Tuesday, August 30, 2005

National Governors Association Education Choice Report

The National Governors Association has released this report on School Choice options. While the report itself is not long, it does discuss, in general terms, some of the options, ideas and requirements to make a true school choice regime work.

While I admit that I am relatively new to researching the realm of school choice, this is probably the first study by a non-partisan group to present a pretty balanced look at choice options for parents.

The report looks at different strategies for assisting the development of school choice options as well as current challenges. The only challenges that the report identifies are financing challenges. To be sure, addressing issues of funding education is a huge step in the right direction, particularly in light of a recent Fordham Institute report detailing the inequities of funding for charter schools.

Although briefly mentioned, one of the real obstacles to true choice is the current management of schools. Alhtough some states have muliple tracks to the authorization of charter schools, the fact remains that most local and state school boards, captives of local teachers unions, are at best ambivalent about charters and at worst outright hostile to charters. Until such management reforms come to pass to remove this managment issue, charters will continue to face hostility among educrats.

The NGA policy studies carry a great deal of weight in state policy making circles. This report should be read by all who are interested in school choice. In addition to the ideas presented, the report contains many footnotes with great source material to a vast array of articles and studies on school choice options.

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