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Charter Schools: What Would Dr. King Say?

As we mark another day of commemoration for the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we may wonder what Dr. King would make of our current state of educational affairs, wherein education is declared by reformers, with no apparent irony, as the civil rights issue for a generation of children whose schools are more segregated by race and class than those of 30 years ago. We can only guess how he might respond to business and political leaders who offer segregated total-compliance schools run by corporations as the only other choice for parents who desperately want something more than the malignantly neglected public schools that have recently had the remaining trust and human caring squeezed out of them under the weight of test-and-punish reforms. Indeed, we may wonder what Dr. King would say to those federal officials and corporate foundation heads who view children principally for the future capital they will generate to maintain a corrupted anti-worker political economy and corporate welfare system that threaten to undermine democracy, equal opportunity and free enterprise itself....

In the coming years, if corporate foundations like Gates, Broad, Fisher and Walton, along with the political establishment whose favor they curry, would put as much economic and ideological weight behind rebuilding a stronger and more equitable public system of schools, rather than tearing down a system that took almost 200 years to create, then the ideals of American democracy would have a much better chance to survive these difficult times and, perhaps, one day flourish in ways we have yet to witness. I believe Dr. King would agree.

(Jim Horn, Charter Schools: What Would Dr. King Say?)

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