Portfolio Management Models

Market failures in education: Part V

Monopsony market structure in practice

Portfolio Management Models (PMMs) of school districts demonstrate how market-based reforms manifest in the current education policy environment, and provide an excellent example of monopsonies in public education. Bulkley, Henig & Levin (2010) explain in Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance, and the New Portfolio Models for Urban School Reform, “PMM is better understood as a contracting regime” (p. 28). A contracting regime does not attempt to bypass government as some market-based reformers (e.g. Chubb & Moe, 1990) advocate, but rather it “place[s] government into the role of consumer supreme” and incorporates private providers in an “attempt to harness markets to public goals,” (Bulkley et al., p. 28, 2010). Placing the government (i.e. the district) in the role of “consumer supreme” is what makes the PMMs monopsonies. Continue reading

Roots of the performance-based assessment movement

As those of you who frequently read books or articles about education have undoubtedly found, one report in particular, A Nation at Risk, really rocked the world of education. Released in 1983, the report offered startling data and came to alarming conclusions, “warn[ing] that the nation would be harmed economically and socially unless education was dramatically improved for all children” (Ravitch, 2010). The report identified education in the United States as unacceptably weak and pointed to low standards as the primary cause (Porter, 1994). To combat this educational crisis, ANAR “encouraged states and the nation to craft genuine curriculum standards in many subjects” (Ravitch, 2010). Continue reading

Performance-based Assessments

It know it has been awhile since I’ve written anything for my blog. For the past few weeks I’ve been caught up in educational experiences of my own: volunteering at West Philadelphia High and Wilson Elementary, completing research papers, taking finals, and applying for Ph.D.s. Philadelphia is truly a great place to pursue higher education, because, like many other urban areas, it offers the perfect opportunity to be involved locally and also be challenged academically—for this, I am extremely grateful.  Continue reading