Chester Finn's Charter Market Worries
Chester Finn, honcho emeritus of the right-tilted Fordham Institute, was back on the Fordham blog this week to continue his charter school series with a look at what he thinks are three "market malfunctions in the charter sector." Man, I just love the word "sector"- it sounds so clean and neat, not like marketplace or business. Honey, I'm going to get a tub of popcorn in the snack sector. Last night I was forcibly relieved of some financial instruments by an armed member of the mugging sector. Girl, do not get all up in my sector.
But I digress.
Finn was actually called out almost immediately on twitter by a fellow conservative who pointed out that Finn's "market" malfunctions are really "government regulation" malfunctions, which was doubly ironic. Ironic the first time for a conservative calling out another conservative for mistaking regulations for market forces, and then ironic again because what conservatives like to call the free market is really just a market that is government-regulated in a particular manner that some folks like to label "free market." We like to have these discussions as if the choice is between having a government with its hands on the scale and a free market where the government takes its hands off the scale. But a free market is Somalia. A free market is Neanderthals clubbing each other for a piece of rat. The government always has its hands on the scales.
But I digress.
Here are Finn's three malfunctions. Well, first, part of his wind-up to the pitch:
In general, the charter marketplace—where it’s had the freedom and capacity to grow in response to demand—has done pretty well at responding to families’ non-educational priorities, such as safety, convenience, and a welcoming atmosphere. It’s also given rise to an array of fairly diverse schools that align with the varied educational tastes of an ever more diverse society.
I'm not sure that's true. I'm not sure that's true at all, though Finn probably knows more charter CURMUDGUCATION: Chester Finn's Charter Market Worries: