The recent firing of 24 principals in Washington, D.C., illustrates perfectly a point that school choice proponents have made time and time again. One of the principals dismissed was the principal at the school attended by the children of D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
Before the firing, Rhee had promised to recuse herself from the process—to avoid a “conflict of interest,” naturally. There was concern that this didn’t actually happen. The Washington Post reports that at a meeting of concerned parents, Rhee had to deflect allegations that the firing “stemmed from back-channel lobbying by a small group” and one “parent characterized the move as ‘conspiratorial’ in nature.”
But since Rhee no doubt wants her children to attend a good school just like every parent wants for their own children, why should her alleged involvement be seen as a conflict of interest? Why not consider it a coincidence of interest?
True, different parents have different ideas about what makes a school good. But that is just the point: A system of school choice gives all parents an equal chance to “fire” their children’s teachers and principals.
Government-run schools face political contention over their decisions because political contention is the only means by which parents can influence those decisions. In a system of school choice, however, parents have no reason to worry about politics; they only have to figure out which school is best for their children.
Cross-posted at InsiderOnline.