent reformers are likely to be systematically different than other children, particularly the least-privileged children who tend to be the focus of reform efforts.
So I'm not sure why we're supposed to recoil in horror at the thought that education should be differentiated, even if we can reasonably disagree about precisely what that differentiation should look like.
Even more puzzling is the fact that the "other peoples' children" argument only makes sense if you assume that "other people" don't want the proposed education reforms for their own children.
That assumption is often wrong as an empirical matter of fact. As Bonnie Eslinger reports this week, for instance, KIPP and Rocketship charter schools are often very popular among "other people" despite (or because of) the fact that they embody many reformy ideas.
Does their popularity among actual parents mean that those schools and ideas are necessarily effective or optimal as matters of public policy? Of course not. (Although there is some evidence to that effect.)