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September 12, 2016

New Evidence on How Charter Authorizers Can Build Better Schools

Perhaps the most under-analyzed piece of the charter movement is the charter authorizer. Headlines about charters generally focus either on the schools themselves or on their charter management organizations, but this misses the fact that someone--the authorizer--is deciding which of these schools are even allowed to exist. It is the ultimate choice: which schools are allowed to open and which are forced to close? How and how well do government-approved authorizers make these decisions?

July 11, 2016

Is School Reform Really Driving Teachers Out of the Profession?

The idea that school reform, especially test-based accountability is driving teachers out of the profession has been widely reported in the media. When we actually look at the data, there is evidence of problems in the teacher pipeline to be sure, but not an overall teacher shortage.

June 09, 2016

Can Charter Schools Be 'Democratic'? Should They?

The coming partial return of charter schools from the state to the Orleans Parish School Board, which I described in a prior post, raises interesting questions about the role of local democratic control of schools. My argument here is that the governance of charter schools, and especially an almost-all-charter system like New Orleans, has to be less democratic than traditional school districts.

March 14, 2016

Should Voucher Schools Be Allowed to Use Admission Requirements?

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.

March 07, 2016

Problems With the Libertarian Free-Market View of School Reform

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.

January 25, 2016

Public, Charter, and Private Schools Through the Eyes of New Orleans' Parents

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.

November 30, 2015

The Reform Debate, Part III: Charter and Voucher Rules and Regulation

Three weeks ago, I started a series on arguments for and against regulations on charter and voucher schools. Then, right on cue, came Eva Moskowitz and the Success Academy controversy and Senator Clinton's subsequent claim that "most charter schools, they don't take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don't keep them."

November 02, 2015

The Reform Debate: Charters vs. Vouchers and the Role of Regulation

In the school reform family, the holiday conversations this year seem likely to focus on the level of regulation in the various reform models. This has important implications for charter schools and vouchers as reform strategies.

October 21, 2015

NOLA Argument #10: Does Playing With the Numbers Change the Outcome?

One of the most common critiques of the New Orleans success story is that the state government is manipulating data to make the reforms look better than they are. As with most criticisms, this one is half right.

October 15, 2015

NOLA Argument #11: The False Choice and the Role of Leadership, Part II

I have addressed the argument that today's discussions about portfolio reforms tend to present a false choice between traditional and reform/portfolio districts. Another reason it's partly a false choice is that the system isn't all that matters.

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