The Fordham Accountability Study

March 25, 2009

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(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

So I have been off in Miami for a couple of days and return to find Greg and Jay busting on the new Fordham report on school voucher accountability. My take is different.

Let me preface my remarks by saying I haven’t read the final report, but rather an almost final report.

So, if you recall the only Star Trek the Next Generation movie worth watching, there is a great scene where the crew try to convice Captain Picard that the Borg have captured the ship, and that they ought to abandon it and set the auto destruct.

Picard, consumed with hatred for the Borg, refuses to do so. “The Line Must be Drawn HERE! This far, no farther!” Picard bellows with rage.

We get that reaction from many people when the subject of accountability for private schools participating in choice programs comes up. I agree that there are lines that ought not to be crossed, most obviously, forcing private schools to take state exams. Otherwise, you slide down the path to homogenized private schools on the French Catholic model, which can essentially only be distinguished from public schools by a religion class or two. Lines must be drawn- this far and no farther.

The appropriate line, however, is not at zero transparency.

Going into the reasons why I belive this is the case is a longer post than I can write at this time. I believe it is our interests as school choice supporters to embrace a reasonable level of financial and academic transparency in choice programs.

Further, I believe that what the Fordham Foundation has published (at least the draft I saw) developed a very reasonable approach.

More later…