At the National Charter Schools Conference, Betsy DeVos, channelling Rick Hess, warned advocates against becoming “the man…just another breed of bureaucrats—a new education establishment.” In a new book, Charting a New Course, Jeanne Allen, Cara Candal, and I, tie together essays echoing that warning, cautioning against regulatory creep and making the case for a more flexible and parent-driven charter sector.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it wasn’t universally well-received.
Here at Fordham’s Flypaper, Checker Finn wrote that the volume was one-third useful and “two thirds of a very dumb mistake.” According to Finn, the book aims to “abolish” results-based accountability, “scrap” authorizer vetting, and charter schooling into a “free-for-all” in which authorizers don’t close schools. This, Finn says, is “idiocy.” Mike Petrilli agreed, saying “to call for basically ZERO screening on the front end, and NO closures on the back end is naïve, if not, well, the i-word.”
It’s unfortunate that my friends at Fordham have resorted to an old straw man fallacy, all too common in political rhetoric (and these days in education reform): “If he says he’s for less (spending/taxation/charter regulation), then he must be against all of it!”
But, fortunately, they have opened the Flypaper forum...