Family Issues Reason Weekend 2010-Talking School Choice with reformers Lisa Snell, Leslie Jacobs & Arwynn Mattix


Reason Foundation's Director of Education Lisa Snell hosts a panel with Leslie Jacobs, founder of education reform nonprofit Educate Now! As a former member of the New Orleans School Board, Jacobs was a driving force behind the charter school movement that rejuvenated the New Orleans public school system after Hurricane Katrina.

Also on the panel is Arwynn Mattix from the BASIS Education Group, which runs charter schools in Arizona that have attracted praise from figures such as Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton.

Topics of discussion include the success that the school choice movement has achieved, challenges it still faces, lessons learned, and plans for the future. 

Approximately 40 minutes.

This discussion was part of Reason Weekend, an annual conference held by Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes This year's event took place in New Orleans from April 15-18 in New Orleans.

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  1. You assholes are so far up Bush’s ass, you’ll defend any chance to weaken the public school system.

  2. Good afternoon, Tony!

    I’ll admit that there is little evidence that charter schools are as great as proponents originally believed, but I don’t know of any evidence that charter schools “weaken” the public system.

  3. To assess the efficacy of charter schools in education vs. public schools is kind of like seeing if you can get where you’re going better using cars or trucks – it’s a meaningless distinction apart from the context, i.e. the specific educational goals, the needs of the students, etc. That said, school choice per se is less an argument of efficacy and more an argument of ethics. The status quo results in resources illegitimately appropriated from individuals and redistributed for the purpose of education; the least the system can do is present free choice in what educational programs one uses.

    1. That’s the way that I feel about it. I like what the first speaker had to say about how with public schools, every failure just leads to a new blame game where teachers point fingers at administrators, and parents and administrators point fingers at teachers, etc. With charter schools, the solution is simple; if the school under-performs, the school shuts down, because nobody will put their children there. The administration and the teachers have to work toward a goal of improving the parent’s satisfaction or they go out of business, period. Over time, I believe that this will give parents far more control over their child’s education, and failing schools will be held accountable.

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