A member of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition is quoted in a article critical of school choice.
In an article originally published by Alternet, a liberal online newsmagazine, GSIW member Karey Harwood charges that school choice supporters are out to create a "divided society of winners and losers." The article, originally titled "5 Biggest Lies About the Right-Wing Corporate-Backed War on Our Schools" was reposted Tuesday by Salon.com for National School Choice Week.
"When they talk about choice, whose choices are they referring to?" Harwood says in the article. "Are the children of people who are savvy enough to get out of the public schools the only children who are worth educating in our society? What happens to the children who don’t get out?
It seems the [people behind School Choice Week] knowingly embrace the idea of creating a second tier of schools for those American citizens who don’t or can’t ‘choose’ – and they are perfectly okay with a divided society of winners and losers.”
The article describe Harwood, an ethics professor at N.C. State, as a "public school advocate."
"She is an activist with Great Schools in Wake, an organization that formed in 2009 to oppose a school choice platform pushed by a newly elected right-wing school board in Wake County, North Carolina," according to the article written by Kristin Rawls. "The state chapter of the NAACP has also opposed school choice, arguing that it will lead to the re-segregation of schools in Raleigh, North Carolina and its surrounding suburbs."
The article includes several other quotes from Harwood.
“One of the most problematic aspects [of it] is the idea of ‘choice’ itself," Harwood says in the article. "What the [people behind School Choice Week] seem to be saying…is that, rather than strengthen a weakened public school system because we believe in public schools as the foundation of a democratic society, the solution is to abandon public schools altogether, let them deteriorate, and replace them with alternative private schools and charter schools that can claim they cater to every possible parental preference.”
Harwood also apparently takes shots at conservatives Art Pope and the Koch Brothers, whom the article says "are promoting the privatization of education as a way of shoring up profits for themselves and other large corporations."
The article quotes Harwood as saying that applying this business model to education results in a system that “pits schools against each other in a competitive market…, [and] that’s really not the best way to go about improving school quality. In fact, it’s very counterproductive.”
“School choice is not the panacea that [its supporters are] making it out to be," Harwood is also quoted as saying in the article. "There is plenty of room for creativity and innovation within public schools. There should be plenty of motivation to strive for excellence. To rely always on this free market ideology as the solution to problems in the public schools [signals] a very limited way of thinking.
When students are healthy and well-fed and schools are well-resourced, the results in American schools are excellent. Poverty and extreme social inequality are the real” barriers to adequate education. And as all of my sources confirm, school choice is an unsuitable one-size-fits-all solution that often marginalizes poor children and children of color rather than fixing their schools."