Monday Links

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Andy Smarick turns in an interesting article on the Structure of Scientific Revolutions and education reform in National Affairs. Great article, although I believe Smarick’s article would profit by acknowledging almost catastrophic flaws in school district democracy, including often extremely low voter turnout rates and resulting opportunities for regulatory capture.

Kate Walsh on K-12 progress that is going unnoticed. Before this college success of charter school meme gets entirely out of hand, I want to suggest that we should get the comparisons between control group and experimental group studies on long-term success nailed down before going to town on this. We do have reason to suspect those applying to charters are different from those that don’t.

Interesting article on Why Education is the Hardest Sector to Automate by Raya Bidshahri.

Yours truly on Arizona Horizon debating ESAs with SoS leader Beth Lewis.



6 Responses to Monday Links

  1. Greg Forster says:

    Waiting for the research to come in before deciding which reforms to go all-in on? That’s crazy talk.

  2. Mike G says:

    Good point.

    Our charter has similar college graduation rates, ~50+% per Clearinghouse data. But hopefully a good lottery study will be done (I think there’s one on the horizon). My guess is it’ll chop the portrayal, from perhaps 5x to 2.5x.

    A subgroup I’m interested in: kids who stayed for a couple years, got large test gains, then chose to transfer specifically to attend an “easy” high school. Typically they get the large state test score gain associated, but then coast in grades 11 and 12. My guess is they enroll in college at roughly the same rates, but then graduate at much lower rates.

  3. I got lost after Smarick’s second paragraph. How did “progressive reformers” get rid of all the locally elected school boards/committees in the country 100 years ago? They seem to be everywhere to this day, and people run for the office on every local ballot I know of. In MA, according to MASC’s legal counsel, they retain almost all the rights they’ve had for 100s of years.

    • Greg Forster says:

      You did get lost! Smarick’s point is that reformers in that era erred in consolidating too much power in the hands of districts (and thus the school boards you mention) at the expense of other power centers. So now school districts are a bottleneck that chokes reform.

      • Please tell me how that consolidation took place. Local school boards everywhere have had the same control over public school policy ab initio–some starting 400 years ago in colonies and some 200 years ago in territories that incorporated towns/cities with elected school boards. How did my local school committee get to be a bottleneck choking reform? I’m not fond of it, but I’ve never visualized it as a (very expensive) bottleneck. They are unsalaried, but they’ve just won two huge overrides.

      • Greg Forster says:

        Abolishing or driving out of business the other, non-district systems (mostly private) that had existed before the district system.

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