John Oliver made news this week with his blistering attack on charter schools. In the segment, Oliver blasts a former presidential candidate who used pizza shops to make the point that “[w]e will improve the public schools if there’s a sense of competition.” If there’s just one pizza shop in town, good luck getting better service. More pizza shops, more competition, more likely for consumers to get what they want.
Oliver responds: “The problem with letting the free market decide when it comes to kids is that kids change faster than the market. And by the time it’s obvious the school is failing, futures may have been ruined.” Oliver is misguided.
The fact is, because many traditional public schools are dismal, many children will be ruined if they were compelled to stay in those schools. Charter schools — independent public schools that compete with traditional public schools in the same district — provide children with the opportunity for an alternative education and a better outcome.
That is because choice works. After all, who do you trust to ensure that a child’s future is secure? A government bureaucrat who will get the same dollars no matter what happens to the child? Or the parents of the child for whom everything is at stake? The choice is clear.