Per this post a reader writes:

A general concern raised by both papers is that the “market hasn’t worked.” That’s not so. For example, new schools have developed, many have created specialized or innovative programs, parents are exercising their right to choose from among these new schools, and so on. The more nuanced truth is that important pieces of the market haven’t worked like many of us thought they would. For example, the DC and Milwaukee school systems haven’t radically improved as a result of the competition; high-performing voucher schools aren’t replicating and taking a larger share of the market; and low-performing schools aren’t disappearing quickly enough.

The fascinating thing is that the same thing has happened in the charter sector. That is, the best charters haven’t replicated fast enough; the worst charters are harder to close than we thought; and even though charters have more than 20% of the market in DC and Dayton, those systems haven’t undergone a major renaissance.

The ultimate question that the newspapers don’t tackle and that way too few of us in education reform are grappling with in a serious way is, “Why is the education market functioning differently?” Lots of people have pet theories, but almost all of them are incomplete and/or unconvincing (Kolderie and Hess being exceptions).

If we ask that question then we’ll start discussing things like purpose, design, and measurement. And that conversation keeps our eye on the ball (better schools, better schools, better schools…swing!) unlike the longstanding, fruitless ideological battles that have dominated the voucher/charter discussion over the last 15 years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.