Monday, September 2, 2013

Anti-Charter School resolution before Metro Council

Councilman Steve Glover has introduced a resolution in the Metro Council asking State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman for a charter school moratorium. The logic of the request is that charter schools take financial resources away from the school system.  When a child attends a charter school, the money that would have gone to the school system to educate that child follows the child to the charter school. Opponents of charter schools claim that overhead cost are fixed and having less children to educate does not cut those overhead cost.

This is obviously a phony argument. At about the same rate that children are leaving the regular district schools for charters, population growth is adding new students.  Charter schools are not leaving empty seats.  Those seats are being filled by new students.  In any event, cost are not fixed. If a system as large as Metro's public school system cannot reallocate resources to manage change in student enrollment then something is terribly wrong. You can be sure that if we had more students in public schools, the same people who are saying that fewer students present a financial hardship would be saying more students present a financial hardship. 

Charter schools have almost worked miracles in some cases. In charter schools, Black children with all of the disadvantages that usually indicate failure are excelling. No child should have to attend a failing school. We should embrace charters.

I have about given up thinking there is any bill so bad that our Council will not vote for it. I have also come to the conclusion that  Republicans in the Council are as about as useless as tits on a boar hog. Last month the Council passed a resolution calling on Congress to end sequestration, not cut spending, and to raise taxes.  The Republicans in the Council voted for it. A few months ago they voted for a resolution calling on the EPA to vigorously enforce the arbitrary CO2 limits the EPA had adopted without Congressional approval. The Republicans in the Council voted for it.  Some of the Republicans in the Council were in that body when the Council unanimously voted to impose minimum fare prices and other anti-market polices on limousine services. Think of your most conservative Council member; he votes exactly like the most progressive council member.  I don't expect any principled opposition to even the most liberal of legislation from any members of our Council.

The only thing that may cause this bill to run into trouble is that we have an active pro-charter community and Mayor Karl Dean is a supporter of charter schools.   Glover, sponsor of the resolution, was elected to the Council without opposition taking the seat formerly occupied by Councilman Jim Gotto. Glover is a Republican and a former member of the School Board. The resolution will be on the September 10 Council agenda.

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