School Choice: The Tautology of the Market
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Private think-tanks, education reform advocates, corporate foundations, and their political allies posit that the “crisis” in education would be remedied if schools were forced to operate like businesses and succeed or fail as market conditions permit. However, this chapter demonstrates that the logic and evidence for the effectiveness of market-based educational reform is highly questionable. Proponents of market-based education reform, and “free markets” in general, are instead serving up another tautology. The entire school choice concept as it is currently promoted rests upon a logical fallacy. Advocates of school choice often conflate legitimate consumer choices with false choices. Competition in a marketplace for education strengthens the link between wealth and education outcomes rather than weakens it. This leads to increased inequality. We need less of market-based economics and behaviorist business practices in education, not more. Education should be an equalizer by enabling all students, regardless of socio-economic background to reach their full potential. The “business model” many reformers advocate subverts the power of education to equalize.
KeywordsSchool Choice False Choice Charter Schools Traditional Public Schools Higher educationHigher Education
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