What could go wrong when the paper of record gets a credentialed scholar to take apart charter schools? According to an Obama Administration alumni, plenty. “After a much needed break from all things education, I returned to find an op-ed in the New York Times from Antioch University writing professor Erin Aubry Kaplan about school choice,” Peter Cunningham writes in The Education Post. “I hate arguing with an author who worships President Obama, but for the life of me, I cannot abide her incoherent argument against charter schools.” Cunningham served as assistant secretary for communications and outreach in the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama Administration.
Kaplan suggests that charter schools are discriminatory, a characterization Cunnigham takes issue with. “Today, there are few effective strategies for creating diverse schools in a country where school attendance boundaries are closely tied to segregated communities,” Cunningham writes. “School choice, however, is one of them.”
Cunningham notes that “the Century Foundation has documented, some 125 ‘diverse-by-design’ public charter schools are measurably more diverse than their surrounding schools. It is also true that some charters are less diverse, and in some cases, they are intentionally discriminatory. But as a policy lever, charters have empowered millions of families who previously had no choices.”
Moreover, he notes that “If anything, White liberals in blue states like New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington are limiting school choice, but the numbers are not with them. Today, the public school population is majority-minority and majority low-income. Multiple polls in recent years show people of color strongly support parent choice”