Monday, September 5, 2011

Alternatives to Local Districit Inequities

This post picks up where my last left off.

The World Bank, through its SABER project, appears likely to be setting the standard in this decade for analyzing and promoting effective, just educational financing. An alternative it has explored, a version of which has been promoted by professors Linda Darling-Hammond and William G. Ouchi for many years, is per-student financing. Under this proposal, the money follows the student, so as students in jurisdictions which promote choice for families enrol in different schools, some schools remain fully financed, while others fall on hard times and either reform or die, their buildings to be filled by new schools with new personnel and new ideas to better serve the families in the local area.

Under this proposal, then, a municipality or county would be responsible for building schools and for negotiating and supervising contracts with professional educational management organizations who would operate schools in those buildings for the good of the public, whose children's attendance in sufficient numbers would in general determine the long-term viability of those schools.

This method of school validation is both more market-oriented and more democratic than the rule-driven, formulaic, innovation-killing, bureaucratic solutions currently being promoted by defenders of California's status quo, who would have schools' fates determined by school boards heavily influenced by the scores on the third-rate tests that charter school parents may in fact be trying to flee, but who would no longer be able to do so, so convinced are charter-school insiders of the validity of those tests, perhaps since the seeming successful performance on those tests by the schools from which these charter leaders come is much of the source of their own self-validation.

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