Expanding choice

Expanding Choice in Elementary and Secondary Education, a Brookings Institution report, concludes that we can’t rely on charters and vouchers to create sufficient parental choice. It’s got to happen within school districts. The report calls for:

a) a system that affords parents as much choice as possible within the universe of taxpayer supported students and schools, b) portals by which parents can readily access rich information on the performance of schools that is framed to be useful in exercising choice, and c) a funding system that supports the growth of parentally preferred schools and school systems, including virtual education programs.

Popular schools should receive more funding to meet enrollment demand, the report recommends, while schools that draw few students should be restructured or closed.

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Comments

  1. Right. Magnet schools. Is it working?

  2. Don Bemont says:

    c) a funding system that supports the growth of parentally preferred schools and school systems, including virtual education programs.

    Love it or hate it, virtual education programs are the odds on favorite to be the actual direction of any major increase in parental preference in education, and could be merged into home schooling, charter schools, or existing public school districts.

    For students, this would maximize options but diminish the power of personal connections with instructors. Rural students would potentially gain the most in terms of options, since sparsely populated areas cannot support a wide variety of brick and mortar schools. Admittedly, I would be more optimistic about the effectiveness if I had not witnessed the abysmal results of distance learning, a prior effort a increasing choice at the cost of personal contact – but there are some important differences between distance learning and virtual education programs.

    For the country, it would leverage the power of business competition but increase insularity of demographic groups.

    Economically, it has potential to lower the costs of education (the devil would be in the details), but also, like most automation, decrease the total number of jobs, while probably allowing a significant number of jobs to be exported to other countries.

  3. Has Brookings bowed to the power of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel? The CED/Urban Institute/Brookings study Vouchers and the Provision of Public Services broadly supported vouchers for tuition at independent and parochial schools.

    “Political reality” is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

  4. Shouldn’t try to write without my morning coffee. “Prophecy”. Sheesh!

  5. “Has Brookings bowed to the power of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel?”

    Correct. If it HAS to happen within the framework of a public (government) school district, as Brookings suggests, it will not happen because it cannot happen in this framework.