That’s not “market based reform”

In the Wall Street Journal, Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, writes that Markets Aren’t the Education Solution.

Market-based reformers advocate using student test scores to evaluate and compensate teachers, increasing the number of charter schools, firing teachers in low-performing schools, and relying on corporate executives and business practices to run school districts.

She concludes:

But there is increasing evidence it doesn’t work.

Using test scores to evaluate and compensate teachers is not market-based reform.  It’s test-score accountability.

As a market-based reform supporter, I agree that it makes little sense to use test scores to judge teacher performance. Test scores should be used to judge student performance.

Also, relying on corporate executives and business practices to run school districts are not necessarily market-based reforms.  But, they may not be bad ideas.

The distinguishing characteristic of a market-based reform is that it gives more power to choose to the end users of the education system — the parents of school age children.  Any reform that does not clearly do that should not be referred to as market-based reform.

2 thoughts on “That’s not “market based reform”

  1. I agree that this is a common error. It’s not a market in education, it’s trying to ameliorate the absence of a market in education in a socialist calculation way. No Child Left Behind was the same thing.

    • Hi Alex – I agree. No Child Left Behind is a good example that demonstrates that conservatives are also prone to bypassing markets when it pleases them politically.

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