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School Choice

Posted By: Richard Birdsall on July 25, 2002
In reality we don't have much a clue about the efficiency of a public school "market". How does such a market work? Will this market sort for quality? How much and of what quality will be the information upon which consumers will choose institutions operating in this "market"? Will it provide real "choice"?

While some anecdotal information about competition, information-sharing between choice and public schools, and increased quality is floating around, no one has effectively demonstrated that any kind of choice market will result in anything positive.

At the bottom of most discussions about choice is one of two orientations: arguing for/against choice schools as a free-marketeer or arguing pro/con as a matter of equity. Marketeers argue that the market can efficiently fix school problems. Equity advocates suggest choice schools can provide the sort of education public schools cannot or will not provide minority and rural children.

Personally, I see most of the positive claims made for school choice as advocacy based on just a little evidence. Inevitably school choice will grow and we will begin to collect the data to prove right either the wisdom or fallacies of choice.
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 Research Opportunities by Ronald Nuttall on July 2, 2002
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