By opening the system to competition, popular school choice reforms seek to remake public education into a more consumer-oriented endeavor. While the underlying theory holds that competitive pressures will induce change and improvement in educational processes, research indicates that organizations often respond instead by developing promotional strategies to succeed in the marketplace. This analysis reviews evidence of organizational behavior in education in reconsidering theories of school responses to competition. Due to unique quasi-public good aspects of schooling, it appears that marketlike incentives are corrupted when applied to education, "short-circuiting" the incentives that reformers had intended to drive school improvement.
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