Monday, April 20, 2015

Choice spurs public school improvement

"We're in a different era in education," Jeff Eakins, the incoming superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools recently told the Tampa Bay Times.
The earth underneath us has shifted. We're not the only game in town. Twenty-five years ago the Hillsborough County Public Schools were the only game in town. Right now parents every single day, they have the choice that they can make and we have to know that, and they can make it with one bad experience. We have to make sure that the parents who choose to send their kids to our schools, that that choice is trusted and that we reciprocate that trust.
This, of course, makes perfect sense. Competition forces everyone to bring their "A" game. As a Muskogee Public Schools official said in 2010, the enactment of the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program should serve as a challenge for public education "to continue meeting the needs of the students and provide good services."

What we know instinctively and anecdotally is also borne out by the empirical evidence. "Twenty-three empirical studies (including all methods) have examined school choice’s impact on academic outcomes in public schools," Dr. Greg Forster found. "Of these, 22 find that choice improves public schools and one finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found that choice harms public schools."

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