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Morning Video: Have Charters Hurt Schools (Or Were They Hurting Already?)


Segment from Democracy Now! includes de Blasio railing against pro-charter ads and features guests Steve Barr (Future Is Now) and Brian Jones (former UFT social justice caucus) talking about whether charters are to blame for hurting public schools or whether there were profound problems before charters ever came along (and continue unaddressed to this day). Click here if embed doesn't work or to read transcript.


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The right question, I believe is not "How were schools before charters came along?" nor is it "Have charters hurt traditional state schools?" The right framing of the question will look at charters, and other forms of choice, including voucher-supported schools, on school systems as wholes. Are cities better off to allow charters and other choices additional to traditional district schools within their jurisdictions? I believe the answer to that is yes, and I believe that extra choices tend to especially empower the poor, who normally haven't had any significant school choice without these policy changes. This doesn't mean there aren't winners and losers as a result of these changes; I have no reason to believe that Mr. Jones and his colleagues were not hurt by Mayor Bloomberg's policy of charter co-locations. But is New York City as a whole better off as a result of Mayor Bloomberg's charter school support? I think it is, and three terms as mayor is a sign that many New Yorkers thought so too, even though some of his other policies, especially regarding tying test scores to teacher evaluations, were ill-considered and have hurt the education reform movement.

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