Sunday April 20th, 2014, 4:57 pm (EDT)

Dear Reader,

We place these articles at no charge on our website to serve all the people who cannot afford Monthly Review, or who cannot get access to it where they live. Many of our most devoted readers are outside of the United States. If you read our articles online and you can afford a subscription to our print edition, we would very much appreciate it if you would consider purchasing one. Please visit the MR store for subscription options. Thank you very much. —Eds.

Marketizing Schools

Doug Henwood hosts a radio show on KPFA (Berkeley, California) and is the editor of Left Business Observer. Liza Featherstone is a columnist for amNY and has recently written on education for the Brooklyn Rail, Al Jazeera, and Book Forum.

We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.

—Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University

Though the U.S. ruling class is divided on some issues—how quickly to attack Iran, how much to cut Social Security and Medicare, whether homosexuals should be tolerated or treated as the spawn of Satan—they are united on one thing: the need to “reform” the public school system. “Reform” means more tests, more market mechanisms, and fewer teachers’ unions.

The agenda has deep bipartisan roots. For example, one of the foundational documents of the movement was a book written by John Chubb and Terry Moe, Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools, published in 1990 by the Brookings Institution.1 Moe is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a right-wing think tanks housed at Stanford University, and Chubb is a fellow at Brookings, a centrist Democrat think tank. Just as Brookings published papers in the 1970s arguing for the deregulation of airlines and trucking that were indistinguishable from those published by the conservative American Enterprise Institute—an agenda that became policy and, among other things, largely destroyed unions in both industries—Brookings and Stanford agree on this one too.

The reform agenda became federal policy early in the George W. Bush years, with the No Child Left Behind law, passed within months of his taking office. The law mandated the restructuring of U.S. public education along the lines of what partisans like to call choice and accountability. That is, parents are supposed to be offered alternatives to traditional public schools—while students, teachers, and schools are supposed to be subject to constant testing to evaluate their academic performance. Under No Child Left Behind, federal school aid to states was made contingent on improvement in average test scores.

There are many reasons to criticize the law, starting with the testing fetish. Since so much money now hangs on success, states have rampantly cheated in creating their tests; in many places, students have shown mysterious “progress” that is not confirmed by the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress. And it is not clear how well a focus on test performance correlates with actual educational outcomes. International comparisons show that, despite being the most test-obsessed educational system in the world, U.S. students stack up rather poorly. The starkest contrast is with Finland, which routinely scores at the top of the global league tables, but whose students face only two or three tests during their entire school careers. And, curiously, in Finland, teaching is a revered and well-paid profession; in the United States, the chartering-and-testing crowd—let’s call them “reformers”—treats them as overpaid slackers badly in need of a heavy diet of carrots and sticks.

Instead of rejecting this debased Bush legacy, the Obama administration intensified it. In 2009, the administration set up Race to the Top, in which states compete for federal grants based on their adherence to the choice and accountability agenda. Dangling billions in front of fiscally desperate states has succeeded—devotion to testing and charters is more passionate than ever.

Charter schools are public institutions that operate with considerable autonomy from traditional administrative structures. Though some are run by civil servants, many are run by foundations or private management companies, and get considerable private financial support along with public funding. Most are small, and many specialize in certain disciplines, like the arts. Some are startups, and some are converted traditional public schools. A few are crunchy-progressive, but many more are almost military in their discipline. Many are nonunion—in New York City, just 17 percent of charter school students are taught by unionized teachers, about 83 points short of the average for traditional public schools. It is a diverse group, but what unites them all is their independence from boards of education.

Education “reform” has been driven by business and business-friendly interests. Usually this gang loves what they call “metrics.” In the case of their educational agenda, however, the metrics are not really on their side, so they mostly ignore them. Let’s drill down into some data that would annoy them, if they paid attention.

A 2003 study of California charter schools by the RAND Corporation, an institution not known for its hostility to elite projects, found that charter schools produce results little different from public schools. (One interesting difference: charter schools shun students with disabilities.)2 A 2005 RAND study of urban charter schools found similarly lackluster results.3

Aside from the direct effects on students of charter schools, their promoters also tout an alleged competitive effect on traditional public schools to do better. RAND found nothing of the sort.

Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) has done the most extensive study of charters so far. It looked at over 2,400 charter schools in sixteen states, which account for more than two-thirds of the students at charters nationwide, and compared them to traditional public school students, making every statistical attempt to correct for demographic differences between the two populations. It found charters doing somewhat worse on average than traditional public schools: 17 percent provided superior results, 37 percent worse, and the remainder about the same.4

To charter-school boosters, education should be restructured to resemble the free market of economic theory, in which sellers of school product compete for the custom of parents, who are assumed to be capable of making well-informed choices. Market discipline will promote innovation and flexibility that will put the sclerotic education bureaucrats to shame. There is little empirical support for this grand assumption. One study by researchers from Johns Hopkins and Vanderbilt Universities looked at kids who switched from traditional public schools to public charters in Indianapolis and found that while most parents professed a desire for an improved academic environment, less than a third of the “receiving” charter schools had better test scores than the “sending” public schools—the balance were either worse or too new to have a record.5 Of course, test scores are hardly the last word in quality, but you have to wonder just what the parents are basing their decisions on. The likely answer is that the decisions are based on what they hear from friends and neighbors, but who knows how good that information is?

Anyone who has worked in a bureaucracy will at least give a wistful hearing to charter proponents’ claim that schools acting outside all those burdensome public-management structures will thrive. Sadly, empirical work also counters proponents’ claims about autonomy and flexibility. The charter movement itself is largely top-down. In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg blew up the old elected Board of Education and turned its functions over to a mayoral Department of Education, a model other cities have followed as well. Nationally, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have accelerated the growth of charters. And bringing private management into the public schools also accelerates centralization and standardization: charters run by for-profit Education Management Organizations turn personnel and curriculum decisions formerly made at the school level over to top management. This recapitulates the history of capitalism—transforming autonomous artisanal work into rationalized, hierarchical wage labor.

Teacher turnover rates are higher at charters than traditional public schools. A study by David Stuit and Thomas Smith of Vanderbilt shows that teachers at charter schools were almost twice as likely to quit their jobs as teachers at traditional public schools—and twice as likely to leave teaching entirely.6 They find that this is not a reflection of clever managers, freed from onerous restrictions, weeding out the underperformers. Instead, they find that “most of the turnover in charter schools is voluntary and dysfunctional.” Teachers in charters are burdened by overwork (sixty-hour workweeks are not uncommon), insufficient instructional resources, and low salaries. Since it is clear that teachers improve with experience, it is hard to see how having a staff of recent grads with an eye on the exit is consistent with long-term excellence.

As was mentioned earlier, the crucial political support for charters comes from the business world, especially Wall Street types; business-originated agents like New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg; and business-friendly private foundations like Bill Gates’s. Though they like to talk about school accountability, these agents themselves are not accountable to anyone; their power comes from money.

At this point, there is really no bulletproof way of saying that charters are significantly better or worse than traditional public schools. Some are better, some are worse, and most are probably more or less the same. But given the attention paid to charters and the resources devoted to them, this should be a very disappointing conclusion, and should encourage a renewed focus on making the existing public school system work better. But that is not happening.

It is curious that the biggest promoters of the charter agenda—economists, businesspeople, and business-y philanthropies—are people who are supposedly driven by measurable returns on investment. But the return on investment is not there, nor is there any reason to believe that it ever will be. (You can bet that few of the high-profile advocates are sending their own kids to No Child Left Behind / Race to the Top schools.) So maybe the passion for chartering comes from somewhere other than improving educational outcomes.

The key might be found in one of the RAND studies quoted above: charters “have achieved comparable test score results with fewer public resources.” Put this together with the higher turnover rates at charters and it is enough to make you think the movement really is all about busting teachers’ unions and cutting salaries. That may be the most persuasive metric of all, for the elites. But it is not going to turn us into Finland.

We should not move on without pointing out how damaging the test obsession is to intellectual development. Testing turns reading instruction into mere technique. Kids do not learn to read books—they learn to decode texts. And the No Child Left Behind / Race to the Top agenda largely throws arts, history, music, science, and social studies overboard. This should frighten anyone who cares about the importance of ideas, beauty, and grace to a good society. Education “reform” threatens to make this a more brutish and thoughtless society than it already is.

