Saturday, December 13, 2014

CREDO Honcho says Free Market competition does not work in Education without strong oversight


This from Morning Education (via email):
Earlier this week, Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes documented the poor performance of Ohio's charter sector with a blistering report [ ] showing charter students in the state are falling far behind their peers on measures of math and reading. CREDO director Margaret Raymond followed up with a talk at the City Club of Cleveland, where she surprised many listeners by saying she'd come to believe that free-market competition doesn't work in education - at least, not without strong oversight and regulation. Many charter and voucher advocates contend that the free market is the best accountability system around, since parents can "vote with their feet" and withdraw their students if they're not satisfied with a school's performance.
But Raymond said in the real world, that just doesn't work.
"I've studied competitive markets for much of my career," she said. "... And [education] is the only industry/sector where the market mechanism just doesn't work. I think it's not helpful to expect parents to be the agents of quality assurance throughout the state."
Raymond said it's crucial for policy makers to actively assess both charter schools and charter authorizers and hold them accountable. The bottom line: "We need to have a greater degree of oversight of charter schools," she said. A podcast of her remarks (The free-market analysis starts around 50 minutes in.):
In a bid to improve charter school governance, the nonprofit Charter Board Partners recently launched an online toolkit, including webinars, to train charter school board members to exercise better governance. For more:


Anonymous said...

Unregulated education is like unregulated healthcare.

You can certainly get away with changing your provider over petty things.

However, by the time you think to "vote with your feet" over something that is actually important (for example loosing your feet because of poor control of diabetes) it is too late.

M Winkler

Anonymous said...

Wow what a surprise. Folks who thought free market was the answer seemed to forget that in those markets there are always "winners and losers" with usually the more educated and those possessing more resources having the greatest opportunities. Doesn't sound like the type of system I want taking care of my kids - just more status quo or worse - selective schools on the public dime.

Richard Innes said...

If parents are not a suitable agent, then what entity is?

Also, what is happening in Ohio isn't necessarily what happens in other states with better charter school laws and oversight. Even CREDO's reports show that. Maybe Dr. Raymond doesn't read all of her own reports.

Richard Day said...

Richard: Dr. Raymond shoots pretty straight it seems to me. And you are agreeing with her main point. Ohio's charter law is too lax and should serve as a cautionary tale to Kentucky.

There is nothing magical about charter schools. But they can be successful when the right conditions exist. Among those conditions are an active parent population, and operational transparency.


Richard Innes said...

Just saw this.

Dr. Raymond's group consistently buries their most important finding deep in their reports. That finding is that once students spend adequate time in charters to benefit, their performance notably outstrips traditional public school students' performance.

It takes 2 to 3 years for this to happen, however.

This explains why many reports show charters don't excel. In most reports all charter school kids, including a lot of first year charter students, are averaged into the charter score.

Raymond's team should be smart enough to understand how important their finding is. The fact that they continue to push a lot of their own statistics that also include lots of first year charter students and continue to bury their most important finding which says statistics with first year charter students don't tell the story raises strong questions about the quality of research.