To the Editor:
I’d like to welcome Paul T. Hill to Milwaukee, since it seems he has now learned the lessons those of us living with the nation’s largest school choice experiment have known for over a decade (“Waiting for the ‘Tipping Point,’” Commentary, Sept. 5, 2007.) School choice is not living up to its promise and won’t unless some fundamental policy changes are made.
Calling for greater government oversight, I should warn Mr. Hill, will cause true believers to label him a heretic, but he is absolutely right that a lack of oversight harms good schools and all students. His call for standardized testing reveals that he puts parents’ informational needs first, above schools’ public relations and marketing.
Public schools across the country have been struggling to solve the twin dilemmas of producing good leaders and expanding successful programs; schools of choice are not alone with these problems. In Milwaukee, choice schools tell us that the voucher program has resulted in greater collaboration between private and public schools. Perhaps solutions for working together, rather than “competing,” can be found.
Public Policy Forum
A version of this article appeared in the September 26, 2007 edition of Education Week as A Second Voice for Greater School Choice Oversight