Two thoughts on the failure of our discourse

Dropout Nation’s RiShawn Biddle on anti-intellectualism in our debate over education reform:

For all the taxpayer-funded doctorates and graduate degrees that are found among the defenders of traditional public education, there is little going on among them other than closed-minded, sclerotic thinking. This lack of intellectual vigor — the ability to see the value of new concepts, the lack of understanding of economics and technology, and the rabid opposition to anyone outside of education arguing for reform — is one reason why American public education is mired in the kind of mediocrity that has fostered the nation’s education crisis.

And from Terry M. Moe and Paul T. Hill writing in Education Week on government, markets and the mixed model of education reform:

Stereotypes are alive and well in American education reform, and nowhere is this more evident than when school choice is being discussed. All too often, choice is characterized by its detractors as a “free market” solution that would “privatize” education. And all too often, this depiction is reinforced by its more libertarian supporters, who do indeed see choice in these terms and are stridently opposed to a government-run education system. The framing suggests an unbridgeable chasm. On the one side, markets. On the other side, government.

As is often true of stereotypes, this kind of either-or framing is not helpful. A more productive way to think about school choice—and about American education reform in general—is not in terms of markets vs. government, but rather in terms of markets and government.