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NEPC Review: Expanding The Education Universe: A Fifty-State Strategy for Course Choice (Thomas B. Fordham Institute, )

Based on the presumed success of school choice programs, Expanding the Education Universe: A Fifty-State Strategy for Course Choice seeks to take choice a step further. Each student would design a personal program of online and off-line courses chosen from a marketplace of curricula developed by for-profit and not-for-profit vendors, as well as school districts or other public entities. Such course choice would, the report contends, alleviate transportation problems, provide greater options, and circumvent the restricted offerings even in choice schools. The proposal is presented in the form of a “guide” to addressing practical policy issues and implementation problems. However, the report assumes, without solid evidence, that course choice, electronic educational provisions, and the like are viable, effective, and proven methods. No direct research is presented, and relevant related research that might support the efficacy of the method is not included. Accordingly, the piece rests entirely on assumptions and assertions. Given the lack of supporting evidence and detail, policymakers and the public have little basis for assessing the benefits and liabilities of a program that potentially has enormous financial costs and educational quality implications for public education.

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