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.