Innovation in Education Markets: Theory and Evidence on the Impact of Competition and Choice in Charter Schools

Christopher Lubienski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Charter schools elevate choice and competition to foster educational innovations. Indeed, these market-style mechanisms are intended to challenge standardized practices associated with district administration of schools. However, a comprehensive review of practices in charter schools indicates that, although some organizational innovations are evident, classroom strategies tend toward the familiar. Drawing on organizational and economic theory, this article considers the forces shaping educational innovation in market-oriented reforms. Although reformers assume that competition and choice necessarily lead to innovations within schools, a more complex examination of competitive institutional environments suggests that mechanisms employed by reformers may actually undercut their intended purposes. The discussion highlights the potential for choice and competition to constrain opportunities for educational innovation and to impose pedagogical and curricular conformity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-443
Number of pages49
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

Keywords

  • Charter schools
  • Competition
  • Education policy
  • School choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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