This is what President Obama said in Flint, Michigan.
It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how responsible you are, how you
raise your kids. You can’t set up a whole water system for a city.
That’s not something you do by yourself. You do it with other people.
You can’t hire your own fire department or your own police force, or
your own army. They’re things we have to do together. Basic things that
we all benefit from.
It's a really good thought, a clear and direct statement about the value of community goods, the things that we create and maintain in the common space.
And yet somehow the administration does not see how this same reasoning applies to schools.
Of course you can't set up a whole water system for a city-- but, if you are rich enough and powerful enough, you can set up a system for yourself and let everyone else in the city go pound sand. Any public good can be purchased with private money, if your pile of money is large enough.
You can't set up a school system for a whole city any more than you can hire your own police and fire fighters. Which is to say, you can do it if you have the money. But it won't be for everyone-- just for the chosen few.
So apparently the President opposes the notion of a charter water system, a charter fire department, or a charter police force as a way to serve a whole city. He did not stand in Flint and declare that when the water system was a mess, the solution would be to let a bunch of entrepreneurs set up various competing small scale water systems as laboratories of innovation. He did not suggest that the right visionary entrepreneur really could create a great water system for the whole city.
It would be ridiculous to suggest that a conglomeration of competing water companies, fire departments, or police stations-- all financed with the same total funding used to run just one of each-- would be a solution.
The President clearly accepted that it's clearly ridiculous to suggest that a messy mass of individually launched public services could ever properly protect and maintain the public good. He clearly understands that letting money-motivated individuals mess with a public good leads to disasters like a poisoned water supply. So the mystery remains-- why does he not see that it is patently ridiculous to let such cash-chasing individuals loose in the public good that is education? Is one of these things really not like the others?