Harry [Brighouse from Crooked Timber] passes along an idea from Julian Betts about a market-like system in which schools have a fixed pot of money to bid for students:This is weird becuase I was suggesting the same idea to my girlfriend who works at the Oakland Unified School District teaching the difficult kids (they're not stupid, they're just jerks). At the time I noted a couple problems with the idea which Harry assures us Betts deals with. A couple issues off the top of my head: How do we decide who is a "highly advantaged student"? Is this decided by the school? How would we stop rural schools with little competition from gaming the system?
Betts suggests this: first fund the schools equally on a per-student basis. Then distribute trade-able rights to admit highly advantaged students; and allow schools to auction those rights. Schools would then be forced to figure out how much they valued the money they were spending relative to the highly advantaged children they wanted. We don’t know what the outcome would be. At one end of the spectrum you’d have schools with high concentrations of advantage and not much money; at the other end of the spectrum high concentrations of disadvantage and loads of money. It would probably take a few years for administrators to work out what the real costs of disadvantaged children were; but they would have a powerful incentive to work it out.
Schools would have the right to accept the students they wanted, but good schools would end up with very strong financial incentives to accept poor students and bad schools would end up with plenty of money to use to attract better students (as well as to buy more books and hire better teachers).
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
School choice that doesn't screw over the poor
Via Political Animal: