Here’s Mark Perry, of Carpe Diem, regarding John Goodman’s post: If you really care about income inequality, you need only focus on one thing: the inequality of educational opportunity.
As Goodman puts it:
Poor kids are almost always enrolled in bad schools. Rich kids are almost always in good schools.
As they point out, the left seems more concerned with protecting teachers unions than providing quality education.
But, I think it’s worth pointing out that the blame of bad schools doesn’t fall only on the administrators and teachers, though they are partly to blame.
As one commenter on Mark Perry’s blog post pointed out, what do you think would happen if you switched the kids in the good schools with the kids in the bad schools? Do you think the reputation of the schools would remain intact? No.
I think it’s worth considering why that is. It’s not because of inequality. It’s because different people value education differently, just like any other product or service.
Even in a country that provides publicly for education, people still get to make choices based on a number of factors. Those who value education more tend to choose to live in areas where their neighbors value it as well. Those who don’t value education as much are left in the bad schools.
Charters a good way to give more choice to the people who do value education, but happen to be stuck in the areas where their neighbors don’t value it as much.
But, charters won’t convince those who don’t value it, to value it more.