December 24, 2000

Should cities turn failing public schools over to private, for-profit education companies?

That question is squarely joined in New York City, where Chancellor Harold Levy is asking Edison Schools, a for-profit company, to manage some of its most troubled schools.

The new education journal, Education Matters: A Journal of Opinion and Research, investigates whether for-profit schools are good for kids.

Writing in Education Matters, John Chubb, chief education officer of Edison Schools, argues that for-profit firms will get a "higher student achievement at similar cost."

But Henry Levin, director of Columbia Teachers College Center on Privatization, points out that most education management firms have yet to make a profit and "may not be around for the long haul."

Education Matters is a new voice in American education committed to looking at hard evidence about school reform. It is both a scholarly journal that provides the latest in policy-relevant research findings and an opinion magazine where documentation counts.

In the words of editor-in-chief Paul E. Peterson, Harvard professor of government and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, "Education Matters is a `jourgazine,' a crossover publication that will provide up-to-date information for those fashioning the education world of the 21st century."

"For too long," adds senior editor Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, "education policy has been designed by interest-group pressures without regard to research-based evidence. Education Matters speaks without fear or favor to those who want to know where the facts lead."

In the spring 2001 issue of Education Matters

-- Using survey data, Hoover Institution senior fellow Terry Moe shows that African American and Hispanic students would be the ones most likely to shift from public to private school if a voucher plan were established.

-- Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby finds that charter schools and private schools recruit more teachers from selective colleges than do public schools.

-- A critique by Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Eric Hanushek questions two RAND studies of school reforms that were released during last year's presidential campaign.

-- Veteran educators Nancy and Ted Sizer tell of their work to build a charter school designed to cultivate "essential" habits of the mind.

-- E. D. Hirsch, professor at the University of Virginia, analyzes the uncertain impact of the romantic tradition on contemporary theories of teaching and learning.

Education Matters is a joint venture launched by four institutions. It is published by the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. The other sponsoring institutions are the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. In addition to Paul E. Peterson and Chester Finn, the editors of Education Matters include Jay Greene, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute, and Marci Kanstoroom, research director, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

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