Advancing a Free Society

The Myth of the “Good” School

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Matthew Stewart, a stay-at-home Dad in a wealthy New Jersey suburb, is leading a battle against the “boutique” charter schools that are being planned for his community.

“I’m in favor of a quality education for everyone,” Stewart told Winnie Hu of the New York Times. “In suburban areas like Millburn, there’s no evidence whatsoever that the local school district is not doing its job. So what’s the rationale for a charter school?”

Great question! With an easy answer: different parents define “quality education” differently. One person’s “good school” is another person’s “bad fit.” Stewart may love his public schools, which might do an excellent job providing a straight-down-the-middle education to its (mostly affluent) charges. But the parents developing a nearby charter school want something more. (Namely, a Mandarin-immersion experience for their kids.) For which Mr. Stewart labels them “selfish.”

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