I have nothing against Chicago or Gates. I'm glad to see a Democrat "wake up and smell the failure" of public schools. For too long, Democrats have been the facilitators of teachers unions, to the detriment of children. The unions are doing their job: protecting the economic interests of their collective constituency, i.e., they favor the more senior teachers as they pay the most in union dues, and they favor a flat/time-serving rewards system over differentiation of performance and linkage of pay. Great. That's what they're “supposed” to do. However, Democrats have systematically privileged those interests above those of the taxpayers (ask the bankrupt municipalities in California) and children (ask the inner-city black and Hispanic kids in underperforming schools and their parents, who have no choices and no rights). 

Competition is the key. We have unfettered competition at the college/grad school level and the best institutions in the world. Ask the tens of thousands of foreigners who come here and pay top dollar to go. We have failing K-12 schools because of local monopolies. To the extent charter schools introduce competition, they are good. Give poor parents the same choice your or my economic status gives us: I can choose private school (actually parochial school, as I believe education divorced from moral instruction is lacking) and you can choose a public school system and the attendant property taxes. I find it amusing how often "publicly minded" Democrat parents find it imperative to move to Montgomery County or Falls Church and out of D.C. as their kids become school-age. Ditto for President Barack Hussein Obama: No way his kids were going to a public school … it was Sidwell Friends all the way. I find this the height of hypocrisy, but, hey — you guys are only limousine liberals. What else could I expect?