It is remarkable how similar the U.S. educational system is to our health care system: by world standards, we spend gobs of money on both, in return for underwhelming outcomes. On education, we spend a third more than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average, the second-highest of any country, to produce merely mediocre scores on internationally comparable tests.7

Let us examine the dimensions of spending, and the enrollment and attainment numbers. In 2007, the United States spent 7.6 percent of GDP on education, 1.9 percentage points above the OECD average, and exceeded only by Iceland. But before this is turned into a right-wing, “See, you just can’t throw money at this problem” homily, several factors lurking below this fat headline number must be discussed.

First, 41 percent of that spending is on tertiary education (college and beyond), 15 percentage points above the average. Spending on primary and secondary education is 4.0 percent of GDP, matched or exceeded by six countries, and just 0.5 of a percentage point above the average. So we stint on mass education in favor of elite.

And despite all that spending, a surprisingly small share of our population is in school—at all levels. The OECD presents data on the number of years for which 90 percent or more of the population is enrolled. The average is thirteen years; in most Western European countries, it is fourteen or more. But in the United States, it is just eleven years, tied with Mexico, behind Slovenia and just two years ahead of Brazil. Enrollment rates for those aged five to nineteen are slightly below the OECD average—and somewhat further below the EU average. Enrollment rates drop the further up the age ladder you go: less than a quarter—23 percent—of Americans in their twenties are enrolled in some sort of school, 2 percentage points below the OECD average. (That despite spending a bundle on tertiary education.) And the United States is not lagging because college is delayed until later in life; we are also below average for people over thirty.

Underperformance is even more extreme at the other end of the age spectrum: just 47 percent of three-to-four-year-olds are in preschool, 24 percentage points below the OECD average, and 3 percentage points behind Brazil. In most Western European countries and Japan, preschool is nearly universal. Many studies have shown that kids who go to preschool do better in school, make more money, get along with other people better, and are less likely to end up in jail than those who do not.

Breaking down expenditures by category is no more flattering to the United States than the enrollment numbers. Almost 12 percent of U.S. spending on primary and secondary schools is devoted to capital expenditures, 4 percentage points above the average and one of the highest shares in the world (or at least the subset for which the OECD reports data).

Current—as opposed to capital—spending in the United States shows an unusually large share devoted to administrative and support staff, and a small share devoted to teachers’ salaries. But what do our education reformers want to do? Spend more on computers and other gadgetry, and break teachers’ unions and cut their salaries.

Teachers are not all that highly paid in this country. Secondary teachers with fifteen years experience earn 35 percent less than the average college graduate, 22 percentage points below the OECD average, and 38 percentage points behind Finland. The figures are worse for primary teachers—40 percent below the average college grad. This is not the way to attract talented people into the field.

A skeptic might counter, yes, but U.S. overall incomes are higher than many foreign countries, so teachers are doing pretty well in absolute terms despite their poor standing relative to other occupations. But that skeptic would be wrong. A U.S. primary school teacher is paid about $40 per hour of teaching time, $10 below the OECD average, and more than $16 below Finnish rates. Upper secondary teachers earn $45 per classroom hour in the United States $26 below the OECD average, and almost $37 below Finland.

Sometimes you hear earnest liberals say we need to increase the “prestige” of teaching. It is a very high prestige occupation in Finland and quite competitive, so maybe if we raise its prestige here, we will get better outcomes. But it is not clear how we could do that merely by chanting mantras. If we are serious about improving our schools, then we should be raising pay, not scheming to cut it.

The United States was a world pioneer in mass education—basic education in the nineteenth century, higher ed in the twentieth. Sadly, we are now a leader in undoing that legacy, making war on our public schools, and making higher education more expensive and less accessible to all except the rich and precocious. Our elite universities are some of the finest in the world, and are likely to stay that way for some time, but less exalted public institutions are under constant budgetary assault. It is what you would expect of a society that rewards its top 1 percent so well.

As noted above, less than a quarter of Americans in their twenties—23 percent—are enrolled in some sort of school, putting us seventeenth in the OECD’s universe. Finland, the leader, is 20 points ahead; most other Western European countries are 5–10 points ahead.

But we do reward people with degrees: the United States has one of the largest earnings premiums for people with at least a bachelor’s degree in the OECD’s world. Someone with a bachelor’s earns 77 percent more than someone with only a high school diploma (or their international equivalents), 24 points above the OECD average. The college premium looks to be broadly associated with the general level of inequality, with the Brazil and the United States at the top and Sweden at the bottom.

People across the spectrum say that education is the key to reducing poverty and inequality, but the United States looks rather poor at providing it. And all anyone in power wants to do is make already low-paid teachers miserable and give more tests.

Though pundits and politicians bewail the state of U.S. education, they show a lack of interest in how things are done elsewhere. Here is an attempt to fill that gap. Since 2000, the OECD, the Paris-based official think tank mainly sponsored by the world’s rich countries, has been administering a battery of internationally comparable tests every three years. Known as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), it measures achievement in reading, math, and science among fifteen-year-olds in thirty-four OECD member countries (mostly rich ones) and thirty-one “partners” (mostly middle-income “developing” countries). In the case of China, only selected cities, notably Shanghai, were tested. Shanghai is not representative of the rest of China, but its results are formidable. Tests are, of course, deeply flawed instruments. But as tests go, PISA looks to be pretty good. What do they tell us?8

To start with, they tell us—much like the international health care stats—that the United States does not get good results for the gobs of money it spends. Measured as a share of GDP, the United States is one of the world’s biggest spenders on education, but comes in only at the middle of the PISA league tables. Finland, which regularly scores near the top, is at the middle of the spending ranks. When the right says that improving education is not a matter of money, they have got half a point, even if the rest of their agenda is cracked.

Obviously, the richer a country is, the better educated its population is likely to be. But the relationship is noisy. The trendline “explains” only 2 percent of the relationship between income and reading scores. Departures from that line are interesting. Chile, Mexico, and Austria do considerably worse than their income levels would warrant. South Korea, Finland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all do considerably better. The United States is right where it “should” be—but given the similarities among the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, all settler offshoots of Britain, the United States looks like a slacker.

A better predictor of reading scores is the educational attainment of the tested kids’ parental generation, which explains 43 percent of the variation in reading scores. Again, the departures from the trendline are interesting. Some of the same countries outperform and underperform, though Canada drops off the list of outliers and Israel (which has really stinted on education lately) joins. The United States sags.

Another good predictor is the share of the population of low economic, social, and cultural status, an OECD composite indicator that includes things like the educational attainment of parents, household income, and the number of books in the home. About 10 percent of U.S. students are of low status, below the OECD average—but that average is pulled up by high shares in poorer countries like Mexico and Turkey. The Western European social democracies, not surprisingly, mostly have lower shares than the United States. Still, the mapping of reading scores onto social status is imperfect, and the departures from the pattern are interesting. The mediocre reading scores in the United States are pretty much in line with the prediction of a statistical model—but a familiar set of countries outperform (Finland and Korea) and underperform (Israel, Chile, Mexico) the predictions. Shanghai and Kyrgyzstan have virtually identical sociocultural scores—but Shanghai has the best reading scores and Kyrgyzstan the worst. Background matters, but so do schools.

Poverty explains a lot of the variation in U.S. educational outcomes. But the experience of other countries shows that it does not have to be this way, that the way to neutralize the effects of poverty is to devote more resources to poor children. That is not the way it works here, though. Given the intensely local nature of school funding, resource allocation intensifies the effects of our skewed income distribution rather than mitigating it. As a result, among the rich countries, the United States has the most unequal distribution of income and one of the strongest relationships between sociocultural background and outcome. Some poorer countries, mostly in Latin America, do worse, but it is hard to imagine anyone bragging that we do better than Peru.

A number of progressive analysts of U.S. education, with the estimable convert Diane Ravitch prominent among them, emphasize the importance of poverty to our poor educational outcomes. There is a lot of truth to this, but we also do very badly at compensating for poverty (and there is no good excuse for the mediocrity of the middle). In better-performing countries, schools with poorer students get more resources, not fewer. But that is not the drift of current policy (or mainstream “reform”).

Work on the relationship between PISA scores and economic growth suggest that if the United States could get up to Finnish levels, our GDP growth per capita would be about 0.8 points a year higher; if we could get to Shanghai’s levels, it would be 1.4 points higher. The underlying reasoning is that better-educated workers are more productive and more likely to come up with technological innovations. No doubt this statistical relation is imprecise and probably overstated, but the general point probably has some merit. Even an increase of 0.4 point in our long-term growth prospects would be significant. Over the last 30 years, U.S. GDP per capita growth has averaged 1.7 percent. Extrapolating that 1.7 percent rate over the next 30 years, 2010’s GDP per capita of about $47,000 would rise to $78,000 (in today’s dollars). Boosting that growth rate to 2.1 percent would add $10,000 to 2040’s income level. It would also mean that all the hysteria about Social Security and Medicare busting the budget would have to be sent packing.

Of course, talking about growth inevitably brings up questions of distribution and sustainability. Boosting growth rates would be of little help if the top 1 percent gets all of the increment, or if it contributes to Iowa becoming beachfront property. But if we want to prevent this, it would be helpful to have a population educated enough to understand the risks and to do something about them.

In a separate volume in the PISA series called Lessons for the U.S., the OECD begins with a number of broad points. It looks at several national systems as models: Japan and Finland for consistently outstanding performance; Ontario not only for its high performance but proximity and similarity to the United States; Germany, for having gotten scared by its low rankings in early PISA exercises and resolving (successfully) to do a lot better; and Brazil, for great improvement against great socioeconomic odds. In the most successful systems, teachers are treated as high-level professionals; curricula emphasize creativity and complex skills; work organization is flat and collegial rather than hierarchical and authoritarian; accountability is to peers and stakeholders, not the authorities; and all students, not merely the best ones, are expected to learn at high levels. The U.S. scores poorly on many of these criteria, and many of our “reforms” take us in a worse direction.

Like the United States, Canada has a decentralized school system with a heterogeneous population and lots of immigrants. As with Germany, low rankings on the early PISA tests prompted the government to push for serious school reform.

The OECD points to some preexisting strengths in Canadian society that made positive reforms easier. Canadian kids are more likely to read for pleasure than any other country in the world. The country has a decent welfare state that offers good care even for the poor, and an income support system that, while well short of Scandinavian levels of generosity, does mitigate “the vicissitudes of capitalism” (the OECD’s phrase). Further, the OECD remarks that:

the idea of a welfare state and a common good is much more firmly entrenched in Canada than in its more individualistic neighbour to the south (the US). The idea that health care and other social services are a right and not a privilege carries over into education, where there is a broadly-shared norm that society is collectively responsible for the educational welfare of all of its children. The combination of this norm with the protection afforded by the welfare state creates a climate in which school success is expected for all students.9

Remember, this is the OECD, a thoroughly bourgeois institution, speaking.

But those were longstanding features of the Canadian system; what is interesting are the kinds of reforms that took place in Ontario, under a Liberal government that took office in 2003. The Liberals, led by premier Dalton McGinty, succeeded a deeply reactionary regime, led by Mike Harris, whose education policies featured cost-cutting, school choice, “demonising teachers” (the OECD’s phrase), promotion of private schools, and extensive testing. (Sound familiar?)

McGinty led a dramatic shift away from Harris-style policies. At the center of the reforms was teacher development—improving their skills, and working with them. The provincial government, says the OECD, “drew a sharp contrast between its capacity-building approachand the more punitive versions of accountability used in the United States.” Their approach was collegial and cooperative, not competitive. No one spoke of tying pay to performance. (Sad to say, the Liberals have since junked this agenda and embraced U.S.-style “reform” instead.)

Going into these reforms, Canada had another advantage besides its health care system—teachers had long been recruited from among the top third of secondary school grads. According to a McKinsey study, a characteristic of all high-scoring systems is the degree to which prospective teachers are drawn “from the top end of the talent pool.” (In Finland, it is more like the top fifth.) But, as one Canadian teacher told the OECD researchers: “Everyone knew that there was a loophole—you could always cross the border to the United States. Anyone can get credentialed there.”

This is something that almost no one in the United States wants to talk about. Progressives are understandably reluctant to criticize teachers, given the many good ones we have and the slanderous attacks they have been under, but teaching is just not a well-paid or prestigious profession. Because of that—and because of the profound anti-intellectualism of the culture, something else a lot of progressive education pundits do not like to talk about either—education schools do not consistently draw the most vigorous candidates. According to the College Board, average SAT scores for seniors planning to go into education fall into the bottom third. The way to address that problem is not a mystery.

In successful systems like Ontario (before the Liberals’ reactionary turn) and Finland, teachers have a great deal of professional autonomy. There may be a national curriculum, but teachers are expected to know their subject well and develop their skills at imparting knowledge. Finland requires master’s degrees even for primary teachers; in most successful systems, master’s are typical or even required in the subject area for secondary teachers. In some Asian systems, new teachers serve as apprentices to master teachers before they are allowed to run their own shows. There are no generalists just thrown to the wolves as in the United States.

And in most successful systems, standardized tests are rare, and are generally administered only at major breakpoints, like entrance into or graduation from high school. Administrators of top systems are very conscious of what other high-achieving countries do, and try to emulate what they can. The contrast with the United States is stark. In fact, there is no other country that does anything like what we are doing—the testing, the punitive evaluations, the vendetta against “bad” teachers.

Back in the 1990s, Finland quite consciously chose to improve its educational system to move away from a resource-based economy towards a high-tech one. It has largely succeeded. China has made a similar decision, to support a move away from low-tech to higher-tech production. Despite lip service paid to those sorts of goals in the United States, most education reform here has focused on cost-cutting and tighter discipline. So if you strip away the rhetoric, it looks like the U.S. elite’s long-term plan is for a low-wage, poverty-ridden economy where the bottom 50–75 percent is supposed to shut up and stay in line. This makes sense if you look at what sectors of our economy are projected to grow the most—those involving poorly paid jobs like changing bedpans—and the fact that none of this education “reform” has been accompanied by any serious plan to create better jobs. The upper crust will continue to send its kids to crunchy, progressive schools like St. Ann’s and Sidwell Friends. (As right-wing school reformer Terry Moe told one of us in a 2011 interview, “Everything is better when you’re an elite.”) But for everyone else, it is going to be rules, poorly paid teachers, and lots of tests. And from there, it is on to McDonald’s if you are lucky, or jail, if you are not. Of course, no one says that openly (certainly not as openly as Woodrow Wilson did a century ago in the quote that opens this article)—but by their deeds ye shall know them.

Public schools are one of our few, and most widely shared, public goods. (No wonder they are under attack; their very existence seems to elites of all political stripes to be a vestige of socialism.) In a society that leaves us utterly on our own to forage for most of life’s basic necessities, the continued existence of public education—and the fact that much of it is pretty decent—can seem like a kind of miracle. Fortunately, it is not a miracle most people are ready to do without.

That is why resistance to the agenda of the “reformers” is growing. Many teachers have been discouraged by how readily their unions have conceded to this assault of testing, privatization, and austerity. But some are responding with a real fight. In Chicago, a slate of union dissidents committed to complete rejection of Democratic mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “reforms” has successfully taken over the teachers’ union. Teachers there have gone on strike and are building real coalitions with parents and others in the community to demand the—no quotation mark—reforms schools actually need: more equitable funding, more services, smaller class sizes. And of course, working conditions that will attract great teachers and entice them to stay. Teachers elsewhere—New York City for example—have been emboldened, and are mounting similar challenges to entrenched leadership. In Seattle, teachers and students have been boycotting the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. Parents all of the nation have been fighting too: against undemocratic school boards, high-stakes testing, school closings, and the steady enclosure of private interests upon public school buildings. These efforts got a vital injection of radical spirit from Occupy, but ably have gone on without it.

It is tough to sum up the message of this education justice movement in one slogan. But we were impressed, listening to Chicago Teachers’ Union president Karen Lewis earlier this spring at the United Federation of Teachers headquarters in Manhattan, by her ability to do so. “They say every child deserves a choice,” she fumed, characterizing her elite opponents. “We say every child deserves a guarantee.” “Choice” is the language of the market, which assumes scarcity as a given; “guarantee” is the language of social justice, a much better thing.


  1. John E. Chubb and Terry M. Moe, Politics, Markets and America’s Schools (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1990).
  2. Ron Zimmer, et al., Charter School Operations and Performance (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2003),
  3. Ron Zimmer and Richard Buddin, Charter School Performance in Urban Districts: Are They Closing the Achievement Gap? (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2005),
  4. Center for Research on Education Outcomes, Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States (Palo Alto, CA: CREDO, 2009),
  5. Marc L. Stein, Ellen Goldring, and Xiu Cravens, “Choosing Indianapolis Charter Schools: Espoused versus Revealed Academic Preferences,” prepared for “School Choice and School Improvement: Research in State, District and Community Contexts, Vanderbilt University, October 25–27, 2009,”
  6. David A. Stuit and Thomas M. Smith, “Teacher Turnover in Charter Schools,
  7. For data on education for OECD countries, see
  8. For PISA results, see
  9. OECD, Lessons from PISA for the United States: Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education (OECD Publishing, 2011), 69,