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Charles Murray on School Choice

Charles Murray explains in The New York Times why the case for school choice shouldn’t be based on standardized test results but something more fundamental. 

I suppose that test scores might prove that such a charter school is “better” than ordinary public schools, if the test were filled with questions about things like gerunds and subjunctive clauses, the three most important events of 1776, and what Occam’s razor means. But those subjects aren’t covered by standardized reading and math tests. For this reason, I fully expect that students at such a charter school would do little better on Maryland’s standardized tests than comparably smart students in the ordinary public schools.

And yet, knowing that, I would still send my own children to that charter school in a heartbeat. They would be taught the content that I think they need to learn, in a manner that I consider appropriate.

One could easily charge Murray with having a case of sour grapes after the School Choice Demonstration Project published results that didn’t fit the hopeful predictions of many choice advocates. There might be some of that going on here but Murray is most likely being honest. His libertarianism is fairly philosophically principled and his writings on education (at least the ones I’m familiar with) fit with the character of this op-ed. 

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