Caroline Minter Hoxby is a technical economist who speaks in accessible fables. Public schools would work better, she says, if we thought of them more like restaurants. A restaurant full of discontented diners would not be reinforced with public money; it would be allowed to go out of business. Competition from new restaurants makes all restaurants better. Some of Hoxby’s conclusions sound too simple.
Some of findings go hard against the grain of common school wisdom: There’s no evidence in experience, she says, that class size has any effect on student achievement. Public students perform worse, she says, where teachers’ unions are strong. What affects everything positively, she reports, is the ease with which parents and children can choose other public or private schools. But vouchers won’t work until all kids have a shot at them. Caroline Minter Hoxby and her case for schools competition are this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Caroline Hoxby, professor of economics at Harvard University