School Choice Vital, But Only Part of, Effective Education Reform Package

I just wanted to leave you with a quick reading assignment before the weekend comes. Writing over at National Review, Dan Lips from the Heritage Foundation says conservatives can’t give up on fighting for school choice but also need to focus their agenda broadly on a range of effective changes to the education system:

First, principled support for aggressive reforms like vouchers has cleared a space for the types of reform policies that leaders like [Washington DC schools chancellor Michelle] Rhee are advocating. And, second, when it comes to systemic reform, conservatives have a broad agenda of policies that strengthen public education — and the results to prove it.

Education reformers from across the political spectrum should give thanks to those who have spent decades promoting school choice. These efforts have yielded only modest (but increasing) enactment of voucher programs. But they have created political breathing room for less aggressive reforms — such as public school choice and teacher merit pay.

Fordham’s Eric Osberg praises Dan’s article, adding:

Of course we’ve said for years that choice and accountability go hand-in-hand, but also that such reforms to the structure of schooling have to be accompanied by changes in how schools and districts actually operate—e.g., in their curricular, hiring, and staffing practices.

Where else do choice and accountability “go hand-in-hand”? With my friends here at the Education Policy Center. I think Dan and Eric both are onto the right education reform message.

Don’t forget: only 19 shopping days ’till Christmas to find something for your favorite young edublogger prodigy…