Think Twice project reviews two school choice reports
AEI report has some value, while ConnCAN provides another advocacy document
EAST LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 5, 2015) – Two newly released reports advocated for school choice as a mechanism for improving educational outcomes. A review of both finds a recently released ConnCAN report is more opinion than fact, while a report from AEI provides useful information to help parents make informed decisions. However, the reviewers question whether simply having more information to make better decisions is sufficient to improve our educational system.
Erin McNamara Horvat, Temple University, and David Baugh, superintendent of the Bensalem (PA) Township School District, reviewed Better Data, Better Decisions: Informing School Choosers to Improve Education Markets from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and A Crisis We Can Solve: Connecticut's Failing Schools and Their Impact from ConnCAN. The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) produced the review with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
The ConnCAN report relies mainly on anecdotal evidence for its claims on behalf of school choice as the solution to the problems it identifies in Connecticut's systems. "It is merely a choice advocacy document and is therefore of little value to serious policy reform conversations or academic researchers," Horvat and Baugh write.
The reviewers, on the other hand, find that the AEI report has more to offer: "It is grounded in solid scholarship and data from existing choice research as well as research conducted by its author. It makes useful suggestions regarding how choice might be more effectively implemented."
They caution, however, that the AEI report "overreaches in its claims regarding the power of choice and of the market to reform schools and produce better educational outcomes."
The reviewers also remind us that charter schools perform about the same as traditional public schools and call for a larger, more encompassing conversation about poverty and inequity in our educational system.
Horvat and Baugh, in their conclusion, question whether "better decisions will lead to the kind of overall improvement our system requires in order to compete in the global economy and whether it allows us to fulfill the promise of democratic schooling for all."
Read the full review at:
Find Better Data, Better Decisions: Informing School Choosers to Improve Education Markets on the web:
Find A Crisis We Can Solve: Connecticut's Failing Schools and Their Impact on the web:
Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
The review can also be found on the NEPC website:
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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.
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