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Revolution at the Margins: The Impact of Competition on Urban School Systems Hardcover – March 19, 2002
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"Hess states at the outset that he is 'not seeking to provide a definitive account of educational markets, but to launch a more useful conversation on the topic,' and he has achieved this goal.... Hess succeeds in posing a challenge to those who see choice and competition- the manipulation of incentives, if you will- as a way of improving schools without getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty issues of providing a quality education." Edward B. Fiske, Education Next, 7/1/2002
"Anyone interested in school choice ought to place Frederick M. Hess' 'Revolution at the Margins: The Impact of Competition on Urban School Systems' on their reading list.... Mr. Hess successfully strives to be objective in his analysis.... The result is a book that will increase the knowledge of anyone interested in school choice.... Mr. Hess' excellent book will make anyone interested in school choice better informed about the history of vouchers and the changes vouchers have made in our schools." Martin Morse Wooster, Washington Times, 7/14/2002
"[A] meticulously researched book.... Reading 'Revolution at the Margins' will take most educators out of their comfort zone- the zone that deals with urban reform focused on teaching, learning, classroom practice, assessment, standards, traditional school funding options, and community involvement." Terry Stirling, Northeastern Illinois University, Teachers College Record, 11/5/2002
"A nuanced study." Future Survey, 11/1/2002
"Hess's analysis [is] sound and moves the voucher debate helpfully away from the rigidities of the state-vs.-market debate.... Hess's most important contribution is clarifying and redefining the debate." John Gardner, Milwaukee School Board, Education Next, 7/1/2002
"[A] revealing and timely book..." David Ruenzel, Teacher Magazine, 11/1/2002
"Hess explains very clearly why public education cannot compete effectively in a competitive education industry." Myron Lieberman, School Reform News, 8/1/2002
"He has made an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the context in which market based urban school reforms occur." Michael Mintrom, University of Auckland, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
"Presents new ideas and evidence in a readable form that is likely to be noticed and noted. Hess's concept of the 'political market' is valuable and has relevance even beyond the school choice debate. " Jeffrey R. Henig, Rethinking School Choice and coauthor of The Color of School Reform and Building Civic Capacity: The, 2/1/2002
"Well-written and nuanced work that gets us to reflect realistically on what competition might accomplish in public education. A rich set of cases." Henry M. Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education and Director, National Center for the, 2/1/2002
"Hess provides us with the first empirically based, theoretically informed, institutionally rooted, non-ideological assessment of the way in which public schools have initially responded to choice initiatives. For those interested in education reform, this is a highly accessible must read." Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and director, Program on Education Policy and Governance,, 2/1/2002
"Drawing upon extensive case studies, Rick Hess sheds new light on how teachers and administrators are responding to educational competition. What he finds may disappoint school choice enthusiasts and opponents alike. Educators do respond to competitive pressure, but their responses are muted and slowed by a culture that is antithetical to competition, a system that fails to provide incentives to respond to competition, and a political dynamic that insulates schools from the consequences of competition." Jay P. Greene, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, 2/14/2002
"Drawing on economic, political, and organizational theories, Rick Hess constructs a broad-based theory of the way urban schools respond to educational choice policies. He looks with a cool, dispassionate eye on the claims and counterclaims of choice advocates and opponents in three urban settings. This book makes a major contribution to the field of educational choice and to our broader understanding of the political economy of urban schooling." Richard Elmore, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2/10/2002
About the Author
Frederick M. Hess is the director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. He is the coauthor (with Michael J. Petrilli) of No Child Left Behind Primer (Peter Lang, 2006) and editor of Educational Entrepreneurship (Harvard Education Press, 2006).
Top Customer Reviews
What I really liked about this book is that the author doesn't try to prove that school choice does or doesn't work. Instead, he dives into trying to understand how it affects the public schools in the community. Using extensive interviewing, research, and document collection, he offers the deepest look I know of into how school choice competition actually plays out. The reliance on interviews and historical narrative also has the plus of making it much more engaging than the standard analysis of school vouchers. The book also offers some important insights regarding urban schooling and the nature of urban school reform.
This is a book that is definitely worth reading for anyone interested in school vouchers, or even those who just want to learn more about school reform or urban schooling.
Regrettably, Revolution at the Margins says rather more about educational research than about the impact of pro-choice initiatives. Essentially, Hess finds virtually no result at all from competition with the politically well-entrenched public sector. Bureaucrats occasionally mobilized themselves to a little mendacious propaganda (hanging banners outside public schools saying 'High Standards Start Here'), to teaching test-taking strategies to children, and to mounting legal actions to cramp the style of choice schools; but usually there was no action beyond verbal "lashing out" (for example at the "racist and rapacious" proponents of choice).Read more ›