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January 27, 2014

Two-Track Charter Expansion and More Cool Stuff From School Choice Week

This week is School Choice Week. I generally hate these designated "weeks," as they're mostly an occasion for p.r. extravaganzas and an opportunity for the faithful to bang the drum. And, for better or worse, that's not really my scene. That said, it turns out that choice week is also the occasion for a cluster of pretty cool things.

January 20, 2014

Voucher Programs, Private Schools, and State Tests

Last week, there was something of a kerfuffle over the proposal from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute to impose new regulations on voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs. Fordham called for requiring all participating students to take state assessments; mandating public disclosure of those results, school by school, except for schools that enroll fewer than ten total students in tested grades; and requiring schools that enroll a substantial number of students to have their eligibility determined by how their students perform on state tests.

October 11, 2013

What to Make of Politico's Big Anti-Voucher Story

Earlier this week, Politico ran a story on school vouchers headlined "Vouchers Don't Do Much for Students," and that was probably the most pro-voucher line in the piece. When it comes to making sense of an article like this, there are at least four points worth keeping in mind.

May 23, 2012

Occupy School Choice?

Last week, I had an exchange with the Fordham Institute's "school choice czar" Adam Emerson, in which I argued that Emerson showed an unfortunate disregard for the legitimate concerns of parents and taxpayers in Zachary, Louisiana, in upbraiding them for not opening their schools to the state's new ...

May 17, 2012

Sanctimonious Scolding Isn't a Great Strategy for Promoting School Choice

The other day, the Fordham Institute's Adam Emerson attacked Louisiana's Zachary school district for having the temerity to not participate in the state's new voucher program. After expressing initial interest, Zachary opted not to partake. The voucher program, championed by Governor Bobby Jindal, ...

October 19, 2011

Maybe Parents Aren't Dopes

For nearly two decades, one of the striking findings in school choice research is that parents are hugely positive about schools of choice even when the test results show only modest benefits for their kids. In some circles, particularly among education professors, this has led to various lamentati...

September 29, 2010

Does School Choice "Work"?

I generally support proposals to expand school vouchers, tuition tax credits, and charter schools. I do so not because I think they are sure to improve test scores or quickly "fix" schooling, but because they're essential for creating unobstructed opportunities for problem-solvers. That said, for r...

April 28, 2010

Am I a Raging Hypocrite? My Disparate Reactions to the Stanford New School and Milwaukee Vouchers

Some readers challenged me last week on an intriguing question: Why did I react so differently to the underwhelming findings on the performance of Milwaukee voucher students and to the Ravenswood City school board's effort to shutter the Stanford Graduate School of Education's charter school for med...

April 19, 2010

Stanford's Big Brains Get the Boot

In my recent book Education Unbound, I argue that a big problem with "best practices"-style reform is that good ideas often don't play out as intended. Even pedigreed ideas that are cooked up by big-brained professors and prove successful at hand-picked pilot sites often fail to deliver at scale. ...

April 15, 2010

Even Cows Need Care and Feeding

As I noted yesterday, I think my good friend Kevin Carey is mistaken in arguing that vouchers in and of themselves are a recipe for dramatically changing the incentives in education. Look, to take just one example, recognize that non-profits unable to offer discounts to families really have little ...

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The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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