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When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale

reviewed by Dorothy Shipps - 2001

coverTitle: When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale
Author(s): Edward B. Fiske and Helen F. Ladd
Publisher: Brookings Institution, Washington D.C.
ISBN: 0815728360, Pages: 320, Year: 2000
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"Choice" and "decentralization" are two popular solutions to the problems of urban education widely promoted in recent decades. Along with "accountability" and "standards," they form the core of our contemporary reform rhetoric. Yet, too often, their invocation has more symbolic than substantive meaning. Edward Fiske and Helen Ladd have found substantive bedrock under these concepts. They have written a clear-headed, compelling and skillful analysis of New Zealand’s recent experience with school choice and decentralization. And, although they never directly address it, the implications of their study have much to say about the issue of accountability. Their book should be this summer’s required reading for every education policy maker in the United States. When Schools Compete follows in a long tradition of looking abroad for guidance about our own school reform efforts. Fiske and Ladd sought out New Zealand in 1998 because its experiment with parent governance, combined with nation-wide open enrollment and school competition, was a "laboratory" in which to study how "self-governing schools operate in a competitive environment... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 103 Number 1, 2001, p. 77-80
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10539, Date Accessed: 5/12/2021 7:33:23 PM

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About the Author
  • Dorothy Shipps
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    Dorothy Shipps is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Organization and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University currently researching the nexus of business, politics and school reform in Chicago. She is co-editor with Larry Cuban of Reconstructing the Common Good in Education: Coping with Intractable American Dilemmas, (Stanford University Press June, 2000) and lead author of "The Politics of Urban School Reform: Legitimacy, City Growth and School Improvement in Chicago" with Joseph Kahne and Mark Smylie (Educational Policy, 1999).
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