Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Options-qua-Options Are Morally Neutral

In an interview with WNYC, Chancellor Walcott said, among other things, that he is "jealous that parents have way more options than [he] had when [he] was a parent of school children." It caught my attention, on my morning commute today, that the Chancellor seems to believe that having options is, in and of itself, a good thing.

I'm not sure that I agree. I'm also not sure that all parents agree. The parents of eighth graders who were until recently shut out of their high school selections might exchange having hundreds of options for having a few good options from which they could choose expeditiously. Some options than some parents might like to have is the option for a large and comprehensive, and also high-quality, neighborhood high school, an option that is being taken away from many of NYC's parents and students.

As many of our regular readers know, I have certainly had mixed feelings about our still-new-ish Chancellor. I think that he believes that he has the best interests of children and parents at heart. His flaw, I think, is not the smug hubris of Mayor Bloomberg; it may simply be an excess of credulity when it comes to his boss's "reforms."

If I could, I would challenge the Chancellor personally on this position and on his unvarying support of the Mayor. I would remind him that more is not always better. I would remind him that options-qua-options are morally neutral, that the options need to be realistic and valuable in order to be good.
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