This is the first entry in Fordham’s education savings account Wonkathon. This year, Mike Petrilli challenged a number of prominent scholars, practitioners, and policy analysts to opine on ESAs:
“As Nevada implements its groundbreaking education savings account program, what must it get right in order to provide positive outcomes for kids and taxpayers? Should state authorities stay out of the way? Or are there certain areas that demand oversight and regulation?”
Let’s agree on the following: Typical charter schools aren’t lighting the world on fire.
Some outliers exist. There's a low tail, of course, and a battle over whether regulators can shut 'em down fast enough.
There's a high tail, too—KIPP, Uncommon, AF, YES, Success, High Tech High, Collegiate, etc. Reformy non-profits and ed-tech ventures sometimes supply these exemplars with services, and are sometimes spun out of them.
A lot of the leaders from these top-performing schools show up the day before each New Schools Venture Fund Annual Summit for a smaller get-together. Education reform opponents might liken these meetings to a scene from The Godfather in which crime families gather to discuss how to more effectively...