cover of book

Making Up Our Mind: What School Choice Is Really About
by Sigal R. Ben-Porath and Michael C. Johanek
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Paper: 978-0-226-61963-7 | eISBN: 978-0-226-61977-4 | Cloth: 978-0-226-61946-0
Library of Congress Classification LB1027.9.B43 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 379.111

If free market advocates had total control over education policy, would the shared public system of education collapse? Would school choice revitalize schooling with its innovative force? With proliferating charters and voucher schemes, would the United States finally make a dramatic break with its past and expand parental choice?

Those are not only the wrong questions—they’re the wrong premises, argue philosopher Sigal R. Ben-Porath and historian Michael C. Johanek in Making Up Our Mind. Market-driven school choices aren’t new. They predate the republic, and for generations parents have chosen to educate their children through an evolving mix of publicly supported, private, charitable, and entrepreneurial enterprises. The question is not whether to have school choice. It is how we will regulate who has which choices in our mixed market for schooling—and what we, as a nation, hope to accomplish with that mix of choices. Looking beyond the simplistic divide between those who oppose government intervention and those who support public education, the authors make the case for a structured landscape of choice in schooling, one that protects the interests of children and of society, while also identifying key shared values on which a broadly acceptable policy could rest.
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