In today’s NY Daily News Diane Ravitch takes issue with a proposed Khalil Gibran International Academy in New York City. I take her larger point: Public schools are about creating a public.
But — and I don’t know the ins and outs of this proposal, so this is a more general point — this conversation always seems to play out in a binary way as though policymakers have no leverage over such schools and are powerless to the whims of ethnic and racial activists if they allow a school at all like this to open. In fact, there are plenty of ways to allow schools with a cultural focus to operate while preserving core public purposes in public education. And it is a question we have to tackle because while a school like this gets headlines, your run-of-the-mill voucher program raises the same questions.