It’s time to “unbundle” the schoolhouse, writes Rick Hess in Customized Schooling: Beyond Whole-School Reform, edited by Hess and Bruno Manno. Without necessarily “reforming” the whole school, it should be possible to provide high-quality services, such as algebra instruction, virtual tutoring or parent engagement, Hess and Manno argue.
The “whole-school” assumption that every school must find ways to serve every academic need of every individual student has overburdened educators and institutions. As a result, they have trouble doing anything especially well.
Specialized providers of tutoring, language instruction, art and music classes, etc. shouldn’t be limited to serving only affluent parents — or starting their own charter school — Hess and Manno writes.
Also in the book: Chris Whittle on the emergence of transnational school providers; Checker Finn and Eric Osberg on “educational savings accounts” which permit parents to customize services; Joe Williams on empowering parents to make smart choices; Doug Lynch and Michael Gottfried on informing parents about the quality of specialized education services; Jon Fullerton on data systems that support choice andBurck Smith on introducing cost sensitivity into K-12 schooling. Ted Kolderie and Curtis Johnson discuss the policy implications.