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ERIC Number: EJ835541
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 111
ISSN: ISSN-1558-2159
Imagined Evidence and False Imperatives
Merrifield, John
Journal of School Choice, v3 n1 p55-78 Jan 2009
Pressing questions about the merits of market accountability in K-12 education have spawned a large scholarly literature. Unfortunately, much of that literature is of limited relevance, and much of it is misleading. The studies most widely cited in the United States used intense scrutiny of a few small-scale, restriction-laden U.S. school choice programs, and a handful of larger, but still restriction-laden foreign school choice expansions, to assert general conclusions about the effects of "choice," "competition," and "markets." The most intensely studied programs lack most or all of the key elements of market systems, including profit, price change, market entry, and product differentiation--factors that are normally central to any discussion of market effects. The school choice literature is partly driven by a self-fulfilling prophesy. Large steps toward full-blown market accountability are widely seen as too radical to be worthy of study, especially in the absence of directly relevant data. The studies of small-scale school choice programs soft-pedal the large differences between the choices available now and those that could be available under conditions that are the norm in most of the economy and then compound the political feasibility problem by connecting market terminology to the modest effects of the small-scale programs. To address the need for credible evidence of effects of genuine education markets, scholars should look to simulation models, indirect evidence such as outcomes in similar industries, and school systems abroad that enjoy varying degrees of market accountability. (Contains 10 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A