Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bureaucratic Inertia in Schools

Via Kevin Drum, a report on charter schools:

At present there appears to be an authorizing crisis in the charter school sector. For a number of reasons — many of them understandable — authorizers find it difficult to close poorly performing schools. Despite low test scores, failing charter schools often have powerful and persuasive supporters in their communities who feel strongly that shutting down this school does not serve the best interests of currently enrolled students. Evidence of financial insolvency or corrupt governance structure, less easy to dispute or defend, is much more likely to lead to school closures than poor academic performance. And yet, as this report demonstrates, the apparent reluctance of authorizers to close underperforming charters ultimately reflects poorly on charter schools as a whole. More importantly, it hurts students.
Seems to me this shows the same human tendency to value the known and keep to the familiar as we see elsewhere, whether in USDA or GM. (The report is good--done by Stanford, though not pleasant for charter supporters.)

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