"If good ideas were all that mattered, everybody who has heard of Jeffrey Sachs would have heard of James Tooley as well--but they aren't, and you almost certainly haven't." So begins Clive Crook's perceptive tribute to Tooley and his groundbreaking research on über-inexpensive private schools in the developing world. (See previous Gadfly coverage here.) Crook explains how Tooley stumbled across well-run for-profit schools in the slums of Hyderabad and then went on a globe trotting quest to understand the phenomenon of cheap but effective private education (see here for more). But alas, Tooley's findings are threatening to the international development ethos of (expensive) government-run education for all. Hence, major aid agencies and governments have treated him like they treat these private schools: they look the other way. Thankfully the Templeton Foundation (the primary benefactor behind his research work) is not so dismissive and is backing a Tooley-led effort to invest $100 million in private schools for the very poor worldwide. Maybe someday public agencies will understand the potential of such private enterprise, too.
"The Ten Cent Solution," by Clive Crook, The Atlantic Monthly, March 2007 (subscription required)
"Academic helps private schools drive for the poor," by Jon Boone, Financial Times, Febraury 15, 2007