Tuesday, May 31, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: Is There a Civil War in Education

CURMUDGUCATION: Is There a Civil War in Education:

Is There a Civil War in Education

I've been following tweets from the big Third Way confabulation in Massachusetts today, and apparently one of the recurring themes is a certain amount pearl clutching over the Civil War between charter and public school advocates. And I had some thoughts...

First, kudos to whatever PR flack came up with that rhetoric, because it's kind of genius. 

Once upon a time, charter operators portrayed themselves as scrappy trendsetters, rebels who were going to Fight The Power and disrupt the hell out of that stodgy old education sector. They were going to fight the status quo.

Well, there comes a time in the life of every rugged scrappy entrepreneur when you put on a suit and instead of settling for scraps, grab yourself a seat at the gown-up table and start enjoying the perks of being rather status quo-y yourself. (This is also a handy perch from which to keep your eye on any other scrappy trendsetters who show up to queer your pitch, because once you are the status quo, protecting the status quo starts to make so much more sense.)

The "Civil War" construct is elegant because it assumes all sorts of things that charter folks would like to assume without actually having to discuss. A Civil War occurs between equals, brothers who have been torn apart by a foolish disagreement and who should really be learning to live in harmony, as equals, with equal claim to all the bounty the status quo provides.

If you can't quite see what I'm getting at, imagine how it would change the conversation is, say, we characterized public education as a beautiful home that had become infested with charter termites. Or public education as a big expansive oak tree, with some branches withering from charter school blight. Or public education a robust, vigorous group of athletic young men and women, some of whom had to be benched because they were combating a charter school tapeworm. Or public 
CURMUDGUCATION: Is There a Civil War in Education:

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