Choices or Rights? Charter Schools and the Politics of Choice-Based Education Policy Reform

Abstract

Simply put, charter schools have not lived up to their advocates’ promise of equity. Using examples of tangible civil rights gains of the twentieth century and extending feminist theories of invisible labor to include the labor of democracy, the authors argue that the charter movement renders invisible the labor that secured civil protections for historically marginalized groups. The charter movement hangs a quality public education—previously recognized as a universal guarantee—on the education consumer’s ability to navigate a marketplace. The authors conclude that the neoliberal agenda of positioning choice as the best mechanism for securing an education rolls back the rights that were already secured through the labor of democracy.

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