Monday, February 04, 2013

Gloria Romero on Education Choice and Competition Index

Gloria Romero on the Brookings Institution’s recently released Education Choice and Competition Index – and how various cities in CA fared:

It didn't take long for the ECCI to be attacked by status quo interests that have long defended current education policies and practices. These criticisms, largely, have simply repeated the dual drumbeats of 
1) "We need more money," which, indeed, we need; however, if it's going to be allocated in the same way it is now, absent any reforms, then we are simply going to see the same results; and 2) "But it's those kids who come from poor homes."

Of the two criticisms, the second is the more insidious. It blames victims and exonerates the education bureaucracy of any wrongdoing in perpetuating a system in drastic need of overhauling.

The ECCI incorporates several factors when ranking jurisdictions, including availability of alternative schools, policies on virtual education, open enrollment, transportation opportunities, funding following students, school quality, etc. The full report can be accessed at

Thirteen California districts were among the 107 districts evaluated nationwide.

California's highest-scoring district – San Diego Unified – earned a B-minus, followed by four earning a C: Los Angeles Unified, San Francisco Unified, Sacramento City Unified, and Fresno Unified.
Not one school district in Orange County received a passing grade. Capistrano Unified led the pack, with a D. Santa Ana Unified and Garden Grove Unified received F's.

The ECCI is an imperfect tool. But the results are eye-opening and provide a valid snapshot of the quality of education choice and competition within large U.S. school districts. A foundation for supporting choice is recognizing its catalytic effects in jump-starting educating reforms and stimulating academic successes.

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