But obviously the closeness of the vote and the passion and power of the educrats and their political enablers to protect the status quo suggest the war is far from over.
I don’t think Dallas is alone in this.
Parents all across the country who are dissatisfied with the schools their children are allowed to attend by a school district or who simply want a better choice are increasingly availing themselves of the opportunity to enroll in charter schools. This is not to say that they are always pleased or that the charters always do a better job of educating their children. But it is to say that they hope for better and want chances and choices for better. And, in increasing numbers, parents and students are sticking with charter alternatives.
Many school districts, as a result, are seeing declining enrollments and/or a loss of revenue. Leaders can respond to such challenges in different ways. Sadly, most are choosing to respond the wrong way.
The best way to respond is to improve the schools, to improve the choices the parents have within the district. This is, of course, simple to say but very hard to do. Pessimists might say if the district really wanted to satisfy the parents with quality education for their children they would have done so long before the parents had to make the difficult decision to leave and certainly won’t now. But what we’re seeing is actually more galling than this simple non-response.
Some districts are responding to their losses by funding and running expensive “marketing” campaigns to convince the public and the parents that things really are great, however they may appear. I’m certainly not opposed to getting out news of true positive that exists. But when the districts oppose accountability, refuse to accept responsibility for shortcomings, and make few, if any, of the dramatic changes needed to yield real improvements, folks can smell an ad campaign for what it really is.
Many districts are beginning flat-out to oppose charters with increasing vigor. This may mean trying to prevent their opening or growing. It may mean discouraging parents and communities from participating or enrolling. It may, as we saw in Dallas, mean going to the city council to oppose zoning for the charter.
All such approaches ooze the truth to anyone paying attention. The truth is many bureaucrats can’t or won’t change adult behavior in the traditional schools to make them effective and choose instead just to oppose the competition.
Do we citizens care enough to force our elected officials to change this losing mentality? Will we take the position, and insist upon it, that our children must get the best public alternatives that can be made available, whether traditional or charter?
Shame on us, if we don’t.