The Case Against School Choice: Politics, Markets, and Fools

Kevin B. Smith, Author, Kenneth J. Meier, With
Kevin B. Smith, Author, Kenneth J. Meier, With M.E. Sharpe $36.95 (182p) ISBN 978-1-56324-520-6
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Hardcover - 167 pages - 978-1-56324-519-0
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Political scientists Smith and Meier offer compelling arguments, supported by both anecdotal and empirical evidence, to convince readers that school choice does nothing to improve the quality of education. The authors begin with interviews with students, parents and faculty in Milwaukee schools, and near the end of their research present global comparisons, all pointing to their conclusion that ``school choice theorists have misidentified the problems with the education system.... Their proposed cures are likely to reduce equity without improving performance. Public choice in education simply does not work.'' In the meantime, they say, ``the real problems threatening education--poverty, disintegrating families, and lack of public support--are being ignored.'' Their recommendations are controversial and include a top-down, macro-level approach to education and a careful avoidance of special interests: ``No single demand drives education.'' Solidly researched and written, Smith's and Meier's effort should sway those still undecided on the issue, although staunch advocates of such choice will more likely be incensed by the book's claim that ``the reality of education seems to be much messier'' than they pretend. (June)
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