My momma told me, you'd better shop around

Low-income African-American families are fleeing Minneapolis public schools en masse, reports Katherine Kersten on the Op-Ed page of the Wall Street Journal. They’re following the advice of Louis King, a black leader and former Minneapolis school board member who tells parents frustrated by grossly underperforming schools, “The best way to get attention is not to protest, but to shop somewhere else.” Many are “shopping” at charter schools, as evidenced by the more than 300 percent increase in Minneapolis’s charter enrollment over the past five years. The Minneapolis school district is certainly feeling the effects. Just under half of the city’s school-age children attend district public schools. “You’ll have to make big changes to get us back,” King tells the school board. Unfortunately, the chances of that are, well, a bit Smokey.

Don't Protest, Just Shop Somewhere Else,” Katherine Kersten, Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2006 (subscription required)