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April 22, 2004
One more posting to learn from

This looks like a useful site. And the book whose cover I here reproduce (the left of the two below) looks like a useful book. Useful, that is to say, if you wish to acquaint yourself at greater length with the opinions and prejudices of people like me.


Market Education is the culmination of five years of full-time research on a single question: What sort of school systems best fulfill the public's educational goals - at both the individual and the societal level? It is perhaps the most comprehensive investigation of school governance ever undertaken, comparing educational systems from all over the world and from ancient times to the present. To find out more about this book, click here.


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And the review of this little publication (the one on the right) is also interesting:

Despite its brevity (running to just 50 pages), Decentralization of Education is an important book. It describes the World Bank's foray into "demand-side financing," the practice of providing families with financial assistance so that they can purchase educational services in the private sector (rather than having governments own and operate schools). The various case studies discussed reach from the Dominican Republic to Pakistan, revealing just how widespread the practice has become, and how effectively it is reaching even the poorest families.

The book's chief weakness is that it does not seize the opportunity to apply the lessons of its case studies to its review of the academic literature on school choice. The first section of the book is a digest of the (mostly theoretical) arguments that have been made for and against school choice. Since a large portion of this literature is badly reasoned and devoid of supporting evidence, it is frustrating that the authors did not apply what the World Bank is learning about demand-side financing to a critical assessment of the arguments pro and con.

It is also somewhat unfortunate that the book takes for granted a major funding role for the state in education,

Double indeed.

And look, here's a a brand new blog (well it must have been once), by the editor of the School Choices site. It isn't only education stuff. But he does seem often to focus on the intersection between education and the main news agenda, as here:


The Coalition Provisional Authority has officially handed control over Iraq's schools to the country's own Ministry of Education [free registration required]. No word when, if ever, control will be returned to families.

Saddam, like virtually every totalitarian dictator in history, nationalized or shut down all private schools upon seizing power. The reason why is obvious: it's a lot easier to whip up support for your own regime and antipathy toward your enemies if you control the schools. Centralized government control over schooling is thus key.

What to do?

Iraq's internal religious divisions provide ample prospect for conflict if the nation sticks with an official government school system. Iraqis already realize that settling on a universally acceptable curriculum is a key sticking point.

The solution: implement a market-based education system with need-based financial assistance, and let families pursue the kind of education they value for their children without obliging them to force their choices on their fellow citizens.

Question. Does copying and pasting other people's stuff instead of thinking of it all for myself mean I'm cheating? Why no. This is just one more way to learn.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 03:16 PM
Category: BloggingHistoryThe private sector
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