Structural Reforms are Enablers

Per this post, Rick Hess thinks that Diane Ravitch and Arne Duncan are both looking at structural reforms as ends instead of means.*  While I don’t have unique insights into either of those individual’s philosophies, Rick couldn’t  be more on target with this passage:

“The problem, as I see it, is not that choice or accountability “don’t work”–but that the naïve faith that they constitute “fixes” has led us to skip past the hard work necessary to take advantage of the opportunities they can provide … the notion that “competition” from charter schooling, public school choice, or even school vouchers would simply and automatically push districts to improve was always based on a profoundly flawed understanding of bureaucratic behavior, funding arrangements, and school system dynamics. Choice is not a silver bullet solution to anything, as thinkers from Milton Friedman to Friedrich von Hayek have sought to explain. Rather, well-constructed markets are merely an opportunity to channel talent, energy, and dynamism in socially productive ways. Until very recently, would-be reformers have paid scant attention to any of this beyond championing “choice,” so it should hardly surprise that it has delivered less than we might wish.”

I wish there was always such nuance in the discussion of choice in education.  Choice is merely an enabling structural reform.

To put this in the turnaround context, the Readiness Triangle is the work that has to be done at the school level.  The Partnership Zone is the enabling structural reform.

*Which you know I don’t care much for.

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