Bar scene from A Beautiful Mind: What if no one goes for the blonde? We don’t get in each other’s way, and we don’t insult the other girls. That’s the only way we win. That’s the only way we all get laid.
Adam Smith said, the best result comes from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself, right? That’s what he said, right? Incomplete. Incomplete! The best result will come when everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself — and the group.*
Boston has 5 major choice providers. Catholic schools. METCO. Pilot schools. Exam schools. Charters. Separately, none of us has more than 10% market share. Together, 30+%.
As providers — we all go for the blonde, we promote only our own particular version of choice. We don’t cooperate. Many of us don’t even know one another.
What would it mean for providers to cooperate around a pro-parent-option agenda? We’d have to sacrifice. Unfortunately, some more than others. This makes initiating cooperation harder.
For example, pilot schools already get the cold shoulder from their union; joining a pro-parent agenda would inflame things. Similarly, METCO already has uneasy relations with partner districts. Meanwhile, Catholic schools lose customers to “free” providers of education.
Charters are like the dorkiest guy in the bar (I identify!): not much to lose by cooperating, since we’re already on a political island, and have long waiting lists.
If any reader is channeling John Nash, and knows of a city where various parent choice providers have united, please be heard in the comment section!
*The movie gets Adam Smith all wrong, but whatever.