Bill Perkins: Parents are Suckers

Saturday’s New York Times reported on the curious case of State Senator Bill Perkins, who “wars against” charter schools despite representing so many of them–and despite having benefited from educational choice himself. (Economist Tyler Cowen is ”astounded.”) If you haven’t, go read the whole thing.

Perkins holds two core beliefs about charter schools:

1. Demand for charters shows that district schools are bad.
2. But charter schools are not meaningfully better.

Isn’t that a contradiction? Why would parents flock to schools that are no better? Ah, but Perkins holds a third belief that squares the circle. As he tells the Times:

”I understandÖ parents being concerned and willing to do whatever they need to do to get the best education for their children and get it whatever way they can. My concern is that they are being sold something that is hype, that is all about creating more demand.”

In other words, after ten years of charter schools in Harlem, parents are applying by the tens of thousands because they fell for the hype. Call it…

PERKINS’ LAW: “Parents want the best education for their children, but only Bill Perkins can be trusted to recognize it.”

Someone should try explaining Perkins’ Law to Ebony Brown, a Harlem parent with children at both public and charter schools. She somehow has the impression that the charter school is more attentive, responsive, organized, and effective.

You know, it’s just so sad to see a parent with this degree of false consciousness. If Ms. Brown ever wants to see past the smoke and mirrors, she should run for State Senate.

UPDATED to correct a word in the Perkins quote, above.

Photo Credit: Thomas Good / NLN