ERIC Number: EJ1024171
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Reference Count: 7
Can We Reasonably Assess "Productivity of Market-Based Educational Reforms"?: Comment on Anna Egalite's "Measuring Competitive Effects from School Voucher Programs: A Systematic Review"
Journal of School Choice, v7 n4 p465-467 2013
"Measuring Competitive Effects from School Voucher Programs: A Systematic Review" by Ann G. Egalite (p443-464, this issue) concludes that, "overwhelming [U.S.] evidence supports the development of market-based schooling policies as a means to increase student achievement in traditional public schools." Here, John Merrifield writes that, while he would agree there is strong evidence that market-based schooling policies could yield significant school system improvements, the evidence he is referring to is not the studies of U.S. school choice programs assessed by Anna Egalite's article. Merrifield states that this is because U.S. school choice programs did not generate any evidence of full-fledged markets in action (Merrifield, 2008). He says that something as common as genuine market forces needs to be more thoroughly assessed. He warns against making the assumption that there exists a solid body of evidence on the productivity of market-based educational reforms, where none exists, and fears that assumption could lead to numerous, and difficult-to-reverse policy errors. Merrifield posits that school choice program effects examined by Anna Egalite qualify as "quasi-market" (Barber, 2012, p. 215) outcomes; government-controlled entry, government-set prices, often a ban on profit, and programs that do not create a level playing field (or close) between public and private schooling options. With entrepreneurs entering or exiting regions on the basis of tuition-price signals indicating profit-loss potential, Merrifield comments that since we can only measure quasi-market effects from contemporary U.S. evidence, we need to turn to historic and foreign (Coulson, 2009) evidence to gain some insight on the differences between market and quasi-market outcomes. The article then asks the question: "Are quasi-market settings good market experiments, or are they dangerously misleading?"
Descriptors: Educational Vouchers, Public Schools, Commercialization, School Choice, Competition, Academic Achievement, Private Schools, Enrollment Trends, Outcomes of Education, Educational Change, Productivity
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin