fb-pixel Skip to main content

We should worry about where chips will fall once charter cap is lifted

In “Take the Rawls test on Question 2” (Opinion, Oct. 26), Scot Lehigh challenges readers to think about the ballot question to lift the charter school cap as if we were viewing it from behind philosopher John Rawls’s “veil of ignorance.” That’s a fascinating experiment, because it calls on us to imagine that we ourselves could be one of the least advantaged members of our society.

Behind this veil, as Lehigh says, we choose “the arrangement we’d favor if we didn’t know our class position, social status, or place in society.” But, contra Lehigh’s argument, knowing so little about who we are or our actual circumstances, we would almost certainly vote “no” on lifting the cap on charters.

When the veil is lifted, we could find ourselves among those children with severe special needs, those with social or emotional disorders, or those who are just learning English — precisely those children underserved or rejected by charters. We would find that, once this cruel experiment in market competition has played itself out, we are left with chronically underfunded public schools, school closures, disrupted lives, and an ever more unbreakable pattern of segregation, inequality, and poverty.


To avoid that risk, any reasonable person would vote “no” on Question 2.

Michael Zilles
Newton Teachers Association