Andrei Shleifer, Communism & School Reform
Neerav Kingsland, Chief Strategy Officer of New Schools for New Orleans, with some interesting parallels and lessons between countries moving from Communism to free markets, vs. school systems moving from centralized control to a marketplace (like New Orleans):
Andre Shleifer, a professor of Economics at Harvard, recently wrote an excellent article: "Seven Things I Learned About Transition from Communism." In case you don't know Andre, some consider him to be the most cited economist in the world.
The analysis is interesting throughout – it deviates from both "progressive" and "conservative" talking points on key issues. Take five minutes and read the whole thing.
For those of us Relinquishers who see opportunity in moving public schooling from government-operated to government-regulated and non-profit run, lessons abound. For those skeptical of these types of reforms – lessons also abound. See below for the summary of Andrei's lessons – laced with my takeaways for improving our educational system:
Lesson 1: "First, in all countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, economic activity shrunk at the beginning of transition, in some very sharply."
Education Takeaway: Underperforming government institutions with decades of accumulated knowledge may outperform cohorts of start-up enterprises in their early years. Could this explain the poor results of the CREDO study?