Nevada ESA Wonkathon

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

The first three salvos in Fordham’s Nevada ESA oversight wonkathon have been fired by Michael Goldstein, Seth Rau and Yours Truly.

Goldstein’s call for a “harbormaster” has me a bit concerned about going from this:

To this:

I’m a big fan of the New Orleans experiment, and would like to know more specifics about the role of “harbormaster” but personally would like to see what Nevada parents come up with rather than having things nudged hard in a particular direction. I’m also a fan of charter schools chock full of TFA Ivy League kids but in the end that is more of a formula of tiny hot-house sectors rather than a model that can reach scale.

In my view we should work to improve the bill (inclusion of ELL and SPED weights and long-term higher education savings especially critical) and give parents space to see what they come up with. Living out in the wild west myself gives me an appreciation for the benefits of messy freedom. In the Arizona charter sector we often hear laments regarding the fact that the very expensive KIPP organization avoids our patch of cactus. I’d like to have KIPP, but I’m consoled by the development of low-cost high quality models like BASIS, Great Hearts and Carpe Diem. High quality and (lower) cost is what the country will badly need in the near future. MG’s call for micro-schools sounds like a great start.

Although I disagree that the use of a state test is in any way desirable, I admire Seth’s creative attempt at analogy.

My entry, New Tools for New Challenges, is here. I’m hopeful that we can apply the accountability lessons of uber to the education sector, especially the technology-enabled hyper transparency.

More posts in the wonkathon are on the way so stay tuned.



2 Responses to Nevada ESA Wonkathon

  1. mike g says:

    Great post and Wonk entry too.

    I would just clarify:

    a. 100% agree that I don’t think TFA-fueled no excuses charters will be part of the Nevada ESA story.

    That’s my point. The normal harbormaster playbook/relationships from urban reform won’t work – particularly the instinct to focus on “whole schools” rather than embracing what you describe — an online course here, an in-person tutor there, etc.

    b. I agree on not nudging the parents too hard early, but there’s value to lure providers to the market — and then let the market decide.

    Do you see much downside in trying to goose the supply side, so long as parents are the choosers?

  2. matthewladner says:

    Thanks Mike- no I don’t necessarily. I’m hoping people try a lot of different things and exercise a determined act of patience as we sort through things. I’m hopeful that parental reviews can blast away brand eck better and faster say our all too often ineffectual efforts to close awful charter schools of the past and present for example.

    I fear notions of a predetermined outcome- perhaps overly so, but I am optimistic that an urbanspoon approach can deliver a delightfully brutal form of accountability.

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