A few different readers (and friends and family members) have sent me this David Leonhardt essay about the efficacy of Boston charter schools, based on yet another Josh Angrist study demonstrating this efficacy, and asking what I think about it.

I think the Boston charters are good for three reasons:

  • Lots and lots of smart people in Boston to staff them
  • Competition from a relatively high-functioning urban district.
  • Liberal/union politics that constrain them from growing and expanding too fast.
This is more-or-less what I tried to argue here. Freddie DeBoer, whom I don’t exactly always agree with, made a similar argument about Success Academies.
The question, then, is whether Angrist’s findings generalize to the rest of the country apart from Boston, and to charter schools’ ability to ameliorate inequality in different settings or in places where the students and parents haven’t deliberately selected into an extra-intensive schooling system.

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