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ERIC Number: EJ946984
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-1558-2159
An Education Freedom Index: Why, Key Determinants, Component Weights, and Trade-Offs
Merrifield, John
Journal of School Choice, v5 n3 p319-349 2011
Freedom of any kind has intrinsic value, and education freedom is controversial, in need of empirical assessment of possible and likely trade-offs between freedom from state control and social goals such as equity and cohesion. Without a reasonable empirical measure of education freedom we can only cite the controversies and choose sides. The growing interest in likely effects of new school system governance structures, especially those that promise increased competition in school systems, would benefit from an objective, quantitative assessment of education freedom, a key element of competitiveness. The key institutional factors that this article measures and combines into an education freedom index are entry barriers, price control, opportunity to specialize (product differentiation), uncertainty about the future scope of the market, and availability of information. Quantification facilitates discussion of the key factors' relative importance, the main components of each, and potential factor interdependence. The formulation of a numerical index raises issues such as the conflicting objectives of index simplicity versus index reality, including proper sensitivity to all of the factors that would theoretically affect the level of freedom and competition, and the nature of market forces and other factors that would dictate schooling practices in the absence of regulation or direct state production. Likewise, the desire to maximize the empirical basis of index components, and to minimize the role of subjective judgment, weighs heavily in the creation of the index demonstrated with data for 2 Canadian provinces. (Contains 3 tables and 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 - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada