(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
NV ESA wonkathon continues to belt out tunes and has spilled into other venues! Rick Hess weighed in with this off-site commentary:
The thinking provoked by the Nevada ESA has been especially promising. For instance, this week the Fordham Institute has had a number of folks contributing to a blog series on the program. I’d been prepared for a lot of bureaucratic talk about how we have to ensure there are “only” quality offerings (as if we a] know how to do that and b] we can all easily agree on what “quality” entails). Instead, most of the contributors asked what it will take to promote an influx of great providers, healthy transparency, useful information on quality, and a vibrant ecosystem. This focus on what it takes for choice systems to work has too often been buried under vacuous cheerleading or bureaucratic proposals for test-based quality control when it comes to vouchers and charters, and I find it a really promising sign.
Meanwhile back at wonkathon central, we have two new entries from Neerav Kingsland and Lindsey Burke.
Goldstein-Gone-Wild already nominated NK for harbormaster in the first post, which may have raised expectations for the actual NK post to Sports-Illustrated Cover Curse type of level. I’m broadly sympathetic to the notion that NVESA is leaving too much money on the table for the incumbent system, and too little for disadvantaged kids-especially for special needs kids. I don’t however see the current stock of private school seats and their prices as terribly relevant to where this is ultimately going to go, as those seats are few and far between anyway. NVESA is going to create a demand for schooling models that can get the job done at what passes as low spending per pupil these days. The challenge is to see how we can meet that demand.
NK also seems to view NVESA as a voucher program rather than a multi-use account model. GGW’s call for micro-schools, education cooperatives and who-knows-what-else-parents-may-come-up-with all stand within the realm of the possible.
Meanwhile Lindsey Burke calls the Wolf!
No not that Wolf!
Not that one either!
Now cut it out! This Wolf:
Burke quite rightly cites the fantastic survey of private school leaders in Louisiana that Wolf and company did for AEI. This very careful and important study can be summarized as:
I fear btw that Kingsland’s call to disallow topping-off for private schools would result in just such a backfire by serving as a defacto price cap. Better in my view to increase the funding for low-income and otherwise disadvantaged kids.
Also some interesting discussion yesterday on Twitter about NCLB supplemental services as a cautionary tale for ESA. More on that later and more wonkathon posts are on the way-stay tuned!
Thanks for this awesome roundup of awesome commentary on a truly awesome (awe-inspiring) program! Add my applause to Brother Orson’s up there.
Just for clarity, that survey from The Wolf isn’t what flopped in Wile E. Coyote style, but the lousy Louisiana program. The opposite of awe is contempt!