ERIC Number: ED453600
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Apr-10
The Relationship of Competition and Choice to Innovation in Education Markets: A Review of Research on Four Cases.
Concerned about the deadening effects of standardization imposed by monopolistic education bureaucracies, policymakers in many different countries endorse economic-style mechanisms of consumer choice and competition between autonomous providers as the key elements of "market-driven" education. The reasoning behind this approach is that market forces of choice and competition induce pedagogical and curricular innovations leading to a diverse set of options from which parents may choose. This paper focuses on innovation in school-choice programs, appraising the relationship between market mechanisms and innovation. Research on market-oriented school reforms in four systems is reviewed to examine the record of competition and choice in fostering educational innovation. Findings indicate that hypothetical predictions about competition and choice are largely unfulfilled in practice. In fact, interventions by public bureaucracies have often succeeded in encouraging classroom innovations, whereas market mechanisms appear to contribute to standardization. The logic of markets is also examined as applied to education. Competitive environments may catalyze innovative practices, but competition and choice can also lead toward emulation and standardization. Thus, a more complex view of markets indicates that there is no simple, direct, or immediate causal relationship between the choice/competition dynamic and education innovation. (Contains 301 references.) (RT)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001).