Q: Vouchers or Smaller Classes? A: Yes!

False dichotomies

As usual, Little Ramona just can’t stop herself from pulling the trigger before taking the gun out of the holster.

With tremendous glee, she points out that a Friedman Foundation survey finds that more people respond positively to “smaller classes” than to vouchers. But as Friedman had already posted on their blog, there’s nothing surprising about that – “smaller classes” is an outcome everyone wants. On its face, the question whether you want smaller classes doesn’t involve any hard questions about costs or tradeoffs, nor the deeper question of who controls the decisions that determine what tradeoffs we make – parents or politicians.

My colleagues at Friedman are gently attempting to bring Little Ramona up to speed on logic 101. Prospects are not good. Meanwhile, this just in – water still flows downhill, bears still befoul the woods, and the pope is still Catholic. (Well . . . he is on his good days).

An additional point: while Little Ramona leaps to the conclusion that affirming small classes somehow implies a repudiation of vouchers, in fact the only realistic way to shrink classes would be a well-designed universal school choice plan that supports entrepreneurs with new school models. Small classes cost tons of money that we don’t have right now; school choice is by far the best-proven way to improve the cost-efficiency of education; a universal choice plan aimed at supporting educational entrepreneurs should be expected not only to deliver better academic results but to do so by destroying the huge inefficiencies created by Little Ramona’s newfound friends in the unions, thus freeing up resources to give parents what they want . . . like smaller classes.

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4 Responses to Q: Vouchers or Smaller Classes? A: Yes!

  1. Matthew Ladner says:

    Youtube finally has a video of BR549 performing the original Little Ramona’s Gone Hillbilly Nuts:

  2. jean sanders says:

    If you are so marvelous, wonderful superior at your institution why is it you have to descend to a mocking tone? I know you are trying to be a “cool dude” (the opposite of what I think is a professional educator) but to keep hammering away at your humor doesn’t make it more palatable. There is not one iota of integrity (in the concepts) unless you define the change process in human terms… schools and hospitals may be more like “utilities”…. and the management models that are promulgated every day bey Shumpeter Peterson (Education Next) are abhorrent. It would be refreshing to see that some one at your institution understands the change process in public sectors; Paul Mort told us that changes take up to 50 years…. Brown University reported that technology could cut a year off the typical doctoral program (for an individual student but not for everyone)…. It would be wise for the current “wonk” in policy to study the years of research that went into studying the change process as it played out in education as the Diffusion process and there is substantial literature to that effect covering 50 years or more (start with Title I/Chapter I). My initial professors and the leaders I respected (U Michigan, U Wisconsin, etc) understood this…. the current “policy” type coming out from Harvard PEPG, Fordham institute, etc are creating blatant blunders because they don’t understand the human variables of teaching and learning…. are you boasting that your faculty and students understand anything significant that teachers have learned by experiences in classrooms? If so , could you deliver it in a respective tone instead of “boasting” “Hey, we’re number 1”????
    It doesn’t mean much to be number one on any list coming out from Fordham Institute so I don’t know why you boast about that. You take their laurels for being the best (at Education Next) but you admit they lack gravitas so it appears you are self-serving in reporting you accolades. jean e sanders; jeanhaverhill@aol.com

  3. allen says:

    Your respective gifts ensure the reverse will never occur.

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