Nancy Flanagan essentially accuses charter school supporters of being segregationists. I'm offended at her insinuation.
I'm sure that she doesn't really think that, but the title of her blog certainly implies it. There are a number of problems with her argument, and it isn't that I don't believe in integration.
She says, "But when we're talking about something as complex and critical to the national well-being as public education, an either-or choice of integration vs. good schools is unacceptable."
She follows with "Here's the real question: Shouldn't all Americans be concerned about promoting racial and economic equity?"
The problem is that when something is as complex as integration saying that this choice is "unacceptable" is unacceptable. There are a couple of ways I can think of to use the term "unacceptable. One is in a very literal way. An example could be, "It is unacceptable that one person murders another person." I think we'd all agree with that. We mean, not that it will never happen, but that we will not allow it to happen.
However, there are limits to what we can and can't prevent and there are differences between live options and real options.
I think that human trafficking is unacceptable. I think it's one of the worst disgraces on the planet today. Almost nothing is being done about it, relatively speaking. However, I believe that most people reading this blog would also say that it is "unacceptable."
I believe that racism is unacceptable. It doesn't mean that I can stop it.
In the same way, the fact that many ethnic minority families choose charter schools and that some charter schools become less integrated than the public schools is not something that I can stop. It is something that I hope changes over time. I also hope that by every child becoming better educated that more integration will happen in workplaces because children from backgrounds that have not traditionally been well educated will have opportunities that their parents and even their older siblings might not have had.
Perhaps the choice is "unacceptable" in a philosophical sense, but since today it appears that I have to choose, I would choose to send my child where I thought he or she would receive the best education. To argue that I'm "fine with segregation--as long as we have charter schools" is an exaggeration and a false dichotomy. In the same way that it's false to say, "I'm fine with human trafficking--as long as I still have my Chinese manufactured running shoes." Someone can wear running shoes from China and still oppose human trafficking in other ways--ways that might actually be more productive than worrying too much about who made the shoes.
Just because I support charter schools, doesn't mean that I'm "fine" with segregation. It can also mean that while I encourage integration, I'm also going to support charter schools and their work to better educate kids. I do promote racial and economic equity AND support charter schools. Sometimes I may not be able to prioritize both at the same time at the same level in all aspects of life, but it doesn't mean that I've forgotten either priority.