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Haven’t we been here before?

By Kara Kerwin

I’m either experiencing severe déjà vu or history really does have a way of repeating itself. A lot of education reformers think the battle is won, and continue to celebrate the notion that charters are widely accepted and no longer controversial. The problem is, they are wrong.

Today, not only are opponents creating confusion among the public in making spurious apples to orange comparisons that reformers often validate, reformers themselves are demanding more “transparency” by the government and what they are getting as a result is more bureaucracy.

It has been an interesting week in education reform and I’ve witnessed this phenomenon pan out in just the past few days. There was the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) annual conference in Miami. Legislation popped up in Michigan using the biased Detroit Free Press series as a mandate for a charter moratorium. And a fairly disingenuous campaign was launched by the Ohio Education Association to discredit the state’s charter schools. All supposedly to answer the battle cry for “accountability” and “quality.”

Then there was a very thoughtful debate at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) yesterday discussing “What now for the Common Core?” at which point the very politically diverse group all agreed on one thing… The feds should have stayed out of it and we should caution against overregulating. All of these events got me to thinking (a dangerous thing I know) but in this Throwback Thursday piece co-authored in 1997 by CER founder Jeanne Allen and her then compatriot Checker Finn, they cautioned against the “bear hug” of government on charters, and other such things.

Everything old is indeed new again!

From the EdReform University Vault
As the piece ran in the Weekly Standard back in 1997

 

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