I’ve been getting a lot of emails wondering why nothing on the blog about the recent Washington Post package on D.C. charter schools. Short answer: I’ve been underwater with a few other projects.
But, briefly, I found the first story too hot. It looks like Tom Nida may not have been as careful as he should have been around fully disclosing all intersections of interest between his work and his D.C. charter board service. However The Post’s treatment was, I thought, over the top because that doesn’t equate to self-dealing and unless that can clearly be shown this isn’t a conflict of interest story but rather a more complicated story about the confluences of interest that frequently arise around public markets and must be managed appropriately. The second story was, on the other hand, too cold. Sure, many charter schools are providing good public options for students in D.C. and helping leverage some broader changes in the city’s schools. And, charters are unfairly maligned in D.C. and elsewhere. But after that story a reader could be excused for not realizing that there are also some lousy charters in the city, too, and some messes that need cleaning up. The story was too enthusiastic and they didn’t dig deep enough into the data.
So, all that is why I liked Saturday’s editorial on the whole thing. It was just right.