DN Editorial: Painted into a corner
Define the Problem
First, I want to acknowledge the precise shading of the problem, because it does have a major effect on what we propose as a solution. Most charteristas frame the issue as "allowing students to escape failing schools." As a statement of the problem, this has a major shortcoming for charter promoters. If the problem is that some schools are failing, why oh why would we discuss saving some students and abandoning others instead of discussing how to make the school Not Fail? Reformsters have toyed with the recovery model, where the failing school is taken over by charteristas, but that doesn't seem to be a popular approach. At the very least, it requires reformsters to push straight through local opposition to the takeover of public schools.
If the problem is schools that are failing because they lack resources, support and money, the most obvious solution is to give them resources, support, and money. But there's no growth opportunity for charteristas in that. Petrilli's framing is more elegantly useful. If the problem is Bad Students, then no amount of money or resources is likely to fix the problem. Instead, we must separate the bad seeds from the good, allow the poor but gifted students to depart for more the company of a better class of peers. This is an excellent growth opportunity for the modern charter entrepreneurs.