How to Save the GOP

What can conservatives do to shed their image as “a party of plutocrats who get a kick out of kicking the poor when they’re down”[?]

Writing in the pages of libertarian flagship Reason Magazine, A. Barton Hinkle pleads with conservatives to get on the charter-school bus.

Liberal politicians such as President Obama and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio have handed conservatives a golden opportunity, Hinkle argues.  When liberals close down charter schools and limit vouchers, they doom low-income children to “reactionary” public schools.  By promoting market reforms, allowing parents to choose among a variety of schools, conservatives can kill two birds with one stone.

First, conservatives will be able to introduce a significant measure of market discipline into a social institution firmly dominated by entrenched and bloated unions.  Second, conservatives will be able to claim without flinching that they represent society’s least powerful.  Charter schools and voucher opportunities can benefit low-income parents the most.

Can this strategy work?  Can conservatives take the wind from liberals’ sails by promoting school privatization?

We’ve seen recently how it can fail.  Mayor De Blasio’s recent challenger Joe Lhota went all-in for charter schools.  Didn’t help.

Perhaps other conservative politicians will manage to do better.

 

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2 Comments

  1. In my county in NC, at least, charter schools’ “option for the poor” always seems to become “option for the rich”…

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  2. My daughter is a high school math teacher at a charter school in Northeast Philadelphia. She has been there for five years, (this is her sixth year there) and she likes it. The biggest “plus” is that the administration backs up discipline. No disruptive students are allowed to remain. The curriculum is constantly being reviewed, the class sizes are smaller, and the students, overall, perform well. Not every charter school is a rousing success, but those that are good schools really help out the poor.

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