In the prior post, I described an argument that we should govern our schools like our colleges. In this post, I take on one piece of that argument—the conventional wisdom that our colleges are better than our schools.

For close observers of U.S. education policy, one thing that stands out is that we govern our K-12 schools very differently from our colleges and universities. Some opponents of traditional K-12 policy also argue that the less-regulated, market-driven system in higher education yields better results. Are they right?

I spend a lot of time on this blog addressing questionable interpretations of evidence related to various types of school reforms--choice, charters, test-based accountability, teacher evaluation, vouchers. In most cases, at least some of the arguments have an element of truth. But, really, Wall Street Journal? Surely, you can do better than what you wrote in your Saturday editorials.

In the debate about whether excessive regulation explains the negative effects of the Louisiana voucher program, I still see no evidence, suggestive or otherwise, that this is the case.

I was on a panel on Friday at the libertarian Cato Institute that reminded me of some old problems with school reform debates--and brought up some new ones.

Of all education policies debates, few draw stronger opinions than school vouchers. The issue has almost become a litmus test for Democrats and Republicans. Given the strong passions and interests, I have long argued that this was a topic where research was unlikely to really influence the debate. Maybe I was wrong.

My aim with this blog, and really with all the work I do, is to create a vigorous and research-informed debate about the many challenges we face in trying to create an educational system that serves all children well. I believe in the battle of ideas and that we make more progress when critics and supporters of various policies make the strongest cases possible.

This year brings the election of the 45th president of the United States. I'll occasionally touch on this and there is no better place to start than with Secretary Clinton who has been talking more about K-12 than just about any candidate not named Jeb Bush. That's not surprising for a candidate who has already been endorsed by both the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA). However, in the process, Clinton has dug up some political landmines on the topic of charter schools.

Joshua Cowen of Michigan State University and Jane Arnold Lincove of Tulane University are guest bloggers today and write about their recent ERA-New Orleans' report on school choice.

The debate on Louisiana vouchers and the Over-Regulation Theory continues...


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