More than 30 parents pitched tents over the weekend at Fairview-Clifton German Language School on Clifton Avenue, more than a week ahead of the Nov. 16 application date. This is the earliest parents have ever started camping out for the so-called “magnet schools” – schools that are sought after for their specialty programs like foreign language or arts or teaching styles like Montessori. The number of campers had swelled to 48 by noon.
Among the campers is my brother, a public school teacher himself, who hopes to enroll his daughter in a highly sought after magnet school.
What an indictment of the Cincinnati Public School system. No matter what the product is, a queue 200 hours long is evidence of a serious mismatch between the demand for a desired service and the available supply. Were education operating in a more free market system, this mismatch would spur expansion of those charter and magnet programs as well as prompt new ones to begin to meet obviously unmet needs. Instead CPS is blind to the problem that has apparently been around for years. They focus only on the symptom of people camping out for days on end who “deny” to non-campers an enrollment opportunity, without ever considering that the root cause of the campouts is that the product they currently deliver has no value to a large segment of the market. That in itself is ample proof that a magnet or charter education, operating outside the CPS mainstream, is a much better product than whatever regular education Cincinnati Public Schools can deliver.
There is no greater evidence than this campout, that my brother and his wife are deserving of our best wishes in their quest to save my niece from CPS.