For years we've been told that charter schools are the future of public schooling. The reverse is true.
The pattern in publicly funded education, both domestically and internationally, has always been one of increasing regulation over time, and of the triumph of producer interests over the interests of parents and children. Public schools in the late 1800s had considerably more autonomy than do most modern charter schools. Over time, public schools have come under the sway of centralized bureaucracies dominated by employee unions.
That same pattern is playing out in the charter school sector. As the Associated Press reports today, the American Federation of Teachers has just signed several more collective bargaining agreements for charter school teachers in New York City and Chicago. Meanwhile, federal education secretary Arne Duncan has been calling for more government "accountability" (read: "regulation") for charters, singing from the union's hymnal. From the AP:
AFT president Randi Weingarten said the administration's push for more charter schools must come with stricter regulation. "You can't do one without the other," Weingarten said.
Duncan struck the same tone Monday, saying that only high-quality charters should be allowed to operate.
If you want to know what charter schools will look like in a generation or so, just look at the public school status quo.