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An interesting question was recently posed in a major publication: "How would you respond if you stumbled across a headline that asked, 'How much do farmers markets cost Walmart?"  It presupposes that the customer belongs to Walmart; and any time customers shop elsewhere, they're “robbing” the grocery giant. The context was in response to the introduction of charter schools which have met stiff resistance by the educational establishment.  Their argument implies that students taken from school systems are a drain on public school budgets. Charter schools of course are public schools and they offer an alternative for parents who want a better option for their children. After all, if we have the freedom to shop at places other than at the local Walmart, why shouldn't parents have the freedom to choose what they think is the best educational option for their children?

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center