NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Panel Calls For Fundamental Education Changes

November 16, 1999

The well-regarded National Commission on Governing America's Schools has issued a report which minces no words in its quest for reforming the nation's public schools. The Commission grew out of the equally respected Education Commission of the States, which is run by all 50 governors.

The report proposes two approaches to revitalizing schools.

The first -- and less radical of the two -- would:

  • Require schools to compete for students by distributing funds to them in direct proportion to how many parents send their children there.
  • Individual schools would make basic decisions on hiring, firing and salaries.

The second approach would:

  • Build on the 1,700 functioning charter schools and dramatically expand their number with the goal of eventually including all schools.
  • Public authorities would fund and oversee the performance of schools "but not directly operate them."
  • Instead, districts would contract with independent entities -- both nonprofit and for-profit organizations to run them.

The commissioners agreed that it is time to take notice of the "proliferation of school choice" that is sweeping the country -- including home schools, magnet schools, experimental tax credits and voucher programs.

Source: Editorial, "Turning Schools Right Side Up," Wall Street Journal, November 16, 1999.


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