Waiting for the Tipping Point: Why School Choice Is Proving to Be so Hard

Paul T. Hill, Education Week, Sept 07, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

PEN Weekly summarizes: "It is now clear that schools of choice present some challenges not adequately factored into the original equation. For example: (1) They are hard to run; (2) They are demanding places to teach and aren't for everyone; (3) They can't compete successfully with district-run schools unless they get as much money as their competition for pupils they educate; (4) They need to prove themselves on the same tests and other outcome measures as other schools; (5) They need strong, not weak, government oversight; (6) They do not automatically inspire districts to improve; and (7) They segment the market. Hindsight makes these conclusions obvious." Hindsight? My memory isn't so weak that I don't remember a lot of people saying these things in advance. But 'school choice' was promoted the way it was on political grounds, not on the basis of reason. You can have school choice - just look at Edmonton - but you can do it just to save money, bust unions, or raise your next generation of ideologically pure warriors.
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