Earlier this month, eleven scholars, analysts, and advocates participated in our annual Wonkathon. The challenge we put to them was to find provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act that could be used to expand parental choice.
Our participants did not disappoint; I strongly recommend checking out their ideas on course access, school turnarounds, and charter quality. (All eleven posts are available here.)
But the argument that I found most compelling was one made by wonks Matthew Joseph, Brian Kisida and Travis Pillow: that the law could catalyze efforts to overhaul state and local school finance systems. That could unleash charters and choice more than anything else.
Indeed, school finance reform is the next front in the school choice war. As Matthew Joseph explained in his post, charter schools are shortchanged, on average, by more than 20 percent; for publicly funded scholarship programs, the deficit is 50 percent or more.
Twenty-odd years ago, some of us naively claimed that schools of choice would be able to deliver better learning at lower costs. That was a mistake. As long as schools are competing with one another for talent, not being able to pay competitive salaries is a major barrier to quality. (That goes for poorly...