Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Will Pinkston makes the Washington Post for trashing Bill Lee's Ed reform proposal.

Will Pinkston
by Rod Williams - The Washington Post ran a story a couple days ago, Tennessee’s governor seeks school vouchers and charter expansion. A Nashville school board member says that would be a disaster.  That school board member is Will Pinkston. He is making a name for himself way beyond Nashville as a consistent opponent of education reform and school choice.

The article reports on Governor Lee's education proposal which calls for a modest voucher program to help students in the lowest performing schools take the amount of money it takes to educate them in public schools and use that money in private schools. A unique feature of this programs is that the local school system would not lose money that they would normally get for educating the student when they lost the student.

Another part of Governor Lee's proposal is a plan to permit charter schools directly from the State rather than requiring them to seek approval of the local school board. Charter Schools can only operated as an alternative for failing schools but many school boards oppose any competition to their failing schools.

The Washington Post story quotes Will Pinkston in calling charter schools "taxpayer-funded private schools."  They are not, of course. They are public schools that operated independent of the local school board, giving principles more autonomy to manage their school. While not all charter schools outperform traditional public schools, some have shown phenomenal success in educating children that were being failed by local schools.

In his critique of charter schools, Will Pinkston gives some examples of problems encountered with charter schools such as New Vision Academy which recently closed. One of the good things about charter schools is that they can have their charter pulled if they fail to deliver.  They can cease to exist if they fail.  A failing public school goes on and on forever failing the students they are supposed to serve year after year.

Pinkston also brings out the same tired old argument that charters take money away from the regular public school.  That is true only if you think it should cost as much to operated the school system if you had no children to educate as it does with children to educate.  Under charter schools the funding to educated the child follows the child. When the local school system not longer educates the child they no longer get the money to educate that child.  That sounds reasonable to most people exccept Will Pinkston and those who want to maintain a monopoly on education.

In almost all sectors of the economy, competitive markets outperform state monopolies and people generally like consumer choice.  No child should be condemned to being uneducated because of the zip code in which he lives.  I support Governor Lee's effort to improve education in Tennessee. Local school board members are often indebted to the local teachers union who helped elect them and they also become protective of their school system's bureaucracy.  In Nashville our education system is failing our children.  The number of failing schools in increasing. Our local schools are getting worse, not better.  Consumer choice will show local school boards the failure of the system they manage and they don't want that. Will Pinkston has been an opponent of choice and reform since serving on the school board. Educating children is  a state responsibility, those who advocate reform should not let people like Will Pinkston stand in the way of delivering an education to our children.

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