ERIC Number: ED462734
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Institutionalist and Instrumentalist Perspectives on "Public" Education: Strategies and Implications of the School Choice Movement in Michigan. Occasional Paper.
This paper examines school choice reforms in one key state, within the broader context of public education and privatization. Choice advocates describe the public nature of charter schools in terms of access, funding, choice, and effects. Critics see charter schools as precursors to more market-based reforms such as vouchers. In reviewing the strategies and agendas of Michigan choice proponents, this analysis distinguishes between two competing views of "public" education. While institutionalists focus on organizational arrangements such as ownership, processes, and governance, instrumentalists point to the service that agencies provide in imparting academic skills as part of a mass education system. In this case, policymakers promoting the reforms embraced the instrumentalist approach in advancing charter schools as an initial step toward a voucher-style system. They attacked state provision, portraying charters as apolitical alternatives that blur popularly held public-private distinctions in reconfiguring the concept of public schooling to include any agency serving an academic mission. This analysis concludes by discussing the implications of this instrumentalist view, noting that schools are not privatized in form, but in essence. The purposes driving education are "commodified" as private goods for those pursuing education services, albeit in a nominally public system. (Contains 132 references.) (Author/RT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.
Identifiers - Location: Michigan