School Choice and the Question of Accountability

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The Milwaukee Experience

Emily Van Dunk and Anneliese M. Dickman

View Inside Format: Paper
Price: $26.00
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This timely book refocuses the debate about school choice programs with a nonpartisan assessment of the nation’s largest and longest-running private school voucher program—the high profile Milwaukee experiment—and finds that the system undercuts the promise of school choice.

The authors argue that the Milwaukee experiment has not resulted in the one element necessary for school choice to be effective: an accountability system in which good schools thrive and poor schools close. They show that most ingredients of a robust market are missing. Well-informed consumers (parents) are not the norm. State fiscal incentives are counterproductive, and competition among public and choice schools is difficult to discern. They conclude that school choice could succeed if certain conditions were met, and they offer guidelines to strengthen accountability and repair the voucher system.

Emily Van Dunk is research director and Anneliese M. Dickman is senior researcher at the Public Policy Forum in Milwaukee.

“There is not a more timely book available on education reform in America.”—John Witte, author of The Market Approach to Education

“An important book that provides detailed information on the biggest and most well-established voucher program in America. It will be of interest to anyone interested in school choice and how it is working in practice.”—Paul Teske, coauthor of Choosing Schools: Consumer Choice and the Quality of American Schools

"The authors have admirably packed a large volume of data and original research into the book. . . . They have presented an enlightening and though-provoking study. The book should be of interest to scholars, policy makers, practitioners, and activists on all sides of the school choice debate. . . . The book offers a meaningful contribution to the ongoing debate over the proper balance between school autonomy and accountability for the privilege of receiving public funds."—Sandra Vergari, American Journal of Education
ISBN: 9780300183047
Publication Date: December 11, 2003
240 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4