Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, October 25, 2013

What the f*** #2: charter schools

Rather than belabor the argument, like NYC Mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio ("City's Charter Schools Fear Having de Blasio for a Landlord," New York Times), I agree that a focus on the creation of charter schools dissipates the pool of money and social, organizational, and community capital available to "fix" schools.

So the fact that Virginia makes it hard to organize charter schools ("Virginia gubernatorial candidates take different approaches to education," Post) isn't necessarily a bad thing.

If you really need to "shake things up," maybe charter schools are a way to do it, although usually in and of themselves, charter schools and their existence don't necessarily lead to a competitive response by "traditional" public schools that results in greater improvement overall--DC is a perfect example of that.

But in places where the school systems work pretty well, is it important to offer choice for the sake of choice?  Especially when the traditional school systems have severe budget problems? ("Where to cut the Fairfax school system's budget," Post, "No easy answer on school budget shortfall," Fairfax Times).

I would argue no.

Better to focus energies on improving what we have.  For a slightly different perspective, see this editorial from the New York Times, "Thinking Sensibly About Charter Schools."

Note that both wtf posts reference arguments that I consider "states rights" like and are counter to the idea of "E pluribus unum."

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