Report: Parental empowerment key to accountability in private-school choice programs | Beaufort County Now | Accountability for publicly funded school choice programs should primarily come through parent empowerment, not regulatory overreach. That’s the assessment of a new report from Notre Dame Law School scholar Nicole Stelle Garnett published by the Manhattan Institute.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is David Bass.

    Accountability for publicly funded school choice programs should primarily come through parent empowerment, not regulatory overreach. That's the assessment of a new report from Notre Dame Law School scholar Nicole Stelle Garnett published by the Manhattan Institute.

    The report, "Accountability in Private-School Choice," focuses on the balance between ensuring academic accountability with not abridging private schools' autonomy.

    The research comes during what has become a banner year for school choice nationally, with 21 states voting to create, expand, or shore up their school choice programs due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    North Carolina is on the verge of joining that list. Lawmakers are negotiating a compromise state budget that could expand and strengthen the state's three school choice programs, which are aimed at low- and moderate-income families and children with special needs.

    In her report, Garnett makes two overarching recommendations: First, that "regulators should aim to give parents the information needed to make wise choices, thereby enabling them to hold schools accountable through enrollment decisions." Second, that "accountability regulations ought to advance the goal of providing parents with access to more and better schools."

    "These recommendations reflect the belief that the goal of accountability should be to empower parents to make good choices for their children," Garnett writes.

    "Professor Garnett's recommendations to make accountability in private school choice programs more parent-centric are welcome and needed," said Dr. Robert Luebke, senior fellow with the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation. "Empowering parents to make better choices for their children and enhancing access to more and better schools can help correct shortcomings in the current system and show everyone why parents should be a larger part of the accountability equation."

    Garnett also points out that, frequently, regulators that aim to place punitive measures on private-school choice programs are ultimately unsuccessful at helping students.

    "Many accountability debates are not really about holding schools 'accountable,'" she writes. "Rather, they represent opponents' thinly veiled obstructionist efforts to kill choice proposals before they are enacted and to subject private schools to government control when such efforts fail," she said.

    Garnett argues that recruiting good schools to participate in school-choice programs is a better solution than excluding bad ones.

    "The exclusion of persistently failing schools from choice markets is perhaps a necessary element of an accountability regime, but it should not be the primary element," she writes. "The long history of academic accountability efforts in the U.S. demonstrates that punitive government regulations rarely drive school improvement and that closing bad schools work as a reform only when better options are available."

    The solution, again, is to empower parents, according to Garnett. "By choosing [schools] wisely, parents can drive improvements not only in their own child's performance but also in school quality overall, limiting the need for punitive regulatory interventions," she writes.

    To help empower parents, Garnett recommends that "information about school quality be transparent, readily available, easy to interpret, and matched, to the greatest extent possible, with the indicia of school quality that matters to parents in the real world." She also recommends that "accountability regulations promote educational pluralism," defined as expanding "the number and variety of schooling options available to parents, in order to provide them with more and better schools."

    The report focuses on academical accountability, but in the conclusion Garnett warns that even more worrisome are regulations aimed at curbing the First Amendment rights of private schools to free speech and freedom of religion.

    "Regulations that interfere with the autonomy of private schools - especially those that threaten the religious liberty of faith-based schools - are most likely to deter them from participating in choice programs, thus undermining the increasing access to more and better schools," she writes.
Go Back

HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

On Tuesday, just before 1 p.m. a shooter allegedly injured multiple people at Oxford High School in a suburban area roughly 45 miles north of Detroit.
Montana State University (MSU) professors and other faculty members have taken it upon themselves to verbally accost students protesting MSU’s mask mandate. In emails obtained by The Daily Wire, at least five MSU professors and faculty used work emails to harass and swear at engineering students.
Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 key metrics and trends.
A federal judge in Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday against Democrat President Joe Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in three states.
A top N.C. Senate education leader is criticizing Attorney General Josh Stein for his handling of the state’s defense in the long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit.
John Lacava explains why he is running for School Board

HbAD1

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) refused to sign onto a statement condemning far-left activists who chased Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) into a bathroom where they proceeded to record and berate her.
The N.C. Supreme Court will decide in the months ahead whether a nurse can face greater legal liability for a patient’s injuries. The decision could reinforce or throw out a nearly 90-year-old court precedent.
Firefighters are still battling a wildfire that engulfed North Carolina’s Pilot Mountain over the weekend.
Excellent hit from press conference
We will offer this allotment of three with more to come; some old, most new, but all quite informative, and, moreover, necessary to understanding that in North Carolina, there is a wiser path to govern ourselves and our People.

HbAD2

Comedian and actor Damon Wayans last week praised Dave Chappelle for his Netflix special “The Closer,” saying the politically incorrect content “freed the slaves,” referring to fellow comedians feeling trapped to perform within the confines of the Left’s terms, lest they be canceled.

HbAD3

 
Back to Top