Guest blogger Neerav Kingsland is the chief strategy officer for New Schools for New Orleans. In this post, originally published on the Title I-Derland blog, he explains the lessons education reformers can learn from Europe's transition away from communism.
Andre Shleifer, a professor of Economics at Harvard, recently wrote an excellent article: “Seven Things I Learned About Transition from Communism.” In case you don’t know Andre, some consider him to be the most cited economist in the world.
The analysis is interesting throughout—it deviates from both
“progressive” and “conservative” talking points on key issues. Take five
minutes and read the whole thing.
For those of us Relinquishers
who see opportunity in moving public schooling from government-operated
to government-regulated and non-profit run, lessons abound. For those
skeptical of these types of reforms—lessons also abound. See below for
the summary of Andrei’s lessons—laced with my takeaways for improving
our educational system:
Lesson 1: “First, in all countries in Eastern Europe
and the former Soviet Union, economic activity shrunk at the beginning
of transition, in some very sharply.”
Education Takeaway: Underperforming government
institutions with decades of accumulated knowledge may outperform
cohorts of start-up enterprises in their early years. Could this explain
the poor results of the CREDO study?
Lesson 2: “Second, the decline was not permanent. Following these declines, recovery and...