We asked some of the sharpest minds in the choice realm to help us understand the challenges ahead, as parental choice becomes more and more mainstream. We’ll be running their responses in a series of posts, beginning Monday.
Here’s the prompt:
In education, as in all other fields, accountability involves a combination of government regulation and consumer choice. Generally, as consumer choice increases, government regulation decreases, and vice versa. This is certainly true in education today. Charter schools, vouchers, homeschooling and tax credit scholarships are all less regulated than the neighborhood district schools students are required to attend by law.
The challenge we face today and moving forward is the wide variation in parental choice and government regulations in various sectors of public education that are operating side by side. This is sure to lead to tensions and complications. For example:
- Some parents do not understand why their traditional district schools – which they like – must comply with standardized testing and school rating regimens they consider excessive, while voucher-receiving private schools do not.
- Choice critics often successfully exploit these differences in “regulatory accountability” to undermine legislative and public support for parental choice by arguing that these programs are not accountable.
- Choice supporters are divided over how best to balance parental choice and governmental oversight, as the debates over government-mandated testing and sanctions for low-performing voucher schools show.
- The question of regulatory accountability would seem to become more complex as educational choice moves down to the course level, with an explosion in options and providers.
So, here’s the question. What should education accountability look like in the year 2025? Continue Reading →