Edward Fiske

Edward B. Fiske and Helen F. Ladd's book about the New Zealand school reforms, When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale, was recently published by the Brookings Institution Press. Further information about Edward B. Fiske can be found at his website http://www.fiskeguide.com/ebf/index.html.

Recent Articles

The Invisible Hand as Schoolmaster

S ome of the most widely discussed and controversial proposals for reforming American schools focus on the twin themes of giving local schools more operational autonomy and forcing them to compete for students. Proponents of charter schools and voucher plans argue that schools must be liberated from the controlling hands of educational bureaucrats. If such operational freedom is combined with parental choice, the argument goes, both the means and the incentives will be in place for schools to deliver quality teaching and learning. Domestic evidence that would confirm or discredit this proposition is scarce. The charter school movement in the United States is too recent and current voucher experiments too small to shed any light on the likely consequences of bringing them to scale. What policy makers need is evidence from a large-scale and long-term experiment with self-governing schools operating in a competitive environment. Fortunately, such evidence exists. In 1989, New Zealand,...