Saturday, May 03, 2008

Report: competition from school choice doesn't improve DCPS

According a new report released by the School Choice Demonstration Project at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute school choice in the District hasn't prompted much improvement in the District's public school system.
“Although it has been suggested that school choice will spur competition and improvements in public education, choice alone does not necessarily equate to competition,” says Margaret Sullivan, a GPPI researcher and one of the report’s authors. “Typically, clear incentives and penalties must exist and be communicated at all levels of the system if we expect stakeholders to drastically change their behavior,” says Sullivan.
And water is wet, and the sky is blue. Frankly, the results of this report prompted a forehead slapping "well DUH!"

School choice has been a plus for student who exerciser their choice because it gets them out of a dysfunctional school system and into something better. As for putting pressure on DCPS to improve? Puh-lease. Why should DCPS improve when its never really punished for sucking. It never gets funding withheld. In fact, quite the opposite. In order to grease the incredibly squeaky wheels who oppose choice (the teachers union, pols [Eleanor Holmes Norton springs to mind], etc) any money that gets alloted to school choice programs must also be accompanied with a nice dollop of cash for DCPS. The federal voucher funding fight was a great example of that. When there's basically no fear of funding--and a little cage rattling may actually get you more $$$--why should DCPS change?

1 comment:

Marc Borbely said...

Unfortunately, the study itself doesn't mention this, but according to the press release, this study was funded by the Walton Foundation. The Foundation, founded by the heirs of Wal-Mart, is a major funder of private charter schools and pro-voucher think tanks. Not exactly an unbiased funding source!