Thursday, October 25, 2007

Choice may not improve schools, study says

For those who think vouchers are THE solution, this study will be discouraging.  For those, like me, who think a well-designed program that gives parents a range of choices is one of 100 1% solutions, this study isn't surprising or discouraging.

"The report you are reading did not yield the results we had hoped to  find," George Lightbourn, a senior fellow at the institute, wrote in the  paper's first sentence.
"We had expected to find a wellspring of hope that increased parental involvement in the Milwaukee Public Schools would be the key ingredient in improving student performance," Lightbourn wrote. But "there are realistic limits on the degree to which parental involvement can drive market-based reform in Milwaukee."
Even some of the most ardent supporters of school choice in Milwaukee have seen that the purest version of the idea - in which there is little government oversight of schools, and parental decisions in a free market dictate which  schools thrive -- does not square with the reality of what happened in Milwaukee when something close to such a system existed.
That reality can be summed up in two phrases: "bad schools" and "little change."

Choice may not improve schools, study says
Report on MPS comes from longtime supporter of plan
Posted: Oct. 23, 2007

A study being released today suggests that school choice isn't a powerful tool for driving educational improvement in Milwaukee Public Schools.

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