25 Apr 2011

Rough Outline of a Centrist Model of Educational Reform

I wish this article went into ten times more detail, and said what the outcomes were from the example it brings up in comparison to other similar school systems, but this snippet from a piece at Education Week pretty well sums up what a centrist model for how to design a school system might look like:

You needn’t be a free-market fanatic to recognize that choice and competition, when properly designed and regulated, have much to contribute–more options for families, stronger incentives for schools, greater potential for dynamism and innovation. Yet the current education system, which is roughly a hundred years old, is an extreme institutional form–an all-government system–that fails to take any serious advantage of these contributions.

Such a system may have made sense a century ago, as the Progressives struggled to eliminate spoils and corruption by installing a more professional set of arrangements. But today, the all-government system they bequeathed us is a relic of the past. And by embracing it as somehow normal and natural, we allow ourselves to be prisoners of that past.

Consider a simple thought experiment. Suppose we could go back to square one and design the nation’s education system from the ground up, in any way we thought most productive. Would we build an extreme, all-government system in which choice and competition are virtually absent? I venture to say that, for most people who are actively involved in the nation’s reform movement, the answer is clearly no.

As with everything else… this is not a silver bullet, but it is one of the big changes that I think would make a huge difference.

Read on at Education Week »

Author Details
After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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2 thoughts on “Rough Outline of a Centrist Model of Educational Reform”

  1. I was shocked to read about the homeless woman who was arrested for sending her son to a school outside the legally mandated area. I went to a high school clear at the other end of the city and no one batted an eye. What is the justification for preventing at least this much choice?

    1. No kidding. It does make sense to prioritize who gets the first slots by who lives closer, but past that, a lottery, and when a school is getting more students, it should get more money and expand so it can take more. If kids keep choosing that school over others and it needs to keep expanding until other schools lose so many kids they are shut down and consolidated, so be it.

      Parents committing fraud to get their kids into school shouldn’t be jailed… their kids should go where a fair system would send them, but unless they broke some other law, sending them to jail is clearly overboard.

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