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Reinventing Public Education

How Contracting Can Transform America’s Schools

A heated debate is raging over our nation’s public schools and how they should be reformed, with proposals ranging from imposing national standards to replacing public education altogether with a voucher system for private schools. Combining decades of experience in education, the authors propose an innovative approach to solving the problems of our school system and find a middle ground between these extremes.

Reinventing Public Education shows how contracting would radically change the way we operate our schools, while keeping them public and accessible to all, and making them better able to meet standards of achievement and equity. Using public funds, local school boards would select private providers to operate individual schools under formal contracts specifying the type and quality of instruction.

In a hands-on, concrete fashion, the authors provide a thorough explanation of the pros and cons of school contracting and how it would work in practice. They show how contracting would free local school boards from operating schools so they can focus on improving educational policy; how it would allow parents to choose the best school for their children; and, finally, how it would ensure that schools are held accountable and academic standards are met.

While retaining a strong public role in education, contracting enables schools to be more imaginative, adaptable, and suited to the needs of children and families. In presenting an alternative vision for America’s schools, Reinventing Public Education is too important to be ignored.

275 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1997

Education: Education--General Studies

Table of Contents

1: Preserving Public Education
2: A Critique of the Current Public School System
3: A Contract School Strategy
4: Contracting and Other Reform Proposals
5: How a Contract Strategy Would Work
6: Paying for Contract Schools
7: Politics, Leadership, and Transition Strategies
App. A: Two Hypothetical Contract Schools
App. B: Primer on School Finance Systems
App. C: Questions and Answers about Contract Schools

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