Against School Choice

by Patrick Appel

Diane Ravitch, formerly a major proponent of school choice, has changed her mind. Her new book is The Death and Life of the Great American School System. The argument:

I realized that I am too "conservative" to embrace an agenda whose end result is entirely speculative and uncertain.  The effort to upend American public education and replace it with something market-based began to feel too radical for me.

Tyler Cowen's review:

Overall it is a serious book worth reading and it has some good arguments to establish the view -- as I interpret it -- that both vouchers and school accountability are overrated ideas by their proponents.  (Short of turning the world upside down, some school districts will only get so good; conversely many public schools around the world are excellent.)  But are they bad ideas outright?  Ravitch doesn't do much to contest the quantitative evidence in their favor.  There are many studies on vouchers, some surveyed here.  Charter schools also seem like a good idea.