A. Barton Hinkle on How Virginia Democrats Suddenly Discovered the Virtues of Local Control


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Virginia's charter-school system is notoriously weak. While other states from New York to Louisiana have moved forward by offering more education options, Virginia has remained stuck in the past. There are roughly 5,700 charter schools across the country. Virginia has six. This is partly owing to the way Virginia gives school boards veto power over charter schools. If the local education establishment does not want any competition or experimentation—and why would it?—it can simply say no.

What's more, state Democrats want to keep it that way. As one Democratic senator put it, "charter schools have a role to play in education, but we shouldn't be imposing them on communities in a top-down process." But since when, asks A. Barton Hinkle, have Democrats ever opposed top-down mandates? It's almost as if they don't give a fig about local control—and are just using it as a handy excuse to oppose parents having any more control over children's education.