Charter Schools Fetishize Parents and “The Kids” While Ignoring the Role of Education in a Modern Society

The role of education in a society is to consciously pass on the accumulated knowledge of humanity to the next generation so that society keeps moving forward.

This is especially true in a modern society based on mass industrial production where all sectors of the economy are interdependent and large-scale in character.

Millions of highly-educated and skilled people are needed today to operate, organize, and develop a modern society and economy. Education is indispensable to the extended reproduction of society and the economic system, and goes beyond parents and “the kids.”

One of the key ideological devices used often by charter school advocates who embrace individualism, consumerism, competition, and Skinnerian ideology is that schools are mainly, if not entirely, about parents and “the kids.” Parents and “the kids” occupy center-stage in charter school discourse. It is as if nothing else exists or matters. There is little or no mention of the necessity for education to serve the economy, the nation, and the broader society. A big-picture view of education is generally missing. Charter school advocates rarely talk about education from the perspective of the general interests of society and a modern large-scale industrial economy. This is why charter school supporters constantly and self-servingly over-use the rhetoric of “empowering parents,” while saying nothing about the broader and deeper reasons for education in a modern society.

Public schools, on the other hand, have always recognized the value and importance of education for society, democracy, the nation, and the economy. Public schools in America came into being more than 150 years ago to engage in nation-building.

Charter schools, by their very nature, are engaging in nation-wrecking by promoting the law of the jungle, a fend-for-yourself ethos, poor results, scandal after scandal, and more.

A modern nation and economy—a sustainable future—cannot be built by deregulated schools that close frequently, are segregated, plagued by fraud, and governed by unelected people.

Shawgi Tell is author of the book Charter School Report Card. He can be reached at Read other articles by Shawgi